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Celebrating the Dentistry Class of 2018 with Kim Beaucage

Kim Beaucage(Kim Beaucage, along with Erik Holm, graduated from the Schulich Dental Clinician-Scientist (DCS) program - a joint PhD/DDS program)
In 2008, Kim Beaucage, Dentistry Class of 2018, moved from her hometown of Waterloo to pursue graduate studies at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. Now, 10 years later, she is excited to go back to where it all began.

“After graduation, I’m actually going back to the office where I worked as a receptionist and dental assistant trainee during high school and undergrad,” Beaucage said. “That's where I found my love for dentistry.”

Steadfastly focused on dentistry as a career, Beaucage applied to and was accepted into the Schulich Dental Clinician-Scientist (DCS) program, a year after arriving at Western. The unique program consists of a PhD in an area of research relevant to dentistry followed by a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree.

She completed her PhD in Physiology with supervision of Drs. Jeff Dixon and David Holdsworth. Her research focused on osteoporosis and fat metabolism, examining how these can change with mechanical loading of the skeleton, and evaluating these changes using 3D imaging techniques.

While completing the DDS component of the program, Beaucage participated in the Dentistry Summer Research Program to remain involved with research. Her project focused on Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis (DISH), a common type of non-inflammatory arthritis. In DISH, soft tissues become abnormally calcified especially in the spinal region. The research team discovered abnormal calcifications in facial tissues and are currently preparing to publish their findings.

The award-winning research student is grateful for the tremendous support and mentorship from faculty members and researchers in addition to her PhD supervisors, including Harvey Goldberg, PhD, Stephen Sims, PhD and Cheryle Séguin, PhD throughout her studies. She hopes to continue being involved in translational research – moving basic bench science to the dental clinic.

During the past decade, Beaucage remained focused on dentistry outside of the classroom and clinic, finding balance and enjoyment in peer groups and volunteer work. She, along with classmate and fellow DCS trainee Erik Holm, DDS, PhD, founded the Dental Academic Research Trainees (DART) group in 2015. DART is a group of passionate dental researchers including undergraduate students, graduate trainees, post-doctoral fellows and dental specialty trainees who want to promote research and provide a synergistic environment for researchers from many backgrounds. With generous support from Schulich Dentistry Research, the student group held relevant events, seminars and journal clubs to foster collaboration, learning and networking.

“It’s tough when you are in research,” Beaucage said. “You can become isolated in your lab and your work,” she added.

For her and so many others, DART alleviates that sense of isolation and offers an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals, creating a network of support through dentistry research-related events. Her passion for dentistry also led her to work in the community with Dental Outreach Community Service (DOCS), providing free dental care to low income families who have no dental insurance. She also volunteered with DOCS Kids community outreach, teaching children about good oral hygiene, as well as Sharing Smiles Day, which addresses barriers faced by special needs patients and builds positive relationships.

Reflecting on her time at Schulich Dentistry, Beaucage is incredibly grateful to the faculty and staff who supported her throughout her research and clinical training, and the establishment of DART.

“You learn a lot and you don’t realize how much you have learned until you’re at the end,” said Beaucage. “Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry has prepared me well to practice dentistry.”

On June 15, Beaucage will be walking across the Convocation stage to receive her lilac hood with a sense of pride and excitement as she looks forward to working in the clinic where her journey began. 

“I’ve come full circle,” she said.

The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry congratulates Beaucage and the entire Dentistry Class of 2018 on their incredible achievements during the past four years and on their graduation.

Schulich Medicine & Dentistry collaborative research group successful in competition

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) awarded a Schulich Medicine & Dentistry research group with a Collaborative Health Research Projects (CHRP) operating grant for their project entitled, ‘Novel technologies for engineering closure of non-healing skin wounds’. This multi-disciplinary collaborative research team consists of biologists, engineers, imaging specialists, a veterinarian, clinicians, and industrial collaborator.

Primary Investigators include Dr. Douglas Hamilton (Dentistry/Anatomy & Cell Biology) and Dr. Amin Rizkalla (Dentistry/Chemical & Biochemical Engineering), along with David Bagley.  Bagley is the CEO of Advanced BioMatrix, Inc. in San Diego, where they manufacture & distribute collagen and other quality 3D matrix products, specializing in three dimensional (3D) applications for tissue culture, cell assay, and cell proliferation.

