Two UFCD Students Win National Awards at AADR/IADR

Congratulations to Natalie Ateyo and Seung Jin “James” Jang, both D.M.D./Ph.D. students at the University of Florida College of Dentistry, for winning research awards during the joint 2021 American Association of Dental Research, or AADR, and International Association for Dental Research, or IADR, meeting in July.

Natalie Atyeo
Natalie Atyeo is a current DMD/PhD dual degree student at the UF College of Dentistry.

Natalie Atyeo, also a current T90 fellow, won first place in the 2021 AADR Hatton Competition Junior Category for her project, “Oral Herpesvirus Infection Induces FOXQ1, a Novel Lytic Cycle Promoter.”

She went on to win first place in the category for the IADR Hatton Award as well, competing against 27 other students.

Atyeo was also awarded a Student Research Fellowship from the AADR, created to encourage dental students living in the United States to consider careers in oral health research. In August 2021, Atyeo presents her research findings at the International Herpesvirus Workshop, which will be held virtually this year.

Atyeo has worked in the laboratory of Bernadett Papp, Ph.D., since 2019. Atyeo’s project focuses on discovering novel critical host-pathogen interactions during Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, or KSHV, infection of oral epithelial cells.

“Since the oral cavity is the initial site of contact and entry for many viruses, it is a prerequisite for viral pathogenesis. By identifying novel host-pathogen interactions in the oral cavity, our research aims to reveal novel targets for therapies directed against primary viral infections,” Atyeo said.

In January 2021, with support from Papp and Zsolt Toth, Ph.D., Atyeo applied for and received a NIDCR F30 award.

The AADR/IADR Hatton Competition is designed for junior, senior and post-doctoral investigators who exhibit potential for a productive career in dental research.

James Jang
Seung Jin “James” Jang is a current DMD/PhD dual degree student at the UF College of Dentistry.

Seung Jin “James” Jang was awarded third place in the AADR Student Competition for Advancing Dental Research and its Application, or SCADA, for his project, “Gene Regulatory Mechanisms of Viral Interferon Regulatory Factor 1.” Jang began working in the Toth laboratory before he joined UFCD as a dual degree student; his award was for the Basic and Translational Science Research category.

Dentsply Sirona and the AADR co-sponsor the AADR SCADA to empower the next generation of dental leaders by showcasing students’ research and recognizing their passion for discovery and innovation. Every U.S. dental school was invited to select a student to participate in the 2021 SCADA event. The virtual competition took place on July 19, 2021.

The AADR is now the American Association of Dentistry & Oral and Craniofacial Research

At the end of the 2021 meeting, the American Association for Dental Research announced that, as part of its Science First initiative, it is changing its name to the American Association of Dentistry & Oral and Craniofacial Research, or AADOCR.