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Dalhousie student takes second place in IADR Hatton Competition

Posted by Marilyn Klein on July 3, 2012 in Students, Research

Farhan Khan, a MSc student in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology under the supervision of Dr. Song Lee and Dr. Scott Halperin, was recently awarded second place in the International Association for Dental Research/Unilever Hatton Competition senior basic science category.

Mr. Khan was one of only two students representing Canada in the Hatton Awards Competition held as part of the IADR 90th General Session and Exhibition in Brazil in June 2012.

Mr. Khan competed against 27 other top students from around the world who conducted their research as part of their masters, PhD, MD, post-doctoral or post-dental training. Dr. Mildred Embree, an Assistant Professor at Columbia University, placed first in the senior basic science category.

For the competition, Mr. Khan presented his research on “Anti-Fusobacterium nucleatum Single Chain Antibody Library: Construction and Adhesin Identification,” which he conducted as part of his Master of Science.

Fusobacterium nucleatum is a bacterium that lives in the mouth and is an important contributor to the formation of dental plaque. It seems to be particularly good at sticking or adhering to other species of bacteria, thus aiding the build up of bacteria on the teeth to form plaque. Exactly how F. nucleatum sticks to other bacteria is not well understood.

In his research, Mr. Khan was able to identify several antibodies that can bind to the surface of F. nucleatum and prevent it from adhering to other bacteria. A step forward in the process of learning exactly how these bacteria contribute to the formation of dental plaque.