The annual Research Day tradition at the School of Dentistry continues Feb. 19 with the presentation of the latest scientific studies, and organizers expect the 2020 version to bring a record number of posters.


A total of 121 dental and dental hygiene students, graduate students in various specialties, PhD candidates, postdocs, faculty, staff and visiting scholars are expected, which would break the record of 119 set last year.

After a keynote speech at the School of Dentistry, the poster and exhibit session will be in the ballroom and two other second-floor rooms at the Michigan League. Several hundred people attend Research Day, including exhibitors and sponsors from organizations and companies related to dentistry.

Research awards are presented in several categories from undergraduate to PhD and postdoctoral fellows, and faculty and staff are honored for their contributions to the school’s research mission.

Headshot of Sarah Knox
Sarah Knox

Sarah Knox, associate professor of dentistry in the Department of Cell and Tissue Biology at the University of California, San Francisco, will deliver the keynote speech on “A Little Bit Nervous? Peripheral Nerves and Organ Development, Regeneration and Aging.”

Knox leads research into how nerve-epithelial communication regulates exocrine organ development, regeneration, autoimmune disease and aging using a multiorgan approach. The research includes organ biology, regenerative medicine, genetics, RNA sequencing, organogenesis, biochemistry and radiation biology.

Knox is leading a pre-clinical trial focused on the potential to regenerate radiation-damaged salivary glands in head-and-neck cancer patients. Knox won the Sustaining Outstanding Achievement in Research Award in 2018 from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and was named the Research Group Salivary Researcher of the Year in 2017 by the International Association for Dental Research.

The keynote is at 1 p.m. in the dental school’s Kellogg Auditorium, Room G005. The Research Presentations with a poster session, along with an exhibitor forum, begin at 2 p.m. on the second floor of the Michigan League. Awards will be announced at 4:30 p.m., also on the second floor of the League.

This event is hosted by the school’s chapter of the American Student Dental Association and the school’s Office of Research.

The origins of Research Day date to the 1960s when the school started a Table Clinic Day to promote student research. A Student Research Program was started in the early 1980s with a grant from the National Institutes of Health, which led to the first Student Research Forum in 1983. The school held both Table Clinic Days and the Student Research Forum for many years until it was combined into Research Day in 1999.