Spring Synergy 2019 – Winners

The University of Florida College of Dentistry celebrated oral health research with its annual Spring Synergy event March 27-29, 2019, on the UF Academic Health Center campus. Featuring several continuing dental education opportunities with presentations from Kaplan Scholar Nico Geurs, D.D.S., M.S., chair of periodontology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and UFCD’s own research keynote speakers Josephine Esquivel-Upshaw, D.M.D., M.S., and Edward K.L. Chan, Ph.D.

Spring Synergy 2019 Poster Session

Spring Synergy annually celebrates the American Student Dental Association, and UFCD’s chapter of the organization, with a sponsored lunch and vendor fair.

2019 Spring Synergy Program 

2019 Spring Synergy featured nearly 60 poster presentations and a dozen oral presentations. Congratulations to the winners from this year’s oral and poster presentations:

Oral Presentations


  • FIRST: Naeem Motlagh | Identification of an intricate link between the notch signaling pathway and gammaglutamyltransferase 6 for efficient reactivation of an oral herpesvirus
  • SECOND: Carson Smith (tie) | Characterization of gamma-glutamyltransferase 6, a novel notch signaling pathway partner
  • SECOND: Callahan Katrak (tie) | Characterization of manganese transporters inStreptococcus mutans


  • FIRST: Abdulaziz Banasser (tie) | CAMTA 1 and TFE 3 confirmation of oral cavity epithelioid hemangioendothelioma
  • FIRST: Abeer Hakam (tie) | The effect of antidepressant medication on periodontal health and stability – a clinical retrospective study


  • FIRST: Kyulim Lee | Exploring novel probiotic mechanisms of Streptococcus A12 with functional genomics
  • SECOND: Danielle Vermilyea | Peptidylarginine deiminase modulates Porphyromonas gingivalis biofilm development

Dentsply/SCADA Winner

  • Naeem Motlagh

AADR Student Research Day Award

  • Kyulim Lee

Poster Presentations: Awards for Excellence in Research

D.M.D. Recognition

  • Priya Sabharwal | Characterizing clinical isolates related to Streptococcus A12
  • James Jang | Studying the evasion of host immune defense by KSHV viral proteins in gingival epithelial cells

M.S./Resident Recognition

  • Mauricia Brown | Quantitative analysis of cement removal
  • Gabriella Zuzo | Nocebo-induced hyperalgesia in an animal model, a pilot study

Ph.D. Recognition

  • Lauren Roberts | ID2 functions as a potent host restriction factor for KSHV lytic replication
  • Mahmoud Mona | Impact of anti-muscarinic type three receptor autoantibodies on Sjögren’s syndrome diagnosis and secretory dysfunction

Postdoctoral Recognition

  • Aravindraja Chairmandurai | Oral bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis accelerating Amyloid-ß plaques and neuropathological markers in APP-TgCRND8 mice model of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Surabhi Mishra | Dissecting structure/function relationships of Streptococcus mutansmembrane protein chaperones/insertases YidC1 and YidC2

Undergraduate/Pre-Dental Recognition

  • Anthony Sperduto | Screening for novel gene products required for sucrose-mediated biofilm formation in Streptococcus mutans with an arrayed transposon mutant library
  • Madeline Howe | CD70 is a potential target for chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Staff Recognition

  • Thomas Hong Nguyen | Genome-wide screen identifies novel switch mechanisms of oncogenic viral gene expression programs
  • Katherine Glickman | Understanding the role of FOXQ1 and FOXF2 in host-viral interactions of the oral cavity

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