In recent years, faculty at the UCLA School of Dentistry have been expanding the traditional boundaries of dentistry through groundbreaking multidisciplinary research that has led to major advances in everything from stem cell science to saliva diagnostics.
Now, a $5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research will allow the school to continue these pioneering efforts by creating a comprehensive research training program to help cultivate the next generation of dentist-scientists and oral health researchers.
The grant - now in its fourth cycle and third renewal since 1997 - establishes a pipeline that transforms dentists into leaders in science and research who will advance the oral health field and the dental profession. And while prior grant cycles allowed only U.S. citizens and permanent residents to participate in the training programs, the new five-year grant for the first time enables foreign dentists to benefit from the NIH funds.
"This grant renewal is exciting because it allows us to open up the trainee positions to an international pool of dentists," said Dr. David Wong, the school's associate dean of research and the Felix and Mildred Yip Endowed Professor in the division of oral biology and medicine. "This grant echoes the overall culture and environment of the UCLA School of Dentistry, as we are known throughout the world as a leader in academic excellence, and many talented foreign dentists come here to obtain a Ph.D. or do postdoctoral training."