College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics

Dean's Message

As we've come through the coldest months of the year in Iowa and reached the midpoint of the spring semester, it is exciting to look forward to our upcoming Spring Break, March 13-17. Be sure and find time to enjoy the break. You have earned it—whether you are traveling or staying close to campus, please make time to rest and recuperate. ~Clark Stanford

Updates for March 3, 2022–March 23, 2022

Aline Petrin

Twins and the causes of orofacial clefting

Drawing from resources and opportunities at Iowa and the National Institutes of Health, Aline Petrin is conducting novel research involving twins that could shed light on the causes of orofacial clefting.

A student presentation at the Iowa Section of the AADOCR

Congratulations to Iowa's AADOCR award winners!

The 70th Annual Iowa Section of the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial was held on Tuesday, February 14. Judges evaluated each submission for each category and determined the award winners based on the quality of the research and the presentation. These awards represent the exciting research that students, staff, and visitors are conducting and presenting.

Players from the Mediapolis 6-on-6 girls basketball team

Heather Heddens discusses 6-on-6 basketball

Heather Heddens, a longtime adjunct professor in family dentistry, grew up in Mediapolis, Iowa where she was a forward (forwards played exclusively on offense; guards played exclusively on defense) for the Mediapolis Bullettes, a well-known and successful girl’s 6-on-6 basketball team from 1969 to 1973. A recent podcast and PBS series on women's 6-on-6 basketball recently came out. Both feature Heddens—at the 36 minute mark in the podcast and about 3:30 for the YouTube video. You can also watch see Heddens in action in 1973 Iowa Girls State Basketball championship game when Mediapolis won.

Alumni at the Chicago MidWinter Meeting

Chicago Alumni Reception

More than 100 Iowa Dental alumni and friends gathered in Chicago on Friday, February 24 at The Blackstone Hotel for the annual Chicago Dental Alumni & Friends Reception held during the Chicago MidWinter Meeting. For some alumni in attendance, they graduated more than 50 years ago….others completed their dental degree last spring. Everyone enjoyed sharing their Hawkeye stories, chatting with Dean Clark Stanford (’87 DDS, ’92 PROS, ‘92PhD), and hearing updates on their alma mater.

Composite photo of all awardees

Dentistry faculty receive Early Career Scholars Award

The Research Development Office within the Office of the Vice President for Research has selected two dentistry faculty, Robert Bowers and Anvita Maharishi, among 15 other faculty members across campus to receive the 2023 OVPR Early Career Scholars Award. The award program aims to help tenure-track assistant professors develop a competitive proposal and secure an externally funded award. This is the third such award that dentistry faculty have received over the last two years. Read more about the 2023 selected winners.

Infographic with panel presenters for the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery group

Women in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery panel

On February 23, the Iowa chapter of the American Association for Women Dentists and the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery club hosted a Zoom meeting with three oral surgeons as part of a women in oral surgery panel. The three surgeons were Tara Aghaloo, Jasjit Dillon, and Justine Moe. About 30 people from 8 different schools all over the U.S. participated in the meeting.

One Day for Iowa

One Day for Iowa!

Wednesday, March 29, 2023, is One Day for Iowa, the University of Iowa's 24-hour online giving day. Last year, more than 3,000 Hawkeyes gave back in support of the University of Iowa — making an important impact. Join your fellow Hawkeye community and make a difference this year! (You can already donate if you'd like!)

Iowa Dental Association Logo

IDA Scholarships

The Iowa Dental Foundation (IDF) is currently accepting scholarship applications. All dental (D3s), dental hygiene, dental assistant, and dental lab technician students are encouraged to apply. Dental students may receive up to $5,000 and all other dental professional students up to $750. The total number of scholarships awarded and amounts vary each year. For more information or to see past awardees, visit the IDF webpage.

Completed applications must be submitted by March 31.


