When asked why he is so interested in research, Hooman gives a simple explanation; he likes to have diversity in his education. Hooman frequently challenges his learning by totally changing his research direction upon completion of a current project. Research gives him an outlet to pursue topics of interest, learn new things, and look at his profession in a new light. By pursuing research Hooman is able to animate the concept of evidence-based dentistry; giving support and new information to his 10-year long clinical practices. Currently Hooman works in two different research labs, Dr. Stansbury’s lab and Dr. Clothier’s lab. For research day, this year, Hooman highlighted his work with the Stansbury lab, where he is focused on super absorbent Nanogel materials that he hopes will someday function as an alternative to the cotton roll.
Why are Nanogels worth looking into? The answer lies simply in the everyday dilemma a dentist has when trying to isolate the tooth they are restoring. “Everyone feels a need for better isolation when they are working in clinic,” says Hooman. “Water and saliva are the limiting factor in so many treatments, especially when you are using composite. Isolation is essential for dental materials to function as they should, and cotton rolls with suction do not always provide enough protection from moisture.” Hooman and Dr. Stansbury are also looking at ways this Nanogel material could someday be incorporated around a rubber dam, making isolation an even more easily achievable goal.
Hooman’s interest in research started many years ago while pursuing his BDS in Iran. Hooman practiced for 10 years in Iran, and never lost interest in reading new articles, exploring new ideas, and building his knowledge in evidence based dentistry. It’s tough to balance, and when asked how he does it, Hooman laughs a little and says that some people think he is stretched too thin. But then he shrugs at the question, “We have 24 hours in a day, and we just need 8 of these for personal needs.” Hooman breathes a little, and thinks about this, “The rest of that is for studying, working out, and doing research. I am quite organized hour by hour.” And this thought, this dedication is exemplified in all that Hooman does. From the Dental Student Scientific community he founded in Iran, that now has over 500 student and faculty members, to the number of hours he logs looking at Nanogels, research is the foundation of the dentist Hooman is and the one he hopes to become.
Hooman is in the first stages of his current research, but there is talk about future publications. Before submitting their work to a journal, Hooman and Dr. Stansbury want to look further into things like acidic changes in the material, and the effect a longer PEGDMA monomer will have on absorption. Hooman captures the essence of where he is at with his research, and perhaps the way all research is, when he says, “Right now we are looking at our first cell, and what we are aiming for is a human being. This takes time.” With a little time, though, there is not a doubt that we will see more from Hooman, and when that time comes we will see the benefits of his research in all of our practices.
Hooman would like to give a big thank you to everyone in the Stansbury lab; specifically he would like to thank Dr. Stansbury and Steven Lewis.