Co-investigators include Drs. Maria Drangova, Luc Dubois, Alexander El Warrak, Andrew Leask, and Geoffrey Pickering.  This Schulich Medicine & Dentistry collaborative group received one of only two grants awarded to Western in this cycle (full funding results).

Dr. Hamilton explains, ‘In normal individuals, most skin wounds close within a few days. However, in patients with diabetes or vascular problems, skin wounds can stay open leading to development of a "chronic" or non-healing wound.  We are anticipating this project will lead to the development of new materials that could be used to make chronic skin wounds close.”

This NSERC partnered grant (with CIHR) will provide equal funding totaling $697,970 for a three-year term.

The CHRP Initiative funding supports innovative, interdisciplinary, collaborative research projects, requiring participation from the natural sciences or engineering community together with the health sciences community. This funding requires the translation of the research results to knowledge/technology users and related stakeholders outside the academic or training environment. As such, the proposed research projects must have a strong focus on knowledge translation and lead to health and economic benefits for Canadians, more effective health services and products, and/or a strengthened health care system.

Dentistry Student Research Presentations

June - Dentistry’s Research Program students will present an introduction of their projects on June 21.  In addition, other dental students currently involved in research projects in our School, are invited to present their work.  Dental Faculty and lab members are encouraged to attend. More information or inquires can be sent to

Introductory Presentations – DSB 0010 | 11:00am-2:00pm      SCHEDULE

You can also mark your calendars for our final presentations in August
Final Presentation - Aug 9 | DSB 0010 | 11:00am-2:00pm 

Practical application

By Ciara Parsons, BA’15
FarahIt was a few years ago when Farah Abu Sharkh, Dentistry Class of 2018, noticed an opportunity for greater interactive learning in one of her dentistry courses. She felt compelled to take action and took her academic education experience and channeled it into a research project as part of the Schulich Dentistry Research Opportunity Program (SDROP).

The idea behind this project was to simplify the learning process related to dental anaesthesia instruction to make it more interactive and eventually launch an instructional series. Taking existing multimedia resources and modifying them into individual modules about dental freezing, Abu Sharkh created a user-specific instructional series about what each freezing does, applicable scenarios, techniques and how to troubleshoot difficult situations. Users of these modules were able to personalize their learning by controlling their progress and select which areas of instruction they wanted to focus on more closely.

“We wanted to make the program flexible so that it could be personalized to the way in which people like to learn and how much they already know about the subject. These modules allow you to skip around and focus on what you want to know,” she said. Read more in The Bridge 

Dr. Suzanne Bernier Memorial Fund

An annual lecture series and trainee graduate award in Skeletal Biology was established in honour of Dr. Suzanne Bernier (a wonderful colleague, collaborator and mentor, who passed away in 2007), to highlight outstanding contributions to the field of musculoskeletal research.  The Dr. Suzanne Bernier Memorial Fund, along with sponsors (Schulich Dentistry, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Dept of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Western's Bone and Joint Institute, and the Collaborative Program in Musculoskeletal Health Research), contribute to Suzanne’s legacy by funding these projects.

The 11th Annual Suzanne M. Bernier Memorial Lecture in Skeletal Biology was delivered on May 10th by Elise F. Morgan, ME, MSE, PhD, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Materials Science, and Orthopaedic Surgery, and Mechanical Engineering Director of the Micro-Computed Tomography Imaging Core Facility, Boston University. The title of her talk was: ‘The Search for Better Predictors of Fracture Risk in the Spine’.

Dr. Morgan’s research focuses on the interplay between the mechanical behavior, structure, and biological function of tissues. Methods from engineering mechanics, materials science, and cell and molecular biology are used to investigate how mechanical “signals” (forces and displacements) contribute to the development, adaptation, degeneration, and regeneration of bone and cartilage.

P MartinEach year, a trainee carrying out Master's or PhD research in the field of Skeletal Biology is presented with the Dr. Suzanne Bernier Memorial Award, based on academic achievement and research accomplishments. This year, the award was presented to Pascal Morissette Martin, a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, supervised by Dr. Lauren Flynn.  Pascal had the opportunity to share his latest research findings as part of the lecture, giving a talk entitled: ‘Matrix composition in 3-D collagenous bioscaffolds modulates the survival and angiogenic phenotype of human chronic wound dermal fibroblasts’.

