Black background with a gold laurel wreath with the words School of Dentistry Accolades in the middle.

A head shot of a man with with short silver hair smiles into the camera.NASSER BARGHI, DDS, MA, professor in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry, has been invited to serve as scientific program chair for the 2023 American Prosthodontic Society Annual Meeting. The event is designed to advance the future of prosthodontics and the achievability that arises from interdisciplinary collaboration between clinicians and laboratory technicians.

Hispanic man with dark hair in a black suit smiles into the camera.JOSE F. CORTES BOTELLO, DDS, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry, was named president of the American Prosthodontic Society. The society was founded in 1928 and has the mission to improve patient care through education, research and outreach programs.

Man with dark hair and salt and pepper beard with a navy suit and orange tie.ANIBAL DIOGENES, DDS, MS, PhD, professor and vice chair of the Department of Endodontics, was named a 2022 Piper Professor by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation. Established in 1958, the award recognizes superior teaching at the university level and is made annually to 10 educators across Texas, honoring their outstanding achievements in teaching.

Hispanic woman with short brown hair wearing a black blazer and pearls smiles into the camera.GARCÍA, DDS, MS, FACP, has returned to the Lone Star State this October as dean of the Texas A&M School of Dentistry. She earned her Master of Science degree in prosthodontics at UT Health San Antonio in 1987 and also served the school as chair of the former Department of Prosthodontics. Garcia most recently served three years as dean of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine, and as the associate dean for education at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. She has been nationally recognized by the Hispanic Dental Association for her leadership and earned a Presidential Citation from the American Dental Education Association.

Hispanic woman with long black hair wearing a white blazer smiles into the camera.VERONICA GONZALEZ, administrative assistant-senior in the Office of Patient Care, was elected to the Staff Advisory Council and assigned to the Communications subcommittee. She is an advocate and representative for the interests of School of Dentistry staff members.

Woman with short, curly hair in a burgundy blazer and small earrings smiles at the camera.JANET M. GUTHMILLER, DDS, PhD, has been named dean of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry and now holds the Claude A. Adams Distinguished Professorship. She assumed her new role on Oct. 15 after eight years as dean of the College of Dentistry at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Guthmiller is a graduate of UT Health San Antonio, having earned her periodontics certificate in 1992 and her PhD in cellular and structural biology a year later. She is a Fellow of the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists and has received numerous awards for her work in dental education.

Man with salt and pepper hair in a black suit with gold tie smiles.JEFFERY L. HICKS, DDS, DABSCD, professor/ clinical in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry, has recently been appointed to serve on the American Dental Education Association’s Council of Faculties and its Advisory Committee on Policy and Educational Research; the American Dental Association’s Council on Scientific Affairs; the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry’s Executive Board; and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration’s Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry.

Man with dark hair and beard wearing black-rimmed glasses and a navy suit smiles.JASON P. JONES, DDS, MD, was presented with the 2021 Oral Abstract Scientific Presentation Award by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Jones received his dental and medical degrees at UT Health San Antonio, and completed an oral and maxillofacial surgery residency with the school in 2022.

Woman with green eyes and red hair wearing a green top and black necklace smiles.KIMBERLY KIRBY, administrative assistant-senior in the Office of the Dean, was selected to serve a two-year term on the Staff Advisory Council. She will advocate for and represent the interests of her fellow School of Dentistry staff members.

Woman with blonde hair wearing a navy top and gold necklace smiles.

KELLY C. LEMKE, DDS, MS, assistant professor/clinical in the Department of Developmental Dentistry, has been appointed director of admissions for the School of Dentistry. Lemke graduated summa cum laude in the school’s class of 1995. She is a member of a variety of local, state and national organizations. She is the current editor for the San Antonio District Dental Society.

Man with grey hair wearing a navy suit and tie smiles.PETER M. LOOMER, BSc, DDS, PhD, MRCD(C), FACD, professor and dean of the School of Dentistry, has been appointed as a commissioner of the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations by the American Dental Education Association. The 18-member commission is responsible for the development and administration of the National Board of Dental Examinations (NBDE). Loomer also serves as the president of the International Academy of Contemporary Dentistry and the vice president of the Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) Supreme Chapter.

Man with grey hair and half-rimmed glasses wears a black suit and multicolored tie.BRIAN MEALEY, DDS, MS, professor in the Department of Periodontics, has been named by the American Academy of Periodontology as the 2022 Gold Medal Awardee, the academy’s highest honor. The Gold Medal Award recognizes outstanding contributions and service to the academy, and understanding of the field of periodontology and the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal diseases. Mealey was also presented with the Academy of General Dentistry’s Dr. Thaddeus V. Weclew Award.

Hispanic man with salt and pepper hair wears a white lab coat and green tie.DANIEL E. PEREZ, DDS, MS, FACS, associate professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, was presented with a 2022 Presidential Excellence Award for Clinical Excellence.

