Teens present research findings at major international meeting


Honolulu, Hawaii…Two high school students–one from Jericho, NY, the other from Brookline, MA–will present their research findings during the 82nd General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, convening at the Hawaii Convention Center this week.

Sixteen-year-old Tina Chou, a junior at Brookline (MA) High School, will give a poster presentation describing the effects of various inorganic elements in engineering new bone and bone tissue, to repair defects in bone.

These students are no strangers to the lab. According to Tina, "I've always been interested in dental research, but it has only been recently that I've taken those interests further. Growing up, I've always been surrounded by medical and dental influences. A few years ago, my sister Sophia completed some research, and I realized that I had the opportunity to do research of my own.

"Currently, I'm taking all Honors classes (US History, American Eras English, Spanish, Math, Chemistry). Next year, I'm planning on taking Advanced Biology, AP Calculus, Contemporary American History Honors, Spanish Honors, and European Literature. I did research at a lab facility at Boston University's School of Dental Medicine, supervised by my father, during the summer and on weekends. My family is very supportive and encourages my interest in dental research. My friends aren't especially interested in dentistry, though!"

Tina doesn't spend all her spare time in a lab. "I'm the features editor of our school newspaper," she says, "and I've been volunteering at Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Hospital in the Gerontology Department for the last two years. And I enjoy reading books by Kurt Vonnegut." Tina plans to attend Boston University and hopes to become an orthodontist. "I will most likely open a clinic in Los Angeles and possibly an additional one in Shanghai, China," she adds. "I enjoy listening to alternative, industrial, and progressive rock music. I consider music an important part of my life."

Jeremy Price, 18, is a senior at Jericho (NY) High School and will report, in an oral presentation, on new implications for a treatment regimen presently being used to treat chronic periodontitis. Subantimicrobial-dose doxycycline was found to significantly reduce the responses of human peripheral blood monocytes to locally derived and systemic inflammatory mediators. For patients with coronary artery disease who exhibit periodontitis, the implication is that doxycycline may reduce plasma levels of CRP, IL-6, and MMPs. Decreasing these levels should help protect atheroscleromatous plaques, thereby reducing the chance of plaque rupture, thrombosis, and myocardial infarction.

Jeremy has been interested in this aspect of dental research for approximately two years, since being introduced to the topic by his father, a periodontist on part-time faculty at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook. Jeremy had previously done neuroscience research at the University of Iowa as part of their SSTP program. There, he gained valuable skills in performing cell culture studies, creating a cell model for a particular neurodegenerative disease. As a senior, he wanted to find a mentor and a project for his independent research. He contacted and then interviewed with Lorne Golub (a professor in the School of Dental Medicine at SUNY), who realized that Jeremy's prior cell culture experience was appropriately related to a bench study he had been planning to supplement one of his recently completed clinical studies. Jeremy was particularly fascinated by the fact that this research project could have considerable influence in fields such as cardiology, dermatology, oncology, etc. He spent the summer of 2003 at Stony Brook, working in conjunction with Dr. Golub and Dr. Hsi-Ming Lee.

Like Tina, Jeremy is extremely active in his school. He currently takes six Advanced Placement classes (plus band). (Previously, he took AP Chemistry and AP Physics.) He plays varsity football and fences, in addition to spending extensive time volunteering at the local hospital and LIRHA (Long Island Riding for the Handicapped Association). Needless to say, his family is very supportive of his research and his academic endeavors!

Jeremy's research at the University of Iowa led to several awards and recognitions: Finalist in American Academy of Neurology Research Prize and Intel ISEF finalist. This year, he was selected as an Intel STS semifinalist based on his work with Dr. Golub. Another interesting honor is that he served as his school´s captain in a locally broadcast quiz show, "The Long Island Challenge", which his school ultimately won.

This fall, Jeremy will be joining the University of Pennsylvania´s class of 2008. He plans to study biology and continue his research on the applications of subantimicrobial dosage doxycycline at the UPenn Dental School. His ultimate career goal is to become an MD/PhD and perform clinical research.

With people like Tina and Jeremy, the future of dental research is in good hands!

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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