Ann Arbor, MI — February 20, 2014 — For the fourth consecutive year, the University of Michigan School of Dentistry’s Department of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry has won the prestigious Milo Hellman Award. The award is given by the American Association of Orthodontists for the best research paper submitted by a resident or faculty member in a graduate orothodontics program in the U.S. or Canada.
Dr. Lucia Cevidanes, an assistant professor who joined the School of Dentistry’s orthodontics faculty three years ago, has been announced as this year’s recipient of the award by the AAO. It will be presented during the organization’s annual session in late April in New Orleans.
Integrating Biology and Imaging
Cevidanes won the award for her research that focuses on using 3-D imaging to solve difficult clinical problems in orthodontics, including detecting inflammatory and degenerative conditions of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) bony tissues.
“The TMJ differs from other joints because a layer of fibrocartilage covers the TMJ, so that area is particularly vulnerable to inflammatory damage and is a valuable model for studying arthritic bony changes,” she says.
“The great challenge in understanding and treating arthritis in this area of the face is that it often begins attacking different tissues in the TMJ. However, we are not able to diagnose the condition until it becomes symptomatic later. By then, structural alterations are already quite advanced,” Cevidanes adds. “That’s a challenge for us as clinicians and researchers because no proven disease-modifying therapy exists for TMJ arthritis, and current treatment options for chronic arthritic pain are insufficient.”
Cevidanes hopes her research will identify biomarkers and how they interact so that they allow clinicians to identify the disease process early and minimize the pain patients experience. “By identifying biomarkers associated with early onset arthritis, we hope to help patients who may be at risk for developing more severe stages of the disease,” she says. “The TMJ research may also give us insights later about how arthritis develops elsewhere in the body, such as the knees and hips.”
Cevidanes completed her specialty training in orthodontics in 1994 and received her PhD in 2003. A Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, she has published more than 60 scientific papers on 3-D imaging. She received the Graber Award from AAO for her work in 2005.