Two Earn Faculty Research Awards at U of IL at Chicago College of Dentistry

Strong emphasis on research at University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry
By: University of IL at Chicago College of Dentistry
 University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry
University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry
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Chicago - Illinois - US

CHICAGO - Dec. 19, 2014 - PRLog -- With the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry’s increased emphasis on research, it has established a new honor, the Faculty Research Award.

Dr. Anne George, Allan G. Brodie Endowed Professor, Brodie Tooth Development Genetics and Regenerative Medicine Research Laboratory, and Professor of Oral Biology; and Dr. Antonia Kolokythas, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery ’04, MS Oral Sciences, ’11, Associate Professor, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, were named the inaugural recipients.

The award was proposed by the Office of Faculty Affairs to the Research Committee, which established the award this year following approval by then-Interim Dean Dr. Bill Knight.

“The award recognizes exemplary commitment to research in the faculty member’s area of scholarship and for inspiring and promoting excellence in research at the College,” said Dr. David Crowe, Interim Associate Dean for Research.

Dr. George’s research examines molecular mechanisms involved in the ordered mineralization of dentin. Her studies have focused on dentin mineralization as a model system because of its uniformity and metabolic simplicity relative to bone.

She and her laboratory team have “made seminal contributions in the areas of biomineralization and odontoblast differentiation that have dramatically expanded our knowledge of craniofacial development,” Dr. Crowe said.

Dr. Carla Evans, Head of the Department of Orthodontics, nominated Dr. George.

Dr. Kolokythas’s research interests focus on oral cancer—specifically early detection that significantly impacts on survival. In collaboration with other cancer investigators, her research has focused on gene expression analysis in oral squamous cell carcinoma in high-risk populations using RNA from brush cytology.

“Her research will improve detection of early cancers and high-risk oral pre-malignant lesions and employ non-invasive methods to study gene expression changes associated with these lesions,” Dr. Crowe said.

Dr. Michael Miloro, Head of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, nominated Dr. Kolokythas.

The Faculty Research Award “demonstrates to the future dentists that besides traditional methods of practicing dentistry, we are interested in the science behind it,” Dr. George said. “Research helps us to understand the science behind tooth formation and repair. UIC is a great research-oriented institution, and the College of Dentistry is no exception.

“It’s a major honor to be recognized for my research efforts,” Dr. Kolokythas said. “It signifies that my efforts and work are appreciated among my prestigious colleagues.”

Dr. George agreed that the award honored her and her lab members, and was important because “the funding agency sees the backing and support that I receive from the College and the University. Therefore, the National Institutes of Health feels confident that the research that they support is of value.”

Both thanked their families, and thanked the faculty who nominated them, Dr. Evans and Dr. Miloro.

Dr. George noted she is “thankful to all my peers in the College of Dentistry who have supported me and taught me. Faculty in the Oral Biology Department were outstanding and the support that I received from them can never be forgotten.”

Dr. Kolokythas thanked “my mentor, Dr. Guy Adami, and also Dr. Joel Schwartz, for their support during my academic career.”

Dr. Adami is Associate Professor, and Dr. Schwartz is Professor, Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences.

“This award and the work that led to it would not have been possible without them,” Dr. Kolokythas said.

         Dr. George also thanked the Brodie family “for supporting our research enterprise.”

Drs. George and Kolokythas each received an engraved crystal award and $500.

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