Dental Research Experience (D-REX) Program for high school students, undergraduate students, and high school science teachers

The Dental Research Experience (D-REX) of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) is supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). D-REX is a full-time, intensive, hands-on summer research program addressing the unmet need of building a strong and diverse workforce in dental health care, dental and craniofacial health research and education. This workforce is critical for improving oral health and reducing oral health disparities. D-REX will recruit high school and undergraduate students and science teachers strongly interested in biomedical science to experience a 9-week one-on-one mentored research in the laboratories of UMSOD. The goals of D-REX are to foster career interest in the field of unmet need and to promote awareness of dental, oral, and craniofacial research among trainees with diverse backgrounds.

D-REX Program Directors

Hening Ren, PhD   
Assistant Professor
Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences
University of Maryland School of Dentistry

Norbert Myslinski, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Neural and Pain Sciences
University of Maryland School of Dentistry

  • Program research and activities will be hosted by the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) campus in Baltimore City, Maryland.
  • The UMB campus has a rich and diverse environment in fostering the participation of underrepresented minorities (URM) in biomedical science careers. The UMSOD is a diverse, inclusive and intellectually stimulating place to nurture and motivate students in pursuing career in oral health care and dental, oral, and craniofacial research, and to disseminate oral health science through the participation of high school teachers.
  • Participants will commute to UMB campus using their own transportations, public transportation, or utilizing the three free UMB shuttle services operating in Baltimore city. D-REX program does NOT provide or arrange transportation.
  • High School Students (Junior and senior at the time of the application) enrolled in Maryland public high schools who have strong interests in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). Minimum GPA of 3.2 (cumulative) with preference for strong STEM GPA of 3.5 or greater preferred.
  • Undergraduate students (freshman, sophomore, and junior at the time of the application) enrolled in colleges in Maryland who majors in STEM. Minimum GPA of 3.2 (cumulative) with preference for strong science performance. GPA of 3.5 or greater preferred.
  • High school science teachers came from underrepresented minority (URM) groups or teaches at primarily URM high schools will be recruited based on recommendations from the school districts, and program collaborators.
  • Participation of individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those from groups underrepresented in the oral health sciences is strongly encouraged.
Selection Criteria
  • Satisfactory grade-point average, and performance in science courses;
  • Demonstrated strong interest in scientific research and academic career; including prior research experience;
  • High school science teacher will be recruited based on their demonstrated dedication to STEM education in public schools and their desire to bring innovation in STEM teaching.
Time and Duration
  • Up to nine weeks full-time (at least 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week) in the summer after the end of spring semester and before the start of fall semester.
  • Students are expected to spend 80% of their committed time to conducting the approved research project and 20% of their time to participating in research education and development activities.
  • For summer 2024, the program begins on June 3 (Section I) or June 17 (Section II) and ends on August 2.  (Tentative time)
D-REX mentors

UMSOD faculty from clinical and basic science departments with active research projects will serve as D-REX mentors. Many of the mentors also have interdisciplinary research project and collaborative project within UMSOD and across UM campus.

Research programs and mentors can be found here.

  • Participants eligible to work in the US will receive stipend for the time they spend in the program.
  • Student participants will receive stipend up to $5,400.
  • Science teacher will receive up to $12,600 stipend for the 9-week period.
How to apply

Applications for the 2023 D-REX program are open. To apply, complete the Application for Summer Research Program, attach your letter of interest and academic transcript. Applicant should also arrange to have two letters of recommendation from their teachers, advisors or superiors submitted to Hening Ren at All files submitted should be in Word or PDF format and start with applicants' last name