HKU Faculty of Dentistry Bulletin
Awards & Achievements
Faculty Outstanding Teaching Award 2019

Dr Prasanna Neelakantan, Clinical Assistant Professor in Endodontics was awarded with the Faculty Outstanding Teaching Award 2019, which acknowledges his contributions and excellence in teaching at the Faculty.

"If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." With this philosophy in mind, Dr Prasanna has never been a believer of spoon feeding or limiting the knowledge-thirst of his students. Instead, he believes a true teacher should mould the life of students positively with a broader perspective.

Dr Prasanna is a Doctor "Why" as he persists in asking his students to constantly raise questions to understand why they do the things that they do. He stressed, "I strive to foster a critical thinking process rather than just want my students to absorb or memorise information!". But he also enjoys being questioned by students. "A student who argues with us on a plan is likely to remember the lesson learnt, for life, then one who passively said yes to anything we want him/her to do," he explained.

So what makes a good teacher? Most people would give a list. For Dr Prasanna, it's mentorship. In his second year of undergraduate course, he had one of the most fabulous teachers, Professor Kavitha Sanjeev, who inspired him to pursue a career in conservative dentistry and endodontics. Then in his postgraduate programme, he met Professor Subbarao who trusted in his students and created an immensely positive learning environment. Being a mentee in the past, Dr Prasanna learned from his mentors, and today, he is a very passionate teacher and firmly believes that teaching should be active and student-centred. In addition, he always aspired to create a highly positive and optimistic learning environment for his students. “Being firm, yet kind, has helped me mould myself into a good teacher,” he said.

He aspired that at least one of his students will become a teacher and the student would credit him for his/her passion in teaching. "It is a simple aspiration indeed - but teachers have simple aspiration - their students must be the best!" said Dr Prasanna.

We wish his students will be the best in the future, but right now, in students' eyes, Dr Prasanna is the best. Here's what some of the students said about him:

BDS 3 Helena Lee: Dr Prasanna is a seemingly harsh mentor on the outside, but someone who truly wishes for your best and does everything to support you. I not only learn dentistry from him, but also discipline and loyalty.

BDS 4 Florence Lau: He integrates his passion for Endodontics seamlessly together with his love for teaching. He is always available to his students and being immensely patient with us......

BDS 5 Jasper Leung: He is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher. He has high standard on his teaching and high hopes for his students. He has made me believe that I can do better in endodontics through persistence and practice

BDS 6 Nicolas Sung: He teaches with innovation and passion. He enjoys helping students to understand dentistry in a lively manner and often challenges students to apply critical thinking to clinical problems......

To view all the comments, please visit: http://videos.facdent.hku.hk/eCards/20200216_Dr_Prasanna.mp4

Winning an award related to teaching has always been the pinnacle for Dr Prasanna, regardless of the number of hats he wore, as a dentist, a researcher etc., "my primary role is to teach," he concluded.

Each year, the Faculty will present the Faculty Outstanding Teaching Award to one staff who have made a major contribution in advancing teaching and learning of the Faculty by maintaining an exceptional record of sustained teaching and learning activity within the last five years in undergraduate and/or postgraduate education. The winner of the Award will receive a Teaching and Learning Support Grant which may be used by the individual to further his/her teaching and learning activities and/or professional development. All current academic staff members who have had a continuing or fixed term appointment on a full time or fractional (0.5 or greater) basis at the University for at least two years are eligible to apply.

Dr Prasanna Neelakantan is one of the most beloved teachers among students
Academic Staff will receive IADR Centennial Emerging Leaders Award

Dr Waruna L Dissanayaka, Research Assistant Professor in Biomedical and Tissue Engineering, was selected as the recipient of the 2020 The International Association for Dental Research (IADR) Centennial Emerging Leaders Award which will be presented to him at the Opening Ceremonies of the IADR General Session & Exhibition in Washington, D.C., on 18 March 2020.

The Centennial Emerging Leaders Award is a prestigious inaugural award that has been introduced to celebrate the 100th anniversary of IADR. It recognises the achievements of Dr Dissanayaka in the advancement of dental, oral and craniofacial research.

He was delighted to receive this good news. "It feels good to have your work and dedication recognised by a prominent organization like IADR. This prestigious award acknowledged all my achievements in dental research and potential contributions to IADR as a member and a researcher. I believe it is an endorsement to the quality and significance of my research work and of course, a real boost to keep going as well," said Dr Dissanayaka.