Hispanic woman with dark hair wears green glasses and a white lab coat.ELENA RICCIO LEACH, DDS, MS, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry, was named chair of the Faculty Assembly to preside over the appointment and advancement of school committees. Riccio Leach originally received her dental degree and practiced in Italy before moving to the U.S. She graduated in 2016 with her DDS through the school’s International Dentist Education Program.

Man with salt and pepper hair, long beard wearing a black suit smiles.JASON K. SANDLIN, distributed education coordinator in the Office of the Dean, received a 2022 Presidential Excellence Award for Employee Excellence. This honor recognizes Sandlin’s exemplary performance, his ability to excel in his position and his demonstration of a strong commitment to the mission and the core values of UT Health San Antonio.

Woman with long blonde hair wearing a black blazer smiles.JULIA A. SHELBOURN, DMD, a third-year periodontics resident, was selected as the recipient of the 2022 American Academy of Periodontology Foundation’s Mark Setter Leadership in Periodontology and Dental Implantology Award. This award is given to those who exemplify leadership in dentistry and make a positive impact by promoting the practice of periodontology and dental implantology.

Woman with long blonde hair, black-rimmed glasses and a black and white top smiles.ANDREA “ANDIE” STAGER, MS, senior dental student, was awarded a scholarship from the International College of Dentists and the Washington University Dental Alumni Association Scholarship Program. Stager is the second consecutive student from the School of Dentistry to receive this scholarship. She is also actively involved in multiple organizations such as the Associated Student Dental Association, the Christian Medical and Dental Association, and the Global Health Student Association.

Woman with long blonde hair wearing a black and white stripped top smiles.SHELBY STEFFENHAGEN, DDS, received the 2022 Eugene L. Gottlieb Journal of Clinical Orthodontics Student of the Year Award from American Orthodontics. Steffenhagen completed her orthodontics residency in 2022.

Young African American man wearing a black suit and tie smiles.JONATHAN THOMPSON, senior dental student, has been appointed as a Presidential Ambassador Scholar by UT Health San Antonio President William L. Henrich, MD, MACP, to represent the School of Dentistry’s student body and the university at numerous events throughout the year. Thompson has served as president of the class of 2023 and as an officer in the Student Dental Business Organization. He also volunteers as a mentor in the community for perspective dental students.

Young man with light skin and short, brown hair smiles.JACOB W. ZELLNER, DMD, MS, received the 2022 Dr. James T. Mellonig Regeneration Research Award, which recognizes excellence in original research by a resident in the specialty of periodontics that advances clinical therapies in periodontal regeneration. Zellner completed his master’s research project titled “Wound healing after ridge preservation: A randomized controlled trial on short-term (4 months) versus long-term (12 months) histologic outcomes” under the mentorship of Brian Mealey, DDS, MS. Their work was accepted for publication in the Journal of Periodontology. Zellner graduated this year with his Master of Science in dental science and a certificate in periodontics.

Faculty Senate

These faculty members serve as a voice for their colleagues on issues that affect their collective rights, privileges, responsibilities and welfare. The senate provides a means for campuswide communication among the faculty of all schools as well as between the faculty and administration.

  • Varvara Vanessa Chrepa, DDS, associate professor
    of endodontics, serves on the Scholarly Activities and
    Service subcommittee.
  • Jungyi Alexis Liu, DDS, MS, associate professor/
    clinical of pediatric dentistry, serves on the Faculty
    Governance subcommittee.
  • Rochisha Marwaha, BDS, MPH, assistant professor/
    clinical of comprehensive dentistry, serves on the
    Academic Affairs subcommittee.

Welcome to new faculty members

(November 2021 – September 2022)

Comprehensive Dentistry
Kambiz David Amini, DDS
Alexandra Brummerhop, DMD, MS
George W. Cobb Jr., DDS
Traci M. Cowan, DDS
Kelli Creel, DDS
Michael Dean, DMD
Sohini Dhar, DDS, MPH
Carlos Escobar, DDS
Maiara Hister-Cockrell, DDS
Lauren Hrynyshyn, DDS
Soo Cheol Jeong, DDS, MS, FACP
Marlen Robles Moreno, DDS, MS
Joe J. Simmons, DDS, MA
Annetty Soto, DMD
James M. Womack, DDS, MS

Developmental Dentistry
Stanislaus Dyda, DDS
Bibhuti Mishra, PhD
Audrey Rakian, MS, DDS, PhD
Hamid Yazdi, DDS

Jessica L. Duncan, MS, RDH
Dana Paladino, MS, RDH

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In the 2022 issue of Salute

Salute is the official magazine for the alumni and friends of the School of Dentistry at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Read and share inspiring stories highlighting our dental alumni, faculty and students who are revolutionizing education, research, patient care and critical services in the communities they serve.

View the 2022 issue

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