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Comprehensive Training Program in Oral Biology

In response to a request from the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research to provide Institutional Training for a Dental and Craniofacial Workforce, the University of Florida College of Dentistry has developed a Comprehensive Training Program in Oral Biology. The program builds on twenty years of successful training of basic and clinician scientists in oral health research.

Using the extensive educational, scientific and clinical resources at the University, a comprehensive series of pre and postdoctoral training opportunities in research areas is provided, directly related to oral health and diseases. These programs produce highly skilled and interactive scientists who are prepared to generate new knowledge and translate their discoveries to advances in the detection, prevention, treatment and cure of diseases and abnormalities of the oral and craniofacial complex.

Programs of Study

The scientific areas encompassed in this Comprehensive Training Program in Oral Biology include: Oral Infectious Diseases, Oral:Systemic Health Connections, Autoimmunity, Bone Biology, Gene Therapy and Stem Cell Biology, Oral Cancers, Salivary Gland Biology, and Pain. A team of experienced and well-funded basic and clinical researchers has been assembled to provide an extensive set of training experiences in the biomedical sciences, directly relevant to oral health and diseases.

Established and time-tested interdisciplinary research training programs in the UF College of Dentistry and Medicine are utilized with particular emphasis on the Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences, and the CTSA supported Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

There are multiple training opportunities for traditional PhD students conducting oral health-related research, dual-degree candidates in our newly-developed DMD-PhD program, DMD/DDS holders seeking a PhD and certification in a clinical specialty, traditional post-doctoral PhD scientists, and DMD-DDS holders seeking advanced post-doctoral training to prepare them for careers in academic dentistry. Formal training in Clinical Investigation is available to all individuals supported by the program.

Program Administration

Program Director

Dr. Robert Burne

Associate Director

Dr. Jeannine Brady


Internal Advisory Committee

Dr. Isabel Garcia

Dr. Marc Heft

Dr. David Nelson

Dr. Paul Okunieff

Dr. Westley Reeves


External Advisory Committee

Luisa A. DiPietro, DDS, PhD @ University of Illinois, Chicago College of Dentistry,

Accounting & Award Administration

Ronda Breton

Denise Dorman

Amanda Phelps

Student Liaison

For Information About the Program, please contact Denise Webb at 352-294-5444

Active Students


  • Scott Harden
  • Kyulim Lee
  • Mahmoud Mona
  • JoAnn Roberts
  • David Brice

T90 Pre-doctoral

  • Danielle Vermilyea
  • Gavin Golas


  • Dr. Richard Besingi
  • Dr. Kristina DiFranco
  • Dr. Irina Velsko
  • Adrienne Gauna

R90 Post-doctoral Recipient

  • Dr. Luciana Salles Branco de Almeida

K99 Post-doctoral Recipient

  • Dr. Sara Palmer

F31 Pre-doctoral Recipient

  • Christina Graves

Training Grant / Faculty Mentors List

IDP Application

Questions and Answers

I am an undergraduate student who is interested in applying to dental school. What opportunities exist for me to do research in the College of Dentistry?

Mechanisms that support student research in the College of Dentistry:

  • Undergraduate students may seek employment or volunteer research activity with one of many research mentors in the college. Depending on the research experience of the student applicant, a small hourly wage maybe offered by a faculty mentor. If the student applicant has no research experience, it is unlikely that any financial support will be offered during this training period.
  • Undergraduate students not yet in their senior year may apply for the UF University Scholars award. The College of Dentistry can only award two per year.
Which graduate Ph.D. programs are available in the College of Dentistry?
  • Ph.D. programs are open to students who have taken the GRE with a score of 1000 or higher, and achieved a strong academic record in the field of undergraduate instruction. Currently, the College offers graduate education and research training in the general areas of: biomaterials, biomimetics, tissue engineering, molecular microbiology and immunology.
Can a student apply for a research grant through the College of Dentistry?
  • Technically, only full time faculty are eligible to receive awards for state, federal or corporate sponsors. However, graduate students can participate in a grant preparation process, which can lead to a research grant award to the student’s graduate faculty mentor. The grant may provide a graduate student stipend, tuition and fees, and supplies for research.
What opportunities are there for incoming undergraduate students to participate in research at the College of Dentistry?
  • The College sponsors the 10-week Summer Research Program for students who have been accepted but not yet enrolled in dental school.