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Summer Program Prepares Future Scientists

Written by Adam Zewe

Instead of packing swimsuits and heading to the beach, a group of dedicated students spent their summer vacations conducting delicate experiments in School of Dentistry laboratories. The 12 students participated in the Summer Research Training Program, working alongside UMSOD investigators to gain hands-on research experience.

The program pairs each participant with a faculty research mentor who studies that student's area of interest. During the eight-week program, students become immersed in laboratory culture while attending seminars on ethics, scientific writing and laboratory safety. They gather additional resources at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Career Day, where they learn about research careers from a panel of distinguished scientists.

"The experiential learning that takes place is an integral part of this hands-on program intended to cultivate critical thinking among our current and future students. In fact, the program has been instrumental in building our dual degree programs by identifying and involving students early in their DDS training who have additional career interests in research and dental public health," remarks Dr. Sharon Gordon, director of graduate research education and training.

At the conclusion of the program, students present research posters and compete for the opportunity to represent the school at several national dental meetings.

The program helped incoming dental student Robert Amatuli become familiar with the laboratory environment at UMSOD. He spent the summer working with Assistant Professor John Basile, DDS, DMSc, on a study related to blood vessel growth in tumors. "The biggest lesson I learned this summer is that this kind of research takes time. I definitely developed more patience," he states.

Daniela Loebl, who is about to begin her first year at UMSOD, studied the effect prolonged pain has on the resting state of brain networks, working with Assistant Professor David Seminowicz, PhD. Even though the eight-week program flew by, she found it rewarding to see the results of her hard work. "It was definitely a good way to get involved with the dental community early. The program helped me hone in on my people skills," says Loebl.

Award Winners

Steven Feldman will represent UMSOD in the International Association of Student Clinicians competition at the American Dental Association annual meeting

Robert Yu will represent UMSOD at the Hinman Student Research Symposium

Daniela Loebl will represent UMSOD at the Dental Students' Conference on Research

Danielle Waranch will attend the NIDCR-sponsored student research session at the American Association of Dental Research conference

Devon Allison won the Dr. Donald Emerson Shay Graduate Award

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