2023 NOF Hatton Awards to Samira Elmanfi, University of Turku, Finland and Anna Inari Mäkinen, University of Helsinki, Finland,

2023 NOF Hatton award winners are announced during the opening ceremony of the 2023 CEDIADR/NOF Oral Health Research Congress,which was held on the Rhodes island, Greece, during September 21-23. Two winners, Samira Elmanfi from University of Turku, Finland and Anna Inari Mäkinen, from University of Helsinki, Finland, will represent NOF in the 2024 IADR Hatton award competition, which will be held in conjunction with the IADR General Session&Exhibition, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, during March 13-16, 2024.


Anna Inari Mäkinen, DDS, is a doctoral researcher in the Doctoral Programme in Oral Sciences (FINDOS) at University of Helsinki. Her supervisors are Professor Emeritus Jukka H. Meurman and Professor Antti Mäkitie. She is about to defend her doctoral thesis titled “The salivary microbiome of oral cancer patients” in the spring of 2024. She also works as a dentist in Helsinki. In her research work, she studies the salivary microbial environment of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) patients before and after oral cancer treatment. By combining knowledge of the salivary mycobial and bacterial profiles of these patients, she hopes to contribute to the better understanding of the relationships between different microbes and their collective role in the oral environment of OSCC patients. The award winning presentation “Salivary bacteriome and mycobiome of oral cancer patients” is part of her doctoral thesis work.

Statement from Anna: I want to thank the NOF Hatton Award committee for choosing our project for the award! It is truly humbling and a great honour and privilege to receive this recognition. I am excited to represent NOF at the global IADR Hatton Award competition and to showcase our work in the IADR General Assembly in New Orleans in 2024!


Samira Elmanfi is a Libyan doctoral researcher at the Finnish Doctoral Programme in Oral Sciences (FINDOS) at University of Turku, under the supervisions of Professor Ulvi Gürsoy and Professor Emerita Eija Könönen. She is working on a project of bacterial signaling molecules as regulators of human cells̕ behavior. Her research project aims to understand how bacterial signaling molecules (Cyclic dinucleotides) can regulate the immune response to develop analogs of these molecules. Such regulation can inhibit bacterial signaling but positively control the immune response, which will be a big step in the era of antimicrobial resistance. Studying the effects of signaling molecules on the immune response of periodontal cells and identifying the underlying pathways will open a new approach and find an alternative way for treating infectious diseases in the oral cavity. In the IADR/NOF Hatton competition held at Rhodos- Greece 2023, she presented one of her PhD project studies, “STING/TBK1/IRF3 in human gingival keratinocytes in relation to bacterial cyclic dinucleotides.”

Samira’s statement: I would like to thank the IADR-NOF for giving me the opportunity to compete in the Hatton competition, and it was a pleasure to win the NOF Hatton Award 2023.  I look forward to presenting my research project and representing the NOF at the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) 2024 in New Orleans-USA. Special thanks and appreciation to my supervisors for their unlimited support, efforts, and guidance through my PhD journey.