Many of the members of the Academy of Laser Dentistry (ALD) submerge themselves in the dynamics of laser dentistry on a day-by-day basis. They put in long days at the office serving their patients, and in their "free time" dedicate themselves in even deeper ways. They spend time in research, developing new treatment techniques, write journal articles, teach at seminars, mentor colleagues, and spend countless hours volunteering on Academy committees. They do this without the thought of being given an award.
The ALD has three awards to celebrate the hard work of its members:
Because of the level of sacrifice our members are committed to, they understand the criteria required when nominating another member for one of these prestigious awards. Their nominees are above the standard and show such dedication and passion. Not every award is given each year.
In 2019, ALD honors the following recipients: Dr. Nuran Çulcuoglu received the Leon Goldman Award for Clinical Excellence; Dr. Juliana Barros and Dr. Shelly Patel both received the T.H. Maiman Award for Excellence in Dental Laser Research; Dr. Walid Altayeb received John G. Sulewski Distinguished Service Award.
About Dr. Nuran Çulcuoglu
Dr. Çulcuoglu graduated from Ankara University Dental Faculty in 1977. She conducted research on denial originated focal infections in the early 1980s. She achieved ALD’s Standard Proficiency certification in1994 and Advanced Proficiency in1996. Dr. Çulcuoglu completed her MSc program at Genoa University in November 2014. She is practicing as a general dentist in Istanbul. Dr. Çulcuoglu is a long-time ALD member and has attended just about every Academy of Laser Dentistry annual session for 25 years.
About this honor from Dr. Çulcuoglu
Since my childhood, I always wanted to be a scientist and do something for humanity. People are created beautifully and so, whether primitive or advanced, poor or rich, everyone deserves the best treatment especially about health. Continuing my work in accordance with this principle, I found laser dentistry. When I learned the capabilities of lasers, I felt like none of the treatments that I had been performing on my patients was sufficient. Finally, in 1990, I joined a laser course in Birmingham, Michigan. Following the course, I purchased a dLase 300 Nd:YAG dental laser and started incorporating laser treatments for my patients. In 1991, at the International Academy of Laser Dentistry meeting in Geneva, Professor Arthur Dugoni, who was the dean of the San Francisco University School of Dentistry, said, “These years are the golden age of dentistry! Implant treatment is very important to progress in dentistry, but laser treatment is a revolution because our patients can continue to use their own teeth.” That speech widened my horizon further and in time I observed this result in my own treatments. Today I continue to follow the progress of lasers closely. In light of high scientific technology, receiving this award for the clinical success I had due to my responsibility and respect toward my patients and their trust in me is a great honor.
I wish to express my thanks to the Awards Committee for honoring me with the Leon Goldman Award for Clinical Excellence.
About Dr. Juliana Barros
Dr. Barros is an Associate Professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry and Prosthodontics at The University of Texas School of Dentistry (UTSD) at Houston. She earned her DDS from the University of Uberaba, Brazil, in 1995. She has postgraduate training in Restorative Dentistry from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. In addition, she earned a master’s degree in Laser Dentistry from the Nuclear and Energy Research Institute and University of São Paulo, Brazil. Recognizing great opportunities to advance knowledge and treatment in laser dentistry, she became the Director of Dental Laser Studies and designed a didactic and laboratory-based teaching curriculum for laser education at the UTSD at Houston. She also collaborated with UTSD’s Endodontics Department where she studied the effect of low-level laser irradiation on the migration and proliferation of dental follicle progenitor cells. She is also worked with UTSD’s Orthodontics Department in investigating the effects of low-level laser irradiation on bone regeneration and healing. Dr. Barros is currently collaborating with the Department of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences and Baylor College of Medicine Sjögren’s Syndrome Clinic in studying the effectiveness of photobiomodulation on xerostomia and sensory alterations. Dr. Barros lectures and conducts research in the fields of restorative dentistry, biomaterials, and hard/soft tissue laser applications. She developed the laser dentistry curriculum at the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHealth) School of Dentistry at Houston and is the acting director of the laser clinic. Dr. Barros is a member of the Academy of Laser Dentistry’s University and Academia Relations Committee, American Dental Education Association, Academy of Operative Dentistry, International Association for Dental Research, and Consortium of Operative Dentistry Educators.
About this Honor for Dr. Barros
I am deeply honored and humbled to receive the T.H. Maiman award. To be recognized by my peers for laser dentistry research and teaching is very special. Many years ago, when I first learned about lasers in the Special Laboratory of Lasers in Dentistry (LELO) in San Paolo, Brazil, I was completely amazed and intrigued. That experience inspired me to pursue a master's degree in laser dentistry. Years later, as a faculty at the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston, I was determined to share my laser knowledge with my colleagues and students. This laser adventure started more than 10 years ago and has resulted in many CE courses, clinical teaching, and research. I could not have achieved all of this without my dear friend Dr. Patel and wonderful mentors, Drs. Hoopingarner, Bouquot, Streckfus, Eduardo, and Zezell.
