Assistant Professor Abdul Basir Barmak, M.D., Ed.D., has been named assistant director of the Master’s Program, where he will work closely with Eastman Institute for Oral Health Professor and Master’s Program Director Dr. Jack Caton, in the successful program’s continuous development.
Dr. Barmak, who has been integral to the rapidly growing EIOH Master’s program, brings a unique expertise that residents greatly benefit from. He teaches several courses including Biostatistics and Clinical Research Design. He mentors and supervises master’s students throughout the entire process of their research projects from development to preparing for publication.
In his new role, Dr. Barmak will participate in the decision-making process on the admissions committee, as well as collaborate with EIOH department chairs in developing their master’s students research ideas to research hypothesis. He devotes a great deal of time supporting the professional development and success of the master’s students.
Assistant Professor Szilvia Arany, D.M.D., Ph.D., has been named director of Geriatric Oral Health. She will organize and direct a program that equips future generations of dentists with the skills and experience to provide treatment with personalized oral health priorities and care preferences of older adults and their caregivers.
Working in close collaboration with Annette Medina-Alpole, M.D., chief, UR Division of Geriatrics & Aging, and Thomas Caprio, M.D., director of UR geriatric training programs, this innovative educational approach addresses the specific needs of older adults and follows an essential set of evidence-based practices, while tying in valuable resources throughout the University of Rochester Medical Center.
As the first dental recipient of Andrew W. Mellon Dean's Teaching Fellowship, Dr. Arany is also working on a new dental initiative in GME residents' training by addressing older adult dental health care needs.
John Vorrasi, D.D.S., program director for the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery residency program, has been promoted to associate professor.
Dr. Vorrasi, who has been closely involved with resident education and research since he joined the EIOH faculty in 2016, has a strong clinical and research interest in orthognathic and TMJ surgery and reconstruction, facial reconstruction, and dental implants. He has contributed to the scientific literature through several publications, including Journal of Oral and
Maxillofacial Surgery, OMS Knowledge Updates, and Atlas of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. In addition, he has co-authored book chapters and lectured extensively at scientific organizations and study clubs. He recently presented his most recent research and clinical expertise on temporomandibular joint disease management with Junad Khan, B.D.S., M.P.H, Ph.D, Program Director, EIOH Orofacial Pain Department, at the American Association for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons national meeting.
David Fraser, D.D.S., M.S. (Perio ’17 MS ‘17), assistant professor in Eastman Institute for Oral Health’s Periodontics Department and trainee in the Translational Biomedical Science Ph.D. Program, has been recently recognized twice for his outstanding accomplishments.
Dr. Fraser was awarded a Trainee Pilot Study, funded by National Institutes of Health and facilitated through the University of Rochester’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, that could help find new ways to reverse the damaging effects of periodontitis, a serious and chronic condition that affects nearly 40 percent of U.S. adults.
Periodontitis can cause irreversible damage to the jaw bone and tooth loss. Costly and unpredictable reconstructive therapies are the only options for treating this bone loss. However, therapeutic approaches that use stem cells to rebuild periodontal tissues have shown promise, but have run into issues when it comes to delivering the cells to the area of damage.
For his study, Dr. Fraser, under the mentorship of University of Rochester Professor Danielle Benoit, Ph.D., will work to develop a special hydrogel scaffold in which the stem cells from the periodontal ligament can be embedded. The pair have already shown that their hydrogel can help these cells differentiate without adding any drugs or growth factors. This project, Controlled delivery of periodontal ligament cells for in vivo tissue regeneration, will allow them to fine tune the hydrogel so it degrades and releases these cells around teeth to help form new bone.
Dr. Fraser was also awarded one of the University’s most competitive dissertation fellowships which is given to Ph.D. candidates who display exceptional ability and promise. The fellowship, endowed by University of Rochester Class of 1952 alumna Joan Wright Goodman, Ph.D., was established to support doctoral students across science disciplines.
Alexandra Tsigarida, D.D.S., M.S., associate professor and program director for EIOH’s Periodontics Residency Program, has been named the next chair of the Education Committee of the American Academy of Periodontology. She will also chair a new task force to evaluate periodontal education for the 2021-2022 academic year. Her term begins in early November after the General Assembly Business Session at the AAP Annual Meeting in Miami.