School of Clinical Dentistry PhD and Undergraduate Student Successes

Three students were awarded major awards by the British Society for Oral & Dental Research (BSODR) at the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) meeting in London last week.

Amy Harding was awarded the Senior Colgate Prize for her PhD research directed at the use of tissue engineered models to study cancer progression, work supervised by Helen Colleyand Dan Lambert. The cash prize of £500 is awarded for the best oral presentation by a dental researcher, and a travel bursary of £5000 was also awarded to the department to be used towards expenses for a postgraduate student to spend time in a research centre of excellence in the UK or abroad. Amy was delighted to receive this award and said “Winning the Senior Colgate prize, was my greatest achievement so far during my PhD studies. I know that without the guidance and support of my supervisors and the Dental School I would not have had the confidence to enter for the award. I’m so thrilled to have had the opportunity to discuss our research and receive the recognition for the work that we do within the School. It is a real honour!”

Zahra Kidy, an undergraduate BDS student, was awarded the Junior Colgate Prize for her research on oral squamous cell carcinoma, undertaken as part of her intercalated BMedSci studies, and supervised by Simon Whawell and Helen Colley. Awarded for the best verbal presentation by an undergraduate student, Zahra received a cash award of £300, in addition to £3000 for the department to support undergraduate research in the coming year. Simon Whawell, Faculty Lead for Postgraduate Taught Studies, said “I was delighted that Zahra won the Junior Colgate prize, she has worked extremely hard and is a very talented and able student. The success in all three major prizes is also recognition of the training in research and the support we give at Sheffield which at such a conference is noted by our National and International colleagues and significantly adds to the reputation of the School.”

IADRHannah Armes was awarded the Unilever Poster Prize for the best poster presentation by a dental researcher. Her presentation entitled “Exploring the Role of WFDC2 in the Oral Cavity” and supervised by Lynne Bingle and Colin Bingle, gained her a personal cash award of £300, and £3000 to support research within the department for the following year. Commenting on her prize, Hannah said “It was a really great feeling to win a prize at IADR, particularly when my fellow colleagues also received awards! It is great to get recognition for the research I am conducting. It definitely wouldn’t have been possible for me to have achieved so much within the scope of my project without the unwavering support of my supervisors and the Dental School community in general, I can’t thank them enough.”

Finally, Heather Wallis, intercalating BMedSci BDS student and 2017 winner of the Junior Colgate Prize, was awarded second place in the prestigious IADR Junior Unilever Hatton competition. Designed to provide an opportunity for the best junior investigators from all IADR Divisions and Sections to present their research at the annual IADR General Session, individuals presented both oral and poster presentations and were judged on originality and design of the investigation, quality of the data produced, suitability of the methods of analysis used, scientific value of the work, quality of the poster presentation, and demonstrated mastery of the subject. Heather’s project entitled “Innervation of the Oral Cancer Microenvironment: A Novel Therapeutic Target?” was supervised by Fiona BoissonadeDan Lambert and Keith Hunter. Heather said “Not only presenting at an international conference but winning second place at the Junior Hatton Competition at IADR still comes as a shock and surprise. It is a fantastic boost for both myself, when considering academia in the future, but also a reflection of the tireless time, support and hard work from my supervisors Fiona Boissonade and Dan Lambert, who I truly owe this to.” Fiona Boissonade, BMedSci Course Lead and Director of Impact and External Engagement, said “To be placed 2nd in this international competition is an outstanding achievement and reflects on the standard and novelty of Heather’s work. Intercalating BMedSci students from the School now have an established track record in national awards, and we are delighted to have gained international recognition through Heather’s success.”

The School made over 40 presentations at this major international meeting, covering diverse subjects including oral cancer biology, healthcare technologies, microbiology, public health, education, and clinical trials.

The award of four major awards to a single institution is unprecedented, and testimony to the world class biosciences research at the School of Clinical Dentistry. We are all immensely proud of this achievement.
Paul Hatton, Director for Research