He would like to share his happiness and honor to his mentors and collaborators for the support and guidance. He is grateful to Professor Zhang, Chengfei, Clinical Professor in Endodontics and Professor Matinlinna, Jukka Pekka, Professor in Dental Materials Science who have been encouraging him and recommended him to IADR.

Dr Dissanayaka will share more about his experience and feelings after being awarded on stage in March! We wish him a remarkable visit in Washington!

More information on IADR, please visit: https://www.iadr.org/2020iags

Dr Waruna Dissanayaka is honoured to win the 2020 IADR Centennial Emerging Leaders Award
"Call for smile" received Service Learning Fund

With the community engagement project titled "Call for Smile", a team of 3 BDS students from the Faculty of Dentistry has been successful in receiving funding from Yang Tuck Ming & Wong Fung Ying Service Learning Fund. Mentored by Dr Prasanna Neelakantan, Clinical Assistant Professor in Endodontics, this programme is being Co-organised with the non-profit organisation, Hope World Wide.

The project will launch in the academic year of 19/20. 10-15 HKU Dental student volunteers will organise events to work with elders and the staff at an elderly day-care centre in Cheung Sha Wan and Tsuen Wan. They will focus on different services to educate, their caretakers and healthcare providers about common dental misconceptions; provide oral examinations and fluoride treatments to arrest the caries progression, as well as to provide customised oral hygiene instructions and perform scaling for the elderlies.

In view of the ageing population in Hong Kong and the increasing poverty rate, the students initiated the Project to provide dental service to those elders who are the most financially vulnerable in 2018. After engaging the community, they realised that there is lack of dental service supply for elderlies and due to their difficulty in mobility, they are discouraged from visiting dentists; hence, the students were looking forward to upscale their services to this much-need section of the society. Their effort paid off as they were granted with the fund.

The team members are Lee Johyun, Helena (BDS 3); Hung Fan Tsun, Francis (BDS 4); and Mak Chung Man (BDS 6).

To learn more about the Yang Tuck Ming & Wong Fung Ying Service Learning Fund, please visit: https://wp2.cedars.hku.hk/sd/2019/07/15/yang-tuck-ming-wong-fung-ying-service-learning-fund/

The students look forward to providing oral health care service to elderlies
Faculty News
Obituary - Professor Stephen Hon Yin WEI (1937-2020)

It is with deep sadness that we mourn the passing away of former Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry, Professor Stephen Wei on 27 January 2020 at the age of 82 in Redwood City, California due to illness. We honour the memory of Professor Wei and his many and varied contributions to Faculty development and dental education.

Professor Wei was Professor and Chair of Paediatric Dentistry. He held the Chair Professorship of the Department of Children’s Dentistry and Orthodontics from 1984-1997 and was also the Head of the Department from 1984-1993. He served as Dean, Faculty of Dentistry from 1989-1997 and was concurrently the Director of the Prince Philip Dental Hospital for the same period. Professor Wei was honoured with the title of Emeritus Professor in the Faculty upon his retirement in 1998.

Professor Wei has contributed greatly to the field of Dentistry and to higher education both in Hong Kong and overseas. Over the past decades, he held various leading positions including those of President of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), the President of SE Asian Division of IADR, the Chairman of the Council on Dental Research of the American Dental Association, Editor Emeritus and the founding Editor-in-Chief of Paediatric Dentistry and of The Journal of the American Academy of Paediatric Dentistry. Professor Wei has published extensively during his appointment in the Faculty, including over 56 chapters in books and monographs and more than 165 research and clinical papers and 140 abstracts. Furthermore, Professor Wei was an excellent and dedicated teacher who had provided clinical training and research supervision for more than 40 MDS and PhD students in the US and Hong Kong.

We hold fond memory of Professor Wei both as a person and for his contributions to the Faculty, the University, and the higher education field. We extend our deepest condolences to Professor Wei's family.

His memorial service was held at 10 am, Pacifica Chapel of Skylawn Memorial Park, California, USA on 7 February 2020.

Overseas Exchange

Professor Gary Cheung, Clinical Professor in Endodontics, Dr Mike Leung, Clinical Associate Professor in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Dr Prasanna Neelakantan, Clinical Assistant Professor in Endodontics and Dr Alfred Lau, Honorary Clinical Associate Professor in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, are now at the UAE International Dental Conference & Arab Dental Exhibition – (AEEDC Dubai).