Suzanne’s home department also honours her memory by awarding the Anatomy & Cell Biology Suzanne Bernier Publication Award to a graduate student judged by the Graduate Affairs Committee to have published the 'best' paper in the previous year. This year’s recipient is Sarah Caughlin, PhD, supervised by Drs. Shawn Whitehead & David Cechetto.  Publication: Caughlin S, Maheshwari S, Weishaup N, Yeung K K-C, Cechetto DF, and Whitehead SN (2018). Age-dependent and regional heterogeneity in the long-chain base of A-series gangliosides observed in the rat brain using MALDI Imaging. Scientific Reports. 7(1): 16135. DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-16389-z.

Expanding on Suzanne’s legacy in training, this year the lecture was held in conjunction with the Canadian Bone and Joint Young Investigator Forum that brought trainees from across Canada together to focus on transdisciplinary musculoskeletal research.

For more information on Suzanne Bernier, or to donate, visit

Dentistry Seminar Series - Alpdoğan Kantarci, DDS, PhD

Kantarci-150-115.jpgMay 15 - Schulich Dentistry Research Seminar Series presents a lecture by Alpdoğan Kantarci, DDS, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Periodontology and Oral Biology, Adjunct Associate Professor, Molecular & Cell Biology, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Associate Member of the Staff, Department of Applied Oral Sciences, The Forsyth Institute, Cambridge, MA. 12:30pm | DSB 0010 | All Welcome

'Host-microbiome interactions in a complex microenvironment as a mechanism of periodontitis and potential targets for novel therapeutics'    Poster/Abstract


11th Annual Suzanne M. Bernier Memorial Lecture in Skeletal Biology

We are pleased to invite all members of the University community to the 11th Annual Suzanne M. Bernier Memorial Lecture in Skeletal Biology, delivered this year by:

Dr MorganElise F. Morgan, ME, MSE, PhD   POSTER
Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Materials Science, Orthopaedic Surgery
Associate Chair for Graduate Research Programs
Mechanical Engineering Director, Micro-Computed Tomography Imaging Core Facility, Boston University

'The Search for Better Predictors of Fracture Risk in the Spine’   


“The Search for Better Predictors of Fracture Risk in the Spine”. Fractures of the bony vertebrae in the spine are the most common complication of osteoporosis. Estimates place the number of vertebral fractures occurring worldwide at between 1.4 and 4.2 million annually. Vertebral fractures are associated with pain, loss of mobility, poor mental health, increased risk for additional fractures, and increased risk of death.

Despite the common occurrence and serious consequences of vertebral fractures, the methods currently available in the clinic to evaluate an individual’s risk of fracture are widely recognized as inadequate. These methods rely on average measures of bone density in the spine and thus ignore the structural complexity of each vertebra.

This talk will present evidence that the search for better methods of predicting fracture risk requires first a better understanding of how this complex structure—the vertebra—fails and what factors control the failure process. Through a combination of laboratory experiments, computer modeling, and population studies, we are able to elucidate the failure process, evaluate methods for accurately simulating this process, and develop new predictors of the likelihood of fracture. These tools, and the knowledge gained from them, help to chart a clear path towards obtaining accurate, patient-specific predictions of fracture risk in the spine.

3:00-4:30 pm - Labatt Health Sciences Building - HSB 40 [Reception to follow - FIMS Atrium]

The lecture series and graduate student award was established to highlight outstanding contributions to the field of musculoskeletal research in honour of Dr. Suzanne Bernier, a wonderful colleague, collaborator and mentor, who passed away in 2007. Expanding on Suzanne’s legacy in training, this year the lecture is being held in conjunction with the Canadian Bone and Joint Young Investigator Forum that will bring trainees from across Canada together to focus on transdisciplinary musculoskeletal research.

Schulich Students presented at AADR/CADR Annual Meeting

March – Karla Crosara, Shawna Kim and Georgia Nikoloudaki presented their research posters at the Annual General Meeting of the CADR (Canadian Association for Dental Research), held in conjunction with the annual AADR meeting, in Fort Lauderdale in March.

