Xuefeng Zhao, DMD, PhD, took first place in the Young Researchers Forum at the Chinese Dentistry Research and Administration Society’s Third Annual Meeting in Chengdu, China, in November. He is a first-year orthodontics resident at Penn Dental Medicine.
The Chinese Stomatological Association invited Zhao to the Forum, which included 76 young researchers representing 41 different dental schools, mostly within China. As a winner, he is now eligible to apply for the Chinese Association for Science and Technology’s Young Researcher Grant next year.
Zhao’s research focused on generating a novel conditional inducible mouse model of fibrous dysplasia (FD) by expressing mutant GNAS genes in skeletal stem cells in a temporarily controlled and tissue-specific fashion.
Using this mouse model, Zhao revealed the bone remodeling mechanisms driven by GNAS along the development of FD and demonstrated that GNAS mutation is sufficient and necessary for FD initiation and maintenance.
“This model provides a valuable opportunity to identify the molecular mechanism underlying FD progression and to accelerate the development of more effective treatment options,” Zhao said.
The study, “Expression of an Active Gas Mutant in Skeletal Stem Cells Is Sufficient and Necessary for Fibrous Dysplasia Initiation and Maintenance,” was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.