Dr Mike Leung and Dr Alfred Lau are at AEEDC Dubai World Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Conference 2020 from 3 to 4 February, while Professor Gary Cheung and Dr Prasanna Neelakantan will deliver their keynote lectures at an advanced endodontics symposium on 4 & 5 February.

(From Left) Dr Mike Leung, Dr Prasanna Neelakantan, Professor Gary Cheung and Dr Alfred Lau at the AEEDC

Dr Mike Leung (left) and Dr Alfred Lau at AEEDC Dubai World Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Conference 2020 from 3 to 4 February

Dr Mike Leung is giving his presentation

Dr Prasanna Neelakantan is delivering his keynote lecture

(From left) Dr Prasanna Neelakantan, Professor Gary Cheung and Professors from Lebanese University

To learn more about AEEDC, please visit: http://aeedc.com/

Video filming for MOOC course

In order to prepare for the MOOC course video materials, HKU TeLi team had worked with the Faculty in filming the footage.

Professor Matinlinna, Jukka Pekka, Professor in Dental Materials Science, Dr James Tsoi, Assistant Professor in Dental Materials Science, Mr Ding Hao, PhD candidate in Dental Materials Science were all standing in front of the green background for the edX, Digital Biomaterials video shooting on 21 January.

On 22 January, Dr Walter Lam, Clinical Assistant Professor in Prosthodontics, did the filming on "CAD/CAM Dentistry and the creation of virtual patient model".

And Dr Yuki Chan, Research Assistant Professor in Infection and Immunity, delivered the topic of big data in saliva on 23 January in front of the camera.

The MOOC videos are now in the progress of post-production and they are expected to roll out in March, so stay tuned and don't miss out!

Professor Matinlinna, Jukka Pekka (middle), Dr James Tsoi (right) and Mr Ding Hao in front of the green background

Dr Yuki Chan talks about big data in saliva

Dr Walter Lam is not camera-shy and speaks the script smoothly
TPG Admissions Online Application

HKU taught postgraduate programmes admissions are now open for online application. The Faculty of Dentistry offers Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) Degrees and professional Advanced Diplomas which build on the MDS Degrees. Many of these programmes fulfil the specialist training requirements of dental specialties of the College of Dental Surgeons of Hong Kong of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine.

Professor Cynthia Yiu, Associate Dean (Taught Postgraduate Education), said "Our professoriate and teaching staff are international both by origin and academic background, many of whom are highly recognized experts in their domain in the world. We also have highly-skilled dedicated manpower to assist learning."

Students can enjoy first-class teaching and learning facilities. Our upcoming state-of-the-art specialist dental clinic "The Institute for Advanced Dentistry-Multi-Specialty Clinic" will be opened for patient treatment by clinical Taught Postgraduate Students at year end.

To know more about the TPG and the admissions, please visit: https://aal.hku.hk/tpg/faculty/faculty-dentistry

Media Highlights

Summary of Media Highlights from 15 January to 15 February 2020:

Column on AM730

Date Topic Contributor
22 January 節日的牙齒護理
(Oral care during festivals)
Professor Chu, CH, Clinical Professor in Family Dentistry
5 February 牙周病碩士課程獲國際認可
(EFP acknowledges MDS in periodontology)
Team from Periodontics Dentistry

Column on Oriental Daily 「齒」生有你 : Due to the extensive media coverage on coronavirus, some pages were suspended, including the one with column. Publish date thus will be postponed until further notice.

Other Media Coverage

Date Media and Topic Interviewee
22 January 2020 Sing Tao Daily: 港大牙周病碩士課程獲 EFP認證
(EFP gives accreditation to Periodontology Postgraduate Programme)
Team from Periodontics Dentistry

To view the media coverage, please visit: http://facdent.hku.hk/news-and-events/media-coverage.html

Continuing Dental Education (CDE) Seminar
Concepts in Third Molar Surgery Revisited
Lecturers: Dr. Mike Leung
Date: TBA
Time: TBA
Venue: Lecture Theatre I, G/F
The Prince Philip Dental Hospital
34 Hospital Road
Sai Ying Pun
Hong Kong
For details & registration, please visit http://facdent.hku.hk/docs/2019/Flyer%20(CDE%20Seminars%202019-2020).pdf
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