Snowball, the project to teach research skills to our students in Medicine and Dentistry

The Snowball Project (IDOC 23-02) emerged as a teaching and research project to gradually train our undergraduate students in Medicine and Dentistry in basic research skills, such as scientific writing, data collection, critical and statistical analysis, as well as to boost their teamwork, leadership and scientific communication skills. Led by Professors Luis D’Marco and Ana Checa, from the Department of Medicine & Surgery, and supported by the Research Vicerrectorate at CEU Cardenal Herrera University, this project currently includes thirteen undergraduate students from different academic years in both disciplines. The purpose of this project is that the two professors directly train the most senior students in their research and leadership skills, enabling them to later supervise and teach their junior colleagues; the process will repeat gradually as the senior students finish their degrees and new generations of students progressively join the project. With this project, both professors expect to inspire our students’ interest in the research aspects related to their future clinical practice.

The first fruit of this project is a manuscript published on TouchEndocrinology today, and drafted by the 4th-year student in Dentistry Wei-Chung Hsueh. The manuscript, entitled Obesity and Oral Health: The Link Between Adipokines and Periodontitis, emphasises the bidirectional relationship between metabolic diseases (diabetes mellitus, obesity) and oral health. Patients with periodontal inflammation (periodontitis) tend to be at a higher risk of suffering chronic systemic diseases, whereas those patients with obesity or diabetes mellitus suffer periodontal diseases more often than healthy patients. The manuscript delves into this interaction, highlighting that alterations in the levels of specific proteins called adipokines, which are produced by the adipose tissue and may provoke an imbalance between pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory actions, seem to be the key to this interaction.

Inflammatory molecular mechanisms of adipokines contributing to periodontitis. Extracted from: Ana Checa-Ros, Wei-Chung Hsueh, Belén Merck, Henry González-Torres, Valmore Bermúdez, Luis D’Marco. Obesity and Oral Health. touchREVIEWS in Endocrinology. 2024;20(1):Online ahead of journal publication


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