DDS students enjoyed summer of research

From a record number of 45 applications, 15 student research projects were selected for the Summer Dentistry Research Opportunity Program (SDROP) last May.

SDROP provides an opportunity for students enrolled in their first, second or third year of the DDS program to contribute to clinical and basic science research happening at Schulich Dentistry.

“Student research at Schulich Dentistry has yet to look this robust,” shared Dr. Sharat Pani, Assistant Professor and SDROP co-ordinator. “The enthusiasm levels among participants were really high.”

Kevin Zhou, Dentistry Class of 2024, was one of this year’s SDROP participants.

“I was thrilled to join the Thang lab through SDROP, and to work on a project that integrated two of my greatest interests – computer science and surgery,” Zhou said.

His research focused on developing three-dimensional anatomical models for augmented reality learning in dentistry. Zhou says SDROP allowed him to ease into this field of research that, although very interesting, also initially seemed intimidating to enter.

“These 3D models were published on a custom online database–OMFA3D–as an open-source study resource for dental students around the world. We also used 3D models of the skull to train a machine learning algorithm capable of digitally reconstructing craniofacial defects.”

With a summer of research experiences behind them, SDROP participants are getting ready to submit their findings for publication or to various conferences, such as the annual meetings of the Canadian Dental Association, the International Association for Dental Research and the Hinman Symposium.

A project completed by Vladimir Podskalniy, Dentistry Class of 2023, and supervised by Dr. Pani, has already been published in the peer-reviewed journal Children.

In time for the centennial anniversary of the discovery of insulin, Anissa Gamble, Dentistry Class of 2024, completed a qualitative study on oral health care in type 1 diabetes patients, conducting interviews to determine the oral care provision needs for that population. Her research was supported by the Banting House National Museum for Diabetes.

Congratulations to all 2021 SDROP participants:




Alicia Gordon, Dentistry Class of 2022

 Dr. Cecilia Dong

Preparing dentists to provide geriatric dental care. Exploring the acceptance of geriatric dentistry programming for undergraduate dental students attending a Southwestern Ontario dental school.


Victoria Thorburn, Dentistry Class of 2023

Dr. Cecilia Dong

Biomarkers in Biopsy and Resected Tissues from Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Patients.

Prateek Aggarwal, Dentistry Class of 2023

Dr. Christina McCord

Outpatient Oral Biopsy Submission Trends: An Examination of the Role of General Dentists and Dental Specialists in the Diagnosis of Oral Diseases.

Vladislav Podskalniy, Dentistry Class of 2023

Dr. Sharat Pani

Neighbourhoods as potential predictors of dental care outcomes- a retrospective analysis of data.

Hannah Der, Dentistry Class of 2022

Dr. Trevor Thang

Quality assurance of damaged photostimulable phosphor plates: validating a machine-learning algorithm.

Rocco Cheuk, Dentistry Class of 2024

Dr. Abbas Jessani

The utilization of tele dentistry during the COVID-19 pandemic: practices and perception amongst dental professionals in Ontario.

Akshay Gupta, Dentistry Class of 2023

Dr. Abbas Jessani

Methods Used for Caries Detection and Diagnosis in Dental Practices in Ontario.

Kate Jacques, Dentistry Class of 2023

Dr. Mark Darling

S100A7 expression as a marker for predicting malignant transformation in actinic cheilitis.

Dana Mohammad, Dentistry Class of 2023

Dr. Noha Gomaa

Towards a Person-Centred Care Approach: Assessing Safety Perceptions and Satisfaction with Dental Care in Light of COVID-19-related Modifications to Dental Practice.

Sanaz Karami, Dentistry Class of 2023

Dr. Noha Gomaa

A Virtual Dental Home as a Community Intervention for Socially Disadvantaged Families: A Proof-of-Concept Study.

Anissa Gamble, Dentistry Class of 2024

Dr. Sharat Pani

Barriers and facilitators of oral health care among young Canadian adults with Type 1 diabetes mellitus - An exploratory mixed methods study.

Kevin Zhou, Dentistry Class of 2024

Dr. Trevor Thang

Developing 3D virtual dental and anatomical models for augmented reality learning in dentistry.

Melika Pahlevan Sabbagh, Dentistry Class of 2024

Dr. Georgia Nikoloudaki

Efficacy of Vital Pulp Therapy Strategies in Mature Permanent Mandibular Molars with Symptomatic Irreversible Pulpitis: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis.

Ruby Bhutani, Dentistry Class of 2022

Dr. Christina McCord

Oral cancer and the microbiome.

Xi Yue Zhang, Dentistry Class of 2024

Dr. Sheila Butler

Effects of distance-learning strategies in dental fixed prosthodontics amidst COVID-19: students’ perspective.