Faculty Students

Pathways Day 20196 min read

April 1, 2019

Pathways Day 20196 min read

Class of 2019 presents its projects in Research, Healthcare Delivery and Leadership

Ann Arbor, Mich., April 1, 2019 — Student research projects on display at the School of Dentistry Friday ranged from a complex examination of whether certain proteins could be a useful biomarker signaling periodontal disease, to an analysis of state regulations for the profession of dentistry.

Pathways poster session in the atrium.

Members of the Class of 2019 presented 68 projects at the annual Pathways Day under the theme of “Bringing Theory to Practice.” Pathways is a curricular enrichment program allowing students to investigate areas of their choosing within dentistry that go beyond their core curriculum in the DDS program.

Members of the senior class presented their work in one of three categories — research, leadership or healthcare delivery. Pathways Team Directors for each pathway selected Directors’ Choice Awards. Selected to make oral presentations as The Directors’ Choice Awards for 2019 were:

Jeff Nguyen, Directors’ Choice Award, with faculty member Dan Chiego, director of Pathways Research.

   • Jeff Nguyen, Research Pathway: “Effects of Citrullinated Histone H3 on Oral Epithelial Cells.” Faculty mentor: Rogerio Castilho.

Lauren Mammina (left) and Jessica Larson, Directors’ Choice Award, with faculty mentor Marita Inglehart.

   • Jessica Larson and Lauren Mammina, Healthcare Delivery Pathway: “Adult Dental Patients’ Considerations Concerning Therapy Dogs in Dental Offices: A Survey.” Faculty Mentor: Marita Inglehart.

Alexander Shore, Directors’ Choice Award, with faculty mentor Howard Hamerink.

   • Alexander Shore, Leadership Pathway: “Dentistry: A profession or an occupation? – A Longitudinal Analysis of Disciplinary Action Reports and Regulatory Affairs of the Dental Profession in the State of Michigan.” Faculty Mentors: Howard Hamerink, Josef Kolling.

Each of the three Pathways featured a wide variety of other topics as well. A few selections:

• Research: Students investigated topics including the result of pharmacological therapies for Crouzon Syndrome; how autophagy regulates craniofacial bone homeostasis; and “Quantification of Alveolar Bone, Long Bone and Tooth Roots after Local Delivery of Osteoprotegerin for Control of Orthodontic Tooth Movement.”
• Healthcare Delivery: Students investigated topics such as oral health education for the elderly, how dentists can provide excellent care for patients with autism spectrum disorder and how to reduce patient cancellations in dental student clinics.
• Leadership: Students investigated different learning styles of dental students, the need for dental posture training in dental education and the effectiveness of collaboration between dental and dental hygiene students, among many other topics.

From left, Domenica Sweier, Leadership co-director; Tracy de Peralta, Pathways Program director; Mark Pinsky, Leadership co-director; Dan Chiego, Research director; Jeff Nguyen; John Hamerink, Healthcare Delivery director; Lauren Mammina; Marita Inglehart; Jessica Larson; Howard Hamerink; Alexander Shore; and Dean Laurie McCauley.

“Pathways Day highlights and demonstrates the depth, breadth, intensity and creativity of our students,” Dean Laurie McCauley said in opening the program. “Pathways is the capstone for these amazing individuals who we as faculty were incredibly fortunate to work with over the past few years.”

Program Director Tracy de Peralta, Director of Curriculum and Assessment Integration and clinical associate professor in the Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics, said the program was created to help students “define their interests and articulate their passions.” She called it “a unique avenue” that allows students to bring their personal ideas and interests to educational and professional achievements. “The Pathways Program is a curricular framework offering our students celebration of their individualism,” she said. “This provides an opportunity to collaborate rather than conform in a professional community where moving learning forward with defined focus can ultimately better our patient care.”

This year’s program included music by the Red Shoe Company, a trio of students from the U-M music department, followed by oral presentations by the Directors’ Choice Award recipients and a poster session where students met with faculty, staff, alumni and others who were interested in details of their research.

Student Emily Reinhardt (left) discusses her project with Alumni Society Board of Governors member Janet Cook. Reinhart examined musculoskeletal disorders and associated pain in dental professionals.

Other members of the Pathways team are Dr. Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch, associate dean for academic affairs; Dr. John Hamerink, director of the Healthcare Delivery Pathway; Drs. Domenica Sweier and Mark Pinsky, directors of the Leadership Pathway; and Dr. Dan Chiego, director of the Research Pathway. Staff members Charlene Erickson and Becky Flynn are the program coordinators.


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, atdentistry.communications@umich.edu, or (734) 615-1971.