School of Dentistry’s newest faculty bring wide variety of expertise11 min read

January 22, 2019

School of Dentistry’s newest faculty bring wide variety of expertise11 min read

New Faculty Updates are published in January and July each year to introduce full-time faculty who have joined the School of Dentistry.

Ann Arbor, Mich., Jan. 22, 2019 -– New faculty who joined the School of Dentistry in the last year are an international mix with clinical and research specialties that include such diverse topics as advances in clinical 3D imaging, how aging disrupts bone formation, maxillofacial prosthetics and the role of dental biofilm in caries development.

Here’s a brief biography of the background and professional interests of each faculty member who has joined the full-time faculty ranks since Jan. 1, 2018, in chronological order:

• Antonio Ruellas joined the Department of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry on Jan. 1, 2018, as a Clinical Associate Professor. He has taught undergraduate, graduate and PhD students at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for 22 years. He completed dental school in 1989, residency training in 1995 and received his PhD in 2001. He is a board-certified orthodontist by the Brazilian Board of Orthodontics. At the U-M dental school, Dr. Ruellas works with graduate students as a didactic and clinical instructor. He currently serves as the Graduate Orthodontic Clinic Director and as Course Director for the biomechanics course. He also sees patients in the faculty associates practice. Dr. Ruellas has published over 100 scientific papers on Materials Science, Biomechanics, tooth movement and, more recently, on 3D imaging. His research interests focus on 3D imaging applied to the clinic. He is interested in studying treatment results, relapse, skeletal and dental effects of different therapies, and also the application of 3D imaging for diagnosis.

• Livia Tenuta joined the Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics as an associate professor on Jan. 1, 2018. Dr. Tenuta obtained her DDS at Bauru Dental School, University of São Paulo, Brazil, in 1997, at the top of her class. She pursued a master’s degree in pediatric dentistry at the same school from 1998-2001. After teaching pediatric dentistry at two universities in Maringá, Brazil, she joined the PhD program in cariology at Piracicaba Dental School, University of Campinas, Brazil, from 2002-05. Dr. Tenuta continued there as a post doc from 2006-07 and later as faculty member from 2007-17, teaching biochemistry and cariology to dental students and mentoring students in the master’s and PhD programs in cariology. In 2012, she was promoted from assistant to associate professor. She received the Basil Bibby Award of the International Association of Dental Research Cariology Group in 2014. She has been involved in leadership roles in the IADR (as president of the IADR Cariology Group, 2011-12) and in the European Organization for Caries Research (as ORCA membership secretary and webmaster, 2015-20). Dr. Tenuta has published more than 80 peer-reviewed articles on dental biofilm cariogenicity and the role of fluoride in caries prevention.

• Peng Li joined the University of Michigan on March 1, 2018, with a joint appointment at the Life Science Institute (75 percent) and the School of Dentistry (25 percent). As an assistant professor in the dental school’s Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences & Prosthodontics, Dr. Li is the first dual appointment between LSI and the dental school. As a molecular neuroscientist, he studies how the brain controls breathing and sighing, as well as how these same circuits might be recruited to help fight conditions such as sleep apnea and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). His research examines breathing as a unique activity at the intersection between physiology, related to maintaining the body homeostasis, and neuroscience, related to how the brain controls motor output. Dr. Li comes to U-M from a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, Md., where he specialized in defining how the various cells that control the brain’s breathing center differ from one another. His received his undergraduate degree in biological sciences from Tsinghua University in China in 2003 and his PhD in neuroscience from the University of Southern California in 2011.

• Diane Hoelscher joined the Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics as a clinical assistant professor, effective April 1, 2018. She is also assistant director of Community-Based Collaborative Care and Education (CBCCE) and faculty development for the dental school. Dr. Hoelscher teaches in clinic and in restorative dentistry courses, and directs community-based outreach. Her research interests include dental materials and interprofessional and community-based education, with a special interest in the scholarship of teaching and learning. From 2015-2017 she was senior vice president for professional development at the American Dental Education Association. She recently was named a University of Michigan Interprofessional Leadership Fellow for the 2019-20 cohort. The IPL Fellows program, now in its fourth year, includes faculty from health science schools across the U-M campuses who will study and innovate collaboration in health education and practice. During their 18-month fellowship, the 15 members of the new cohort will participate in interprofessional learning from university, national and international sources.

