The MinnCResT program is dedicated to providing innovative interdisciplinary training for the next generation of craniofacial, dental, and oral health researchers. MinnCResT fellows receive cross-disciplinary training in over 20 disciplines.
Current MinnCRest Fellows
Alisha Aagesen, PhD
Dr. Aagesen seeks to identify novel mechanisms of antibiotic tolerance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis to improve tuberculosis drug treatment. Her faculty mentor is Anna Tischler, PhD. Dr. Aagesen joined the MinnCResT Program in November 2016 after receiving a PhD from Oregon State University and a BA from the University of Minnesota, Morris.
Ms. Astleford joined the MinnCResT Program in August 2019. She is pursuing a DDS and PhD in Oral Biology. She has worked in the laboratory of Kim Mansky, PhD for 6 years,, studying osteoclast differentiation and function. She plans to continue research on osteoclasts focusing on transcriptional repressors known as histone deacetylases (HDACs).
Mr. Fischer joined the MinnCResT Program in May 2018. He is pursuing a DDS and PhD in Oral Biology in the laboratory of Conrado Aparicio, PhD, MSc Eng.
Rafi joined the MinnCResT Program in August 2011 as a DDS/PhD student. His research with faculty mentor Raj Gopalakrishnan, BDS, PhD focussed on the function and regulation of bone morphogenetic proteins on bone remodeling and homeostasis; he hopes to translate his research to ultimately improve clinical outcomes. He enjoys spending time with his wife and newborn daughter.
Sidney Kuo, PhD
Dr. Kuo's long-term goal is to understand how interactions among neurons, glia, and vasculature support brain function. His MinnCResT project, under the advisement of Eric Newman, uses fMRI as a key tool in understanding craniofacial pain. He earned his PhD at Oregon Health and Science University.
Dina Moussa, BChD, PhD
Dr. Moussa is an endodontist by training. She quickly became interested in transdisciplinary research work to solve problems requiring solutions beyond the scope of a single knowledge area. She is currently studying recurrent caries from the perspectives of biomaterials, microbiology, metagenomics, bioimaging, and biomechanics with the ultimate aim of increasing the longevity of bonded aesthetic restorations. Dr. Moussa and her co-researchers have succeeded in developing a NIH funded new technology to enhance the service life of aesthetic restorations and have filed a patent at the University of Minnesota. Dina enjoys travelling, pondering nature, playing tennis, and spending time with her family.
Dan Salamango, PhD
Dr. Salamango trains in the laboratory of Reuben Harris, PhD. His research aims to elucidate the mechanism of HPV-induced mutagenesis in head and neck cancer. He joined the MinnCResT Program in June 2016 after earning a PhD at the University of Missouri.
J. Michael Stolley, PhD
Dr. Stolley joined the MinnCResT Program in July 2018. Working with David Masopust, PhD, Dr. Stolley's research explores immune cells and their role in perpetuating antiviral immunity in the oral mucosa. He received his PhD at the University of Washington.
Ms. Willkomm joined the MinnCResT Program in August 2019. She is pursuing a DDS and PhD in Oral Biology. She earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Wisconsin, Parkside and is a licensed dental hygienist.