Congratulations to Georgia Nikoloudaki, DDS (PhD candidate), supervised by Dr. Douglas Hamilton, who had earlier competed for and won a CADR-NCOHR Student Research (Travel) Award to attend and present at this annual meeting.  This award was sponsored by the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR) and the Network for Canadian Oral Health Research (NCOHR).aadr

Georgia remarked, ‘The award from CADR/ΝCHOR gave me the opportunity to attend the annual meeting this year and present my research entitled ‘Characterization of the Effect of Periostin Deletion on Palatal Wound Healing’. It was great to see our lab’s work recognized; the meeting was an ideal environment to share our research and receive feedback and ideas from experts in the field. We were exposed to a wide range of dental research topics and met with prominent researchers in the field, as well as numerous North American dental students. The cutting-edge research, networking and feedback are an invaluable experience, opening new horizons for personal development and professional opportunities’.

Shawna Kim, PhD (DDS 2019 candidate), also supervised by Dr. Douglas Hamilton, presented two posters: ‘Periostin modulates collagen and fibronectin synthesis during gingival healing’ (based on her research from Schulich Dentistry's Summer Research Program), and ‘Fibrotic phenotype of phenytoin-induced gingival enlargement’.  Shawna remarked, “Attending this conference was such a valuable experience where we could network and share our experience with fellow researchers and clinicians.  We also experienced experts sharing their professional insights on different areas of dental research”.

aadrKarla Crosara, DDS (PhD Candidate), supervised by Dr. Walter Siqueira, presented her research work entitled ‘Orthodontic Bracket Pellicle Proteome Modulation after Exposure to Fluoride’. This pioneer work identified, for the first time, variations to the elemental surface composition of metallic and ceramic orthodontic brackets due to exposure to fluoride solution, and described consequent qualitative changes to the bracket protein pellicle formed on fluoride-treated brackets compared to distilled water treatment.


11 Summer research studentships awarded

February - The Schulich Dentistry Research Opportunity Program (SDROP) provides an opportunity for students enrolled in the DDS program to contribute to clinical and basic science research being performed in Schulich Dentistry. Each year, there are a limited number of Studentships awarded by competition. 11 Research Projects were funded for the summer of 2018.

Maher Alazzam, 2021 /  Supervisos:  Drs. Amin Rizkalla, Doug Hamilton
Project: Novel bioactive covalently bonded hybrid coatings on titanium surfaces

Amr Alsabbagh, 2020 / Supervisors:  Drs. Mark Darling, Zia Khan
Project: Culture of tongue carcinoma primary cell line CRL-1628 SCC-25 with mutations CDKN2A and TP53

Yoon Chi, 2020 / Supervisor: Dr. Frank Beier
Project: Characterization of TMJ osteoarthritis in aging mice

Kristen Desranleau, 2020 / Supervisors: Drs. Amin Rizkalla, Doug Hamilton
Project: 3-D Printed Bioactive Glass-Copolymer Scaffolds for Bone Augmentation

Lucy Leon, 2020 / Supervisors: Drs. Jacinta Santos, Gildo Santos
Project: Three-year retrospective clinical study of glass ionomer restorations placed at Schulich Dental Clinic

Tianhui Li, 2021 / Supervisor: Dr. Doug Hamilton
Project: Influence of nanometric topography on human gingival cell physiology

Vishal Patel, 2019 / Supervisor: Dr. Les Kalman
Project: In vitro testing and validation of a 3D printed titanium tempcap for dental abutment systems

Peter Sabiri, 2021 / Supervisor: Dr. Doug Hamilton
Project: Epsilon Sarcoglycan as a novel mediator of cell adhesion to titanium

Erik Hwa Tamberg, 2021 / Supervisors Drs. Khadry Galil, Tim Wilson, Atson Fernandez, Hanif Ladak
Project: Investigation TMJ and tinnitus  trough disco malleolar ligament

Ran Wei, 2021 / Supervisor: Dr. Shawn Li
Project: Profile the methylome and kinome of head and neck cancer stem cells

Rachel Ziliotto, 2020 / Supervisor: Dr. Frank Beier
Project: TMJ osteoarthritis in Mig6 KO mice