• Megan Weivoda joined the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine as an assistant professor on June 1, 2018. She received her Ph.D. in pharmacology at the University of Iowa and held a visiting fellowship at the University of Oxford. She performed postdoctoral research at the Mayo Clinic, where she also served as Assistant Professor in the Division of Endocrinology. Dr. Weivoda’s research program focuses on the role of osteoclasts in the bone remodeling cycle. Specifically, she is investigating the mechanisms by which osteoclast-mediated bone resorption activates subsequent cycles of bone formation and how this “coupling” is disrupted during aging in order to identify novel mechanisms to stimulate bone formation. She is a member of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) and currently serves on the ASBMR Early Stage Investigator Subcommittee.

• Marilia Sayako Yatabe Ioshida was named a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, effective July 1, 2018. She joined the department as a Craniofacial Fellow in July 2017. A native of Brazil, Dr. Yatabe received her DDS degree from São Paulo State University in Araçatuba in 2006 and her certificate in orthodontics in 2010 from the Hospital for Rehabilitation of Craniofacial Anomalies, University of São Paulo in Bauru. She received her Master’s, PhD and Post-Doc degrees in 2013, 2016 and 2017, respectively. Her research interests are interdisciplinary treatment of patients with unilateral cleft lip and palate and-or craniofacial anomalies, and 3D imaging analysis. Dr. Yatabe works with graduate students and Craniofacial Fellows as a didactic and clinical instructor at the dental school and at Mott Children’s Hospital for orthodontic care of patients with craniofacial anomalies. She also sees patients in the faculty practice.

• Justine Moe was named a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Hospital Dentistry, effective Aug. 1, 2018. She is also Associate Director of Head and Neck Oncologic and Microvascular Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship in the Michigan Medicine Department of Surgery, Section of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Dr. Moe graduated from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga., and from Dalhousie University School of Dentistry in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She completed internships at the University of California-Los Angeles and at Emory University. Dr. Moe obtained her residency in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Emory University and completed the fellowship in Head and Neck Oncologic and Microvascular Surgery at the University of Michigan. She specializes in the treatment of head and neck cancer and non-cancerous tumors. Her clinical practice focuses on the comprehensive rehabilitation for facial deformities and tumor resection surgeries, including reconstructive surgery, dental implant rehabilitation and facial cosmetic procedures.

• Sabrina Garcia Hammaker was named a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences & Prosthodontics, effective Oct. 1, 2018. A native of Venezuela, she obtained her DDS at the Universidad Central de Venezuela in 2011. During her dental school training, she was a Pre-Clinical Instructor in the Department of Removable Partial Dentures. Following graduation she worked in private practice and taught part time in the Department of Fixed Prosthodontics as an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor. In 2013, Dr. Garcia Hammaker started her residency in the Graduate Prosthodontics program at the U-M dental school, receiving the Edward J. Billy Scholarship Award and the Dental Master’s Thesis Award from the Delta Dental Foundation for her research, “Influence of Screw Channel Angulation on the Fracture Resistance of Zirconia Abutments.” In 2016, she obtained her certificate in prosthodontics and her master’s degree, and joined the BMSP faculty. She is a member of the American College of Prosthodontists and the American Dental Education Association, and also serves as a reviewer for the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry.

• Sun-Yung Bak joined the Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences & Prosthodontics as Clinical Assistant Professor on Jan. 1, 2019. Dr. Bak received her undergraduate degree in biological chemistry from Wellesley College and her DDS from the University of Michigan in 1998. he completed a general practice residency at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1999. After 10 years in private practice, Dr. Bak received her certificate in prosthodontics at the DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas, in 2012. She completed a fellowship in Maxillofacial Prosthetics from the UCLA School of Dentistry in 2013. Prior to joining the U-M dental school, she was a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina dental school for five years, where she was the course director for the Complete Dentures course, the Clinical Director of Removable Prosthodontics and Director of Maxillofacial Prosthetics in the graduate prosthodontics program. Dr. Bak’s research interests include dosimetric distribution of radiotherapy to lesions of head and neck cancer patients, digital dentistry and maxillofacial prosthetics. She is board eligible in the American Board of Prosthodontics, and is a member of the American Dental Association, the American College of Prosthodontics, the American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics, and the American Dental Education Association. 


The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral health care education, research, patient care and community service.  General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the school to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan.  Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia and public agencies.  Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide.  For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at: www.dent.umich.edu.  Contact: Lynn Monson, associate director of communications, at dentistry.communications@umich.edu, or (734) 615-1971.