What is your research focus? In summary, what did you present at the conference.
Craniofacial biology, more specifically, mandibular development and the pathways that regulate it. My project was entitled “The role of Ece1 in zebrafish craniofacial development”.
How would you describe your experience at the IADR/AADR conference?
Overall, wonderful! I was so impressed by the number of researchers, dentists, and dental students in attendance. The Craniofacial Biology Research Group Award competition was a unique experience in that it was both slightly unnerving and exciting. There was an amazing display of the research currently being done in the many, many different fields that encompass dentistry. This meeting was not only the annual meeting of the American Association for Dental Research but also the International Association of Dental Research’s General Session, therefore there were attendees from all over the world.
Many students are curious how they too can get involved in research. How did you approach it, and what advice would you give to those interested in doing research as a dental student?
We are so fortunate to have a program whose faculty is so involved in amazing research. Although I had had some research experience in undergrad, I was really interested in biological-based research and craniofacial development. My first year, first semester, the faculty involved in research hosted a brief meeting discussing what their labs were currently concentrating on. Dr. David Clouthier’s lab focus immediately peaked my interest and I went to speak with him afterward. He spoke with me about the potential time commitment and the projects being worked on. I would be lying to you if I didn’t say that research while in dental school is difficult. But, the more effort placed, the more rewarding the experience. If you are interested in something, the chances are large that there is faculty researching that very topic. Go and talk to the faculty researcher! They are all approachable and wonderful!
Is there anyone you would like to personally thank in the newsletter?
Dr. David Clouthier, my faculty mentor, and Dr. Jennifer Iklé, my preceptor. Dr. Clouthier has always been available to meet and talk with me, patient with instruction and explanation of the many steps of my project, and fully supportive at all times. Dr. Iklé was instrumental in completing my project and when I got stuck or needed assistance, she saved me every time. There is absolutely no way I would have done as well without their help and encouragement. They both went above and beyond what was necessary and I am so appreciative of all that they did for me.