By School of Dentistry - January 11, 2012
For the first time in several years, the International Association of Student Clinicians competition, held during the annual American Dental Association meetings, did not convene on Saturday—a change that enabled Vanessa Browne, SD’12, to present in Las Vegas on Monday, October 10, 2011, a research project completed with her colleagues, Mike Flewelling, SD’12, and Mark Wierenga, SD’12. The Loma Linda trio’s project won second prize, awarded in a competition with 76 student researchers from all American (and 17 international) dental schools.
LLUSD table clinic team, Michael Flewelling, Vanessa Browne, and Mark Wierenga, took first place in the clinical category at the California Dental Association meetings in May
and second place at the American Dental Association meetings in October.
Neal Johnson, SD’08, PhD, associate professor, Department of Oral Diagnosis, Radiology, and Pathology, suggested the research topic, “Sterilization of Used and Contaminated Implant Healing Abutments and Impression Copings: A Cost Benefit Analysis,” because no scientific evidence had been produced on this practice that many dentists have begun to employ. The suggestion came just two and a half weeks before the deadline—after a ten-week pursuit of another project that did not materialize.
“We worked morning, noon, and night for two weeks to design the protocol and complete the research,” Vanessa reported. To assist them, Ray Aprecio, Sr., research associate, Center for Dental Research,  was meeting the team at 6 a.m. and again in the evening. Alisa Wilson, safety and infection control coordinator, facilitated processing the research material through sterilization, and delivered lunch as the team worked through the noon hour.

Vanessa names other mentors who met “multiple times” to give advice: Yiming Li, DDS, PhD, MS, director, Center for Dental Research and Paul Richardson, SD’72, MEd, associate dean, Clinic Administration. In Las Vegas, Dean Charles Goodacre, SD’71, MSD,  and Nikola Angelov, DDS, MS, PhD, professor and director, Pre-doctoral Periodontics Clinic, Department of Periodontics, listened to her presentation rehearsal in the hotel lobby. The recipient of the award, Vanessa comments with conviction, “Loma Linda supports its students who are interested in research.”