Sunstar Grants Support Periodontal Research

Dentistry Today


American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) members Hsun Liang Chan, DDS, MS, and Jeff C.W. Wang, DDS, DMSc, are the 2018 recipients of the Sunstar Innovation Grant. Each will receive $30,000 as part of the AAP’s partnership with Sunstar, which has committed to awarding scientific grants to AAP members whose investigations show significant potential to advance periodontics.

Chan’s project, “In-Situ Evaluation of Periodontal Inflammation with Ultrasonography,” aims to use ultrasound imaging to assess periodontal inflammation with the long-term goal of developing a point-of-care device to diagnose and monitor inflammation.

“The ultrasound method may be able to detect disease at earlier stages so that treatment can be rendered in a timely manner. It intends to provide information about what is going to happen instead of what has already happened. Therefore, tooth longevity and quality of life can be improved,” Chan said.

Wang’s project, “Development of Patient-Friendly Oral Health Report with Customized Oral Hygiene Instructional Video for Enhanced Patient Education Modalities,” aims to eventually improve patient education, motivation, and compliance with the use of technology-based visual aids and reports.

“This [research project] is one step towards future personalized precision patient education using a tailored oral and periodontal health report as a platform to educate patients about their own clinical, periodontal, and radiographic findings,” Wang said. “Without patient health literacy, patient motivation, and compliance, the goal of long-term oral health is negated.”

As part of the Innovation Grant program, Sunstar has committed $250,000 toward six research grants to select AAP members over a three-year period, which began in 2017. The AAP Research Submissions Committee examines all abstracts against criteria established by Sunstar and the AAP. Chan and Wang are the second and third recipients of the award.

“These investigations have the potential to transform periodontal disease diagnosis and patient literacy,” said Steven R. Daniel, DDS, AAP president. “Sunstar’s generous backing of this novel research accelerates the innovation that will define the future of the specialty. The Academy applauds Sunstar for its longstanding dedication to furthering the science and practice of periodontics.”

“The work of this year’s Innovation Grant recipients will influence the treatment and prevention of periodontal disease,” said Jackie Sanders, manager of professional relations at Sunstar. “We are pleased to unite with the AAP in providing a platform for scientific research and, subsequently, the improvement of patient health.”

Chan is a clinical assistant professor and Wang is a predoctoral director and clinical assistant professor with the University of Michigan School of Dentistry’s Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine. They will present the results of their studies at a future AAP Annual Meeting.

The AAP encourages members who are conducting research in a clinical setting to submit abstracts and proposals for consideration of future grant awards. The application period begins in September 2018. For more information, contact project coordinator Maggie Matamoros at

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