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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 19, 2006

Dentistry Graduate Student Van Westen Honored For Research

Luciana Miranda Van Westen, D.D.S., a dental resident in the Department of Orthodontics in the University of Iowa College of Dentistry, has been selected to receive the Milo Hellman Research Award, the highest award for research given by American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). She will receive her award at the AAO annual meeting May 5-9 in Las Vegas.

Van Westen, a participant in AAO's Orthodontic Resident Scholar Program, was chosen based on her study, "The Genetic Basis of Craniofrontonasal Dysplasia." This is a rare, X-linked (inherited) birth defect characterized by abnormalities of the head and face, hands and feet, and certain skeletal bones.

Van Westen, who is also a doctoral candidate in the Interdisciplinary Program in Genetics in the UI Graduate College, has received other awards for her research. During the 2005 AAO annual session, Van Westen received the association's Resident Scholar Award in Basic Research. She was awarded the Bernard G. Sarnat Award in Craniofacial Biology at the 2005 general session of the International Association for Dental Research/American Association for Dental Research for her research on the genetics of craniofrontonasal dysplasia. While a dental student at the UI, Van Westen also has received the Joel B. Huth Orthodontics Scholarship Award, the Dental Research Award, the Organization of Teachers of Oral Diagnosis Award for excellence in oral diagnosis, the Research Achievement Award, the Dean's Leadership Award, and the Dr. William and Bertha Olin Craniofacial Anomalies Scholarship Award.

Van Westen's research mentor is Andrew Lidral, D.D.S., Ph.D., associate professor of orthodontics in the UI College of Dentistry and a faculty member in the Interdisciplinary Program in Genetics and the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

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