Center for Dental Informatics

Contact: Titus Schleyer, DMD, PhD: For immediate release (06/20/2005)

Dental Informatics Fellow Receives CRSP Award

PITTSBURGH, June 20 - Thankam P. Thyvalikakath, B.D.S., M.D.S., Postdoctoral Fellow in dental informatics, has been awarded a K12 research grant from the University of Pittsburgh Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Scholars Program (CRSP).

Dr. Thyvalikakath just recently completed a Masters degree through an NLM/NIDCR-funded training program at the School of Dental Medicine's Center for Dental Informatics.

Dr. Titus Schleyer, Director of the Center for Dental Informatics, will lead her mentoring team which includes Dr. Gregory F. Cooper of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Biomedical Informatics and Dr. Asim Smailagic of CMU's Institute for Complex Engineered Systems.

Dr. Thyvalikakath will received $602,007 in funding for her project, "A Novel Human-Computer Interface For Dental Clinical Examinations". This project is a continuation of research done at the Center for Dental Informatics on Dr. Schleyer's project "Chairside Computer Use in Clinical Dentistry"(publication pending).

Dr. Thyvalikakath begins this 5 year project in July at the School of Dental Medicine's Center for Dental Informatics. The long-term goal of this research is to improve the human-computer interface in clinical dentistry. The project proposes to develop and evaluate an improved information design and user interface for dental clinical examinations. This research project combines methods from biomedical informatics and engineering to solve a clinical problem in a truly multidisciplinary fashion. Biomedical informatics contributes insights from cognitive science, information design and decision theory to this project, and engineering translates these concepts into a working system using human-computer interaction theory, ergonomics, industrial design and user-centered engineering. The approach of this proposal and the configuration of the mentor team directly reflect the multidisciplinary nature of the research problem and maximize the chances of a successful outcome.

This research project will have four important outcomes. First, it will produce a more efficient and effective human-computer interface for recording and viewing dental clinical examinations. Second, the new user interface paradigm we will develop can easily be extended and adapted to other tasks in dentistry, such as progress note entry. Third, the user interface innovations that our project will develop can be applied to other medical settings such as the operating room, which has infection control and task requirements similar to the dental operatory. Lastly, a long-term benefit of our research is that it provides a platform for many advanced clinical applications, such as decision support, teledentistry and evidence-based dentistry. Taken together, these benefits will significantly impact dental care and clinical research, and thus support the core goals of the CRSP and the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.

More details about the CRSP are at

More details about the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research are at