Three-dimensional solutions

3D PrintingSchulich Dentistry researchers are developing novel applications of three-dimensional (3D) printing for use in cranio-facial reconstruction. Amin Rizkalla, PhD, PEng, is the principal investigator and he is working with a team of people, including Yara Hosein, PhD, Drs. Joe Armstrong and Henry Lapointe, as well as David Holdsworth, PhD, to determine how 3D printing can be utilized to develop porous titanium constructs for craniofacial reconstruction. They are hoping that their research will help to solve a large problem in current craniofacial reconstruction methods.  See full article on The Bridge

Dentistry Seminar Series - Zhengguo Cao, DDS, PhD 

Dr CaoFebruary 27 - Schulich Dentistry Research Seminar Series presents a lecture by Zhengguo Cao, DDS, PhD, Chair and Professor, Department of Periodontology, Key Laboratory for Oral Biomedical Engineering of Ministry of Education, School of Stomatology, Wuhan University, China.  12:30pm | DSB 0010 | All Welcome

'Role of CyPA/EMMPRIN/MMP in the pathogenic mechanism of Periodontitis and Regulation of Osx and miRNA on the differentiation of cementoblast'  Poster/Abstract

Schulich Dentistry 2017/18 IRG (Internal Research Grant) Competition

February - Congratulations to Drs. Les Kalman and Ali Tassi, Clinician Scientists, who were each awarded a Schulich Dentistry IRG of $10,000 each.     ABSTRACTS

Dr. Les Kalman
Assistant Professor, Restorative Dentistry and Coordinator, Dental Outreach Community Service (DOCS)
‘In vitro Testing and Validation of a 3D Printed Titanium Tempcap for Dental Abutment Systems’

Dr. Ali Tassi
Assistant Professor and Clinic Director - Graduate Orthodontics       
Co-investigators:  Drs. Roman Maev and Bartosz Slak (Windsor)
Ultrasonography in the Detection of Tooth Roots and Inter-radicular Spaces to Aid in the Insertion of Temporary Anchorage Devices for Orthodontics’

Dr QuinonezDentistry Seminar Series - Carlos Quiñonez, DMD, PhD

February 21 - Schulich Dentistry Research Seminar Series presents a lecture by Carlos Quiñonez, DMD, PhD, Associate Professor, Faculty of Dentistry, Director, Specialty Training Program in Dental Public Health, University of Toronto

'The politics of dentistry'  Poster/Abstract
12:30pm | DSB 0010 | All Welcome

Yoon Chi (DDS 2020), awarded first prize in national poster competition

January - Schulich Dentistry Students had the opportunity to attend the Inaugural Canadian Dental Student Conference (CDSC), hosted by the Federation of Canadian Dentistry Student Association (FCDSA) in Toronto. One of the main goals of CDSC is to reach beyond the fundamentals of dental education with keynote speakers, sessions and workshops addressing issues of importance to students in all years of dental school. Approximately 650 dental students across Canada attended the event.

CongratulationYoon Chis to Yoon Chi, who was awarded first prize in the FCDSA’s National Student Research Competition which invited dental student researchers to participate in a scientific poster exhibition and learn about the cutting edge dental research underway across the country. Yoon presented a poster based on her research from Schulich Dentistry's Summer Research Program, entitled “Characterization of temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis in aging mice”, supervised by Dr. Frank Beier.

Yoon remarked, “I am extremely honoured to be awarded the first prize, especially after seeing all the great work done by each presenter. Students were very passionate about their research and it was amazing to have a glimpse of various aspects of dental research.”

Group Photo

This competition gives dental students the chance to interact with professors and fellow researches and to highlight the importance of research in advancing the field of dentistry. Yoon commented, “Participation in this research competition gave me an opportunity to interact with other dental students with the same passion in conducting research in dentistry-related fields and to learn about their work. I highly believe the best standard of dental care is achieved when researchers constantly acquire knowledge and translate this into the clinical practice.”


Dentistry Seminar Series - Jacques E. Nor, DDS, MS, PhD

Dr Nor

January 17 - Schulich Dentistry Research Seminar Series presents a lecture by Jacques E. Nor, DDS, MS, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences, Endodontics, Professor of Biomedical Engineering,College of Engineering, Professor of Otolaryngology, Medical School, University of Michigan

'Therapeutic targeting of head and neck cancer stem cells'  Poster/Abstract
10:30am | DSB 0010| All Welcome