Current News

Veterinary and Human Researchers Share Knowledge at Joint Craniomaxillofacial Disorders and Solutions Conference

December 20, 2016

Sometimes in the world of science there is a bit of serendipity that accompanies all the research. That’s how the recent conference, “Craniomaxillofacial Disorders and Solutions in Man and Animals” came about. 

Drs. Boaz Arzi and Frank Verstraete, veterinary surgeons known at UC Davis for their pioneering work in canine mandibular reconstruction, were presenting at a veterinary dental conference in Monterey, CA in October of 2015. In the audience, Dr. Ichiro Nishimura was spellbound. As a human dentist with a research program in tissue regeneration and biotechnology and as the director of the UCLA School of Dentistry Weintraub Center for Reconstructive Biotechnology, Nishimura wanted to know more about translating the novel techniques presented by the veterinary scientists to human applications. Verstraete and Arzi began communicating with Nishimura and his colleague, Dr. Alireza Moshaverinia, brainstorming on how they could assemble medical experts from the human and veterinary dentistry and craniomaxillofacial clinical and research fields in one place to learn from each other.

“We wanted to live up to the paper we put out in Science Translational Medicine and bring everyone together,” Arzi said. 

Over the course of the next year, the UC Davis and UCLA faculty collaborated to create a unique opportunity for clinicians and scientists to understand and discuss craniomaxillofacial disorders occurring in humans and animals and the challenges that they pose on the patient and the clinician. They invited 30 speakers to offer 15 minute presentations; residents and Ph.D. students were also invited to talk for seven minutes. 

Arzi said they were overwhelmed with the response of people wanting to attend and had to close the website after 60 people registered. Attendees over the two-day event held at UCLA’s Luskin Conference Center ranged from basic scientists, bioengineers and radiologists, to oncologists, dentists, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons. About 75 percent were from human medicine; 25 percent came from veterinary medicine.

Topics included:

3-D Printing

Oral Immune Disorders and Solutions

Tissue Engineering and Stem Cells for Craniofacial and TMJ Defects

Oral and Maxillofacial Cancer, Cysts and Clefts

Jaw Reconstruction and BMP Strategies

Nanotechnology and Drug Delivery Systems

New Imaging and Diagnostic Technology and Design

Panel Discussion on Clinical and Translational Science

“It was an eye-opening experience on both sides to see where this field is and where it may be going,” Arzi said. “This conference opened people’s minds to translational aspects of veterinary medicine. There are a lot of similarities in spontaneous disease and what we can learn from them.” 

The conference organizers hope to repeat the event, which was free to attendees, on a biannual basis. Sponsors included the National Institutes of Health, start-up funds provided by Dr. Arzi, Dean Michael Lairmore’s Innovation funds, UCLA, AAAS, the Foundation for Oral-facial Rehabilitation, and Fuji Films.