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Indian dentist, student receives Dr. Ray Bowen Student Research Award

February 28, 2017 A master's degree dental student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry is the winner of the 2017 Dr. Ray Bowen Student Research Award.

Dr. Kulkarni
Dr. Prajakta Kulkarni, who earned a bachelor's of dental science degree at the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences in India, received the award, bestowed by the ADA Foundation in cooperation with the Academy of Operative Dentistry, for her research project "Bioactive Materials: Ion Release, Secondary Caries Depth and Elemental Analysis of Surrounding Tooth."

"I am honored to receive this prestigious award," said Dr. Kulkarni. "It is a privilege to be able to conduct research under accomplished faculty at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry. I look forward to this opportunity to further develop my research interests."

The biennial Dr. Ray Bowen Student Research Award is open to dental students at all levels who wish to undertake research relevant to contemporary operative dentistry. The award provides $6,000 to the awardee to perform the proposed research and an additional $1,000 to help defray the costs of presenting a table clinic based on the research proposal at the Academy of Operative Dentistry's scientific session. The student must have a research mentor who is a member of the Academy of Operative Dentistry at his/her institution to provide guidance and act as a co-investigator.  

"This program is a perfect example of how research is becoming integrated into dental student education and helping to build a strong foundation for the future of dentistry," said Dr. William R. Calnon, ADA Foundation president and interim executive director. "It encourages dental student research, which more and more post graduate programs are demanding. We are proud to partner with the Academy of Operative Dentistry to support and recognize dental students engaged in this relevant oral health research."

Dr. Kulkarni's mentor is Dr. John O. Burgess, adjunct professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry.

"Dr. Kulkarni is an excellent graduate student with a strong 'can-do' attitude and an outstanding work ethic," said Dr. Burgess. "We feel that these developing bioactive materials may have the potential of reducing the caries attack on caries-prone individuals young and old, and feel very passionate about her research. This project has the potential to provide a foundation for evaluating the effectiveness of preventive materials used in dentistry and improving their development."

The award honors the nearly 60-year career of Dr. Ray Bowen, the inventor of resin composites and dentin adhesives and an internationally recognized authority on composite materials. Dr. Bowen is a former director of the Paffenbarger Research Center and is presently active as Distinguished Scientist at the ADA Foundation Volpe Research Center.