Collaborative and Innovative Research

Petrin AL, Zeng E, Thomas MA, MorettiFerreira D, Marazita ML, Xie XJ, Murray JC,  Moreno-Uribe LM (2023) DNA methylation differences in monozygotic twins with Van der Woude syndrome. Front. Dent. Med 4:1120948. doi: 10.3389/fdmed.2023.1120948

Van der Woude Syndrome (VWS) is an autosomal dominant disorder responsible for 2% of all syndromic orofacial clefts (OFCs) with IRF6 being the primary causal gene (70%). Cases may present with lip pits and either cleft lip, cleft lip with cleft palate, or cleft palate, with marked phenotypic discordance even among individuals carrying the same mutation. This suggests that genetic or epigenetic modifiers may play additional roles in the syndrome's etiology and variability in expression. This study reports the first DNA methylation (DNAm) profiling of 2 pairs of monozygotic twins with VWS. The goal was to explore epigenetic contributions to VWS etiology and variable phenotypic expressivity by comparing DNAm profiles in both twin pairs. While the mutations that cause VWS in these twins are known, the additional mechanism behind their phenotypic risk and variability in expression remains unclear. The research team used gene ontology analysis to identify a list of enriched genes that showed significant differential DNAm, including clef-associated genes, like TP63 and IRF6. Our data shows evidence that changes in DNAm is a plausible mechanism that can lead to markedly distinct phenotypes, even among individuals carrying the same mutation.

Jessie Ritchey

Iowa Trailblazers: Jessie Ritchey

The valedictorian of the University of Iowa College of Dentistry Class of 1887 stood out for more than academic achievement. Jessie Ritchey was the first female graduate of the then 5-year-old dentistry program. A couple of years later, she would become the first female faculty member in the college—as well as one of the first female dental faculty members in the country.

Dentistry historically has been a male-dominated field. But starting with Jessie Ritchey and continuing to this day, Iowa has proven itself a trailblazer for women in dentistry.

The UI College of Dentistry Class of 2024 made history by becoming the college’s first to have more female students than male students. In addition, 2020 was the first year that female applicants outnumbered male applicants. The overall fall 2021 enrollment included 168 women and 164 men.


March 9, All College Potluck hosted by the International Affairs and Planning Committee, W220A/B, 11:30 am–1:30 pm.  Everyone is invited to bring a dish to share. 

March 10, Live Distance Course: Digital Smile Planning: Veneer preps, computer design, and material’s indication, Thiago Porto, 8:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

March 21,  "Through my Eyes.” Watch this Iowa City documentary that partners individuals with and without disabilities together and then meet the producer.  Galagan A, 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.

March 28, Noon Seminar: Paule Joseph, NIAAA/NIH, "Investigating the Chemical Senses (Taste, Smell, and Chemesthesis): Clinical Applications," hosted by Sukirth Ganesan, Galagan B, 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.   

March 28, “Exploring the World:  Iran.”  Dr. Melika Farshad and Behi Bolboli.  Galagan A, 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.

April 14, Live Distance Course: Thinking Game for Maxillary Full Arch Implant Restorations, Aaron Cho, 8:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

May 5, Dental Alumni Reception in conjunction with IDA Annual Meeting, Cedar Rapids, IA, 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.

May 5, Learn about Noma (a bacterial infection that rapidly destroys the soft and hard tissues of the face and mouth) by Mr. Fidel Strub—a Noma survivor, Galagan B, 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.

June 1, Culturally Responsive Health Care Conference, College of Public Health, 8:00 a.m.–1:00 pm.  Co-sponsored by the College of Dentistry. 

September 15-16, Dentistry Alumni Reunion Weekend

Notes and Resources 

Lend a helping hand. Due to medical issues, Holly Bolt has exhausted her sick leave and vacation. If you would like to help Holly by contributing vacation time, please go to the following website: CAT Leave, and click on “Catastrophic Leave Donation Form.”

Filling Station Menu

M-R: 7:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.; F: 7:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Spring Break (Mar 13–17) hours: 7:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

The banner Hawkeye Smile image shows Melika Farshad, an associate in clinic administration and patient care, with Herky.

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