USC Stevens Gives Student Innovation Awards at Dentistry Day

Ostrow School of Dentistry at USC – Research Day March 12, 2014

Each spring, graduate students and their faculty mentors from the USC Ostrow School of Dentistry, the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, and the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy gather for Dentistry Research Day to showcase their research projects and results. Since 2007, the USC Stevens Center for Innovation has participated by awarding the “Most Innovative Award.” This year, two standout student projects split the $500 award equally.

The first award went to Hyeshin Park in the laboratory of Nicolas Schweighofer in Occupational Therapy. Several years ago, Hyeshin was involved in the development of an automated system used to train stroke patients. The system tests patients’ ability to reach for various “targets” that are illuminated on a table in front of the seated patient. Her continued clinical studies show that her patients are making long-lasting improvements that will transfer to other real-life reaching activities.

The second award went to a graduate student in the School of Dentistry, Qichao Ruan, who works with Janet Oldak-Moradian at the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology.  Qichao’s project involves the development of a composite material that mimics “nacre,” also known as Mother of Pearl. Qichao’s materials, combining calcium phosphate crystals (hard) with a chitosan/maleic acid matrix (elastic) in ordered arrays, have potential biomedical and industrial applications.

Dentistry Research Day provides an important opportunity for USC Stevens to get involved in the USC research community, to witness the development of innovations over time, and to be stimulated by the energy and creativity of our graduate students. Congratulations Hyeshin and Qichao!