Dharwad dental student Anupama Ivaturi attends Seattle meet and is impressed.

There is no better learning experience than meeting the best in the industry. It’s like a frog leaping out of its well to understand that there is a different world out there. And if you are a student and get a chance to present a paper in front of some of the best brains in the world its all the more exciting.

The International Association of Dental Research organised the 91st general session and exhibition from March 19 to 23 at the Washington State Convention Centre, Seattle, U.S., and it provided me just that opportunity.

It is one event that encourages global participation of the dental fraternity and gives an opportunity for knowledge sharing among dental professionals across 180 countries.

About 9,000 delegates from various dental schools in Columbia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, all the dental schools in the U.S., U.K., UAE and the Middle East, China and India participated. The meeting attempted to take an overview of the challenges to the profession both in teaching and research.

There were three distinguished lectures and a symposium on the Oral Bio-film: clinical relevance, evaluation and therapeutic considerations. The lectures were a rich intellectual feast and the one by Dr. Nancy on “Our unstable genomes, implications for cancer and applications to gene therapy” was the most interesting.

“Complete tooth regeneration as future treatment option” by Dr. Takashi from Tokyo gave an insight into stem cell research in stomatology.

Research on cancer needs a special mention. In specific, the knowledge base of teaching institutions, the mechanisms of metastasis and the genetic basis of causation were a highlight. Advances in orthodontic treatment, novel bonding mechanisms of tooth filling materials and newer diagnostic aids were eye-catching.

Research work

My research domain is Craniofacial Biology and I presented a research work on cardiac and other systemic deformities in cleft patients. Cleft, commonly referred to as “Sirulu Thutti” in Kannada, is a congenital disorder, detected at birth.

As a part of my research, I observed that babies with cleft have many additional systemic deformities. The most alarming is cardiac deformity which could be life-threatening.

A report on this was possible owing to the flawless diagnostic protocol that is in place in the Dharwad Cleft Unit, SDM College of Dental Sciences and Hospital. Presentation in the international arena has helped me know further about the genetic basis of various dental diseases and has given a boost to my ideas about scope of research in dentistry.

I also got a chance to visit the Stanford Medical School and it was a mind blowing experience. The organisation and the commitment to patient care and the not-to-be-missed research laboratories and equipment are impressive.

(The writer is doing her Master’s in Public Health Dentistry at SDM College of Dental Sciences and Hospital)