The ADA Foundation has named Drake Winslow Williams, DDS, the 2018 recipient of its Dentsply Sirona Research Award for Dual Degree Candidates. He is a PhD candidate in oral biology at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Dentistry Division of Constitutive and Regenerative Sciences.
A 2017 graduate of the UCLA School of Dentistry, Williams is investigating the role of commensal microbiome in the pathogenesis of medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ). He is being advised by associate professor Reuben H. Kim, DDS, PhD, chair of the Section of Restorative Dentistry.
Williams’ research aims to contribute to the understanding of the microbiome’s impact—for example, in terms of bacterial infiltration—on MRONJ development. He also is investigating the interrogation of microbiome influence on oral and maxillofacial angiogenesis.
The $10,000 award is designed to encourage and acknowledge outstanding achievements in oral health research that focus on basic biomedical, clinical, or translational subjects to advance public oral health.
“My research combines my expertise in oral and bone biology and in immunology. I am particularly interested in learning more about how the microbiome and microbial species can alter the immune system to affect oral and systemic bone homeostasis,” said Williams.
“The ADA Foundation Dentsply Sirona Research Award for Dual Degree Candidates helps me to fund research projects that utilize cutting-edge technologies such as CLARITY to answer novel and impactful clinical questions and to communicate scientific progress at international congresses,” said Williams.
Williams has won more than 20 scientific awards. In 2018, he received the Young Investigator Award of the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research and the Henry M. Thornton SCADA Fellowship Award. He also teaches undergraduate dental students at UCLA and is a volunteer faculty member for a preclinical course in restorative dentistry.
“We are delighted to see how many young dental talents are committed to complement their clinical education in the field of scientific research. Their scientific dedication and ambition is essential to utilize the latest research findings for the benefit of the patients,” said William R. Calnon, DDS, president of the ADA Foundation.
“With the ADA Foundation Dentsply Sirona Research Award, we are actively promoting dental science at its transition to clinical dental care. Dr. Williams is a true role model for our goal and thus a well-deserved laureate,” said Calnon.