News Release

AADOCR announces MIND the Future Class of 2023-2024

Grant and Award Announcement

International Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research

Alexandria, VA -- The American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) is pleased to announce the program participants (mentees) for the fourth cohort of the AADOCR Mentoring an Inclusive Network for a Diverse Workforce of the Future (AADOCR MIND the Future):

Shaun Abrams
NIH/NIDCR, Bethesda, MD
Craniofacial development, anomalies, stem cell biology

Jean Calvo
University of California, San Francisco
Pediatric dentistry, dental education, patient safety, individuals with special needs

Louise M. Dornelas-Figueira
University of Florida, Gainesville
Oral Biology, microbiology, clinical and translational Research

Christina Graves
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mucosal immunology, stress biology, neuroimmunology, host-environment interactions

Kimberly Jasmer
University of Missouri-Columbia
Salivary gland dysfunction, Sjögren's Disease, xerostomia, autoimmunity, immunology

Isha Mutreja
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Biomaterials, tissue engineering, anti-infective materials

Mariana Reis-Havlat
University of Illinois at Chicago
Cementum, aging, periodontics, collagen, biomechanics, protein biology

Mauricio Sousa
Oregon Health & Science University, Portland
Organs on a chip, tissue engineering, oral biology, bone biology, biomaterials

Caroline Szczepanski
Michigan State University, East Lansing
Dental materials, polymer engineering, adhesive technology, coatings and interfaces

Yan Wang
University of California, Los Angeles
Oral microbiome, pediatric oral health, oral health and HIV, oral health disparities


The participating mentors assigned to Cohort 4 are:

Marcela Carrilho – Midwestern University, Illinois
David Drake – University of Iowa, Iowa City
Jeffrey Ebersole – University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Margherita Fontana – University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Jill Kramer – University at Buffalo, New York
Yu Leo Lei – University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Ariadne Letra – University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Alireza Moshaverinia – University of California, Los Angeles
Carmem Pfeifer – Oregon Health & Science University, Portland
Reginald Taylor – Texas A&M University, Dallas

“AADOCR is once again joined by a group of exceptional young researchers to take part in the MIND the Future Program,” said AADOCR President Alex Vieira. “I am consistently impressed by the quality of the individuals we bring into the program each year, and I have no doubt we are looking at some of the future leaders of AADOCR in this group.”

In 2020, AADOCR was awarded a five-year grant of more than $1.3 million by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) in response to FOA RFA-DE-19-007: NIDCR Mentoring Network to Support a Diverse Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Research Workforce. The grant project dates are March 2020 through February 2025 (Grant No. 5UE5DE029439). Principal Investigators for the grant are AADOCR’s CEO Dr. Dr. Christopher H. Fox, Dr. David Drake, Professor of Microbiology, University of Iowa and the Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research, and Dr. Effie Ioannidou, Department Chair of Orofacial Sciences, University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry. The NIDCR program partner is Dr. Anissa Brown, Chief, Research Training and Career Development Program.

The primary goal of this NIDCR-funded program is to establish a mentoring network that will support a diverse pool of early career investigators, including individuals from diverse backgrounds (e.g., see  Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity), in developing independent research careers dedicated to improving dental, oral and craniofacial health. Please see the AADOCR Website for more details.

The program will offer one year of educational activities and interactive opportunities between mentors and mentees to support the development of a diverse oral and craniofacial biomedical research workforce. Once the mentees complete the program in September 2024, they will continue as program alumni and will remain engaged in the program.

The American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to drive dental, oral, and craniofacial research to advance health and well-being. AADOCR represents the individual scientists, clinician-scientists, dental professionals, and students based in academic, government, non-profit, and private-sector institutions who share our mission. AADOCR is the largest division of IADR. Learn more at

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