I wish to express my thanks to the Awards Committee for honoring me with the T. H. Maiman Award for Excellence in Dental Laser Research.
About Dr. Patel
Dr. Patel is an associate professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry and Prosthodontics at the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. She received her Doctor of Dental Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School in 2001. As the Director of Clinical Simulation, Dr. Patel is involved in simulation teaching, curriculum development, and research. She also designed the didactic, lab and clinic-based teaching curriculum in laser education at UTSD. She has served as the principal investigator/collaborator in several research projects in the field of caries diagnosis/management, laser dentistry, simulation, and advances in teaching and learning. These efforts have led to numerous scholarly publications, a textbook chapter, and a number of presentations at both state and national levels. In 2012 and 2015, Dr. Patel was recognized with the Dean’s Teaching Excellence Awards for “Innovation in Teaching” and the “Scholarship of Teaching,” respectively. She was the 2014 winner of the John H. Freeman Award for Faculty Teaching, as well. To serve her institution and the field of dental education, Dr. Patel is currently pursuing a master’s degree in education in Curriculum and Instruction.
About this honor from Dr. Patel
My desire to learn and discover knowledge in the field of laser dentistry has motivated me to initiate, collaborate and pursue a scholarly investigation. As a result, I have discovered clinical avenues in dentistry that I did not dare to explore previously. I have studied the effects of photobiomodulation on tissue engineering and wound healing. I have provided palliative treatment options to patients with chronic xerostomia and facial pain. I have helped design surgical protocols for a laser-focused biopsy service. I have designed a robust laser curriculum and mentored countless dental students and practicing dentists in pursuit of their knowledge in laser dentistry, and somehow in the process, I have grown and learned the most. To me, this award acknowledges the spirit of collaboration, persistence, and advancement. Without my collaboration with my dear friend and colleague, Dr. Barros, and many other mentors such as Drs. Hoopingarner, Bouquot, and Streckfus, I would have never advanced in learning about lasers nor contributed in implementing a robust dental laser program at my institution, against all odds.
I wish to express my thanks to the Awards Committee for honoring me with the T.H. Maiman Award for Excellence in Dental Laser Research.
About Dr. Altayeb
Dr. Altayeb received his dental degree from the Faculty of Dentistry, Damascus University, in 1998 and completed his Master of Science in Periodontics in 2004 and Doctorate of Philosophy in Periodontics in 2007. He had been working as a clinical supervisor in the Department of Periodontics, Damascus University, Syria. Dr. Altayeb achieved an advanced level of knowledge in the application of lasers in dental science and patient treatment (Advanced Proficiency certificates from the Academy of Laser Dentistry in 980-nm diode and Er:YAG lasers). He has Mastership in the Academy of Laser Dentistry, is a member of the ALD Board of Directors and Speakers Bureau, Chair of the ALD International Relations Committee, and Founder and Chair of the ALD Gulf Laser Chapter. He is the founder of the laser section in the British Academy of Implant and Restorative Dentistry (BAIRD) and the founder of the Professional Diploma in Advanced Laser Dentistry of BAIRD. Dr. Altayeb conducts “Pink Aesthetics & Laser Dentistry” courses with the British Academy of Implant and Restorative Dentistry in Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and UAE. He has participated in many conferences in the Middle East and USA as a speaker in the fields of periodontal medicine and laser dentistry. He is working in private practice as a periodontist and implantologist in the Tamim Dental Polyclinic, Doha, Qatar, The British Lasik and Cosmetic Surgery Center, Dubai, UAE, and the Masters Dental and Aesthetic Center, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
About this honor from Dr. Altayeb
I am deeply honored to receive such an important award and to join past recipients who I have long admired and respected. I have experienced great support and love from my friends who embraced me from the first day of joining the ALD. I joined ALD in 2011 and attended my first ALD Conference in 2012 in Arizona. An enormous salute goes to John Sulewski. John’s distinguished work and professionalism inspire me to give my maximum to our family in ALD. From the moment I joined ALD, I knew it is the organization where I belong. Laser dentistry added many advantages to my career. Laser dentistry has allowed me to improve my skill and treatments results, and enhance my patient’s convenience and comfort. Laser dentistry gives me the chance to meet friends and colleagues from around the world and share with them the knowledge and the good times. Earning this award would not have been possible without the inspiration I have received from my friends and colleagues, for whom I have the deepest respect, and from whom I have derived the strength to challenge myself and perform better at each stage. So this award is not about me, but it’s about each of you as ALD leaders, speakers, and members. I look forward to successfully completing my mission in ALD and spread its values internationally. I promise to make all efforts to bring energy, passion, and optimism to the ALD. Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is a success. Thank you! I wish to express my thanks to the Awards Committee for honoring me with the John G. Sulewski Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Commitment and Contributions to the Academy of Laser Dentistry