Congratulations to Sherin Merchant, a University of Florida undergraduate student who volunteers in Dr. Luciana Shaddox’s laboratory. Merchant won the prestigious “Clinical Impact Award” during the American Academy of Periodontology annual meeting in September 2013 for her poster presentation on comparing clinical response to treatment between primary and permanent dentition affected by localized aggressive periodontitis in children.
“We are so proud of Sherin. This is the first time an undergraduate student has competed and won this award. It is so unusual that the conference planners weren’t sure how to even register her for the meeting and decided to waive the fee,” said Luciana Shaddox, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D., an associate professor in the University of Florida Department of Periodontology.
A year ago Merchant, a senior majoring in biology, began working on the study that is part of an NIH-funded study on aggressive periodontitis in children. Merchant also received a UF McNairs scholarship to help her research development. She is now applying for the UF College of Dentistry’s combined DMD/PhD program.
Merchant and another UF Periodontology graduate fellow, Fatemah Gholami, were two of eight finalists in the forum poster competition for clinical research during this meeting. The two students were competing with periodontal residents as well as faculty from all over the world.
“The board of examiners for the competition was very impressed with her knowledge and performance, especially given that she is not even in dental school yet,” Shaddox said.
Additional authors and contributors for the study focusing on aggressive periodontitis in children are Shannon Wallet, Peter Harrison, Ikramuddin Aukhil, Andrea Vovk, Nicole ledger and Hong Huang.