Research Track Program

UFCD DMD RESEARCH TRACK

OVERVIEW

The Research Track is intended for students who are committed to obtaining a concentrated research experience while attending dental school. The goal of the program is to allow students a connection with clinical, translational, or laboratory research during the four years of study at UFCD. Activities may include: developing research protocols, participating in actual laboratory or clinical research studies, conducting critical reviews of the literature, writing manuscripts, and interacting with speakers and other attendees at research seminars. Program participants are required to commit a minimum of four to six hours per week to the program, under the supervision of a faculty mentor.

Entry into the program requires a well-defined student/mentor team. Mentors are required to be full-time, tenure-accruing faculty of UFCD with a clear track record of productivity, consistent external funding, and student mentorship. Students are charged with identifying a faculty mentor who has adequate resources to support the research and qualified to mentor in the particular scientific area. A list of UFCD faculty and their research interest can be found on the UFCD Office of Research website under resources. In addition, students who wish to enroll in the program but are not already paired with a mentor may contact the Associate Dean for Research for further assistance.

ELIGIBILITY

Students become eligible to apply to the program in their sophomore year. Students are strongly encouraged, although not required, to complete the 1st year elective course entitled “Discussion of Research Interests.”

APPLICATION PROCESS

Assuring that an intensive research experience is gained by the student, it is necessary for the student-mentor team to complete an application package. Major factors considered in the evaluation of an application include:

  • the research plan’s clarity, significance and originality
  • feasibility of the research plan, based on the experimental design and efforts indicated
  • qualifications of the mentor and the student

The application package should include the following documents:

  • application form
  • student’s information (2 pgs max): provide either a curriculum vitae or resume, include:
    • a personal statement (no more than ½ page) describing current and/or past research experiences,
    • what is to be accomplished by joining the Research Track Program, and
    • long term career goals
  • mentor’s information (4 pgs max): provide a NIH biosketch, include:
    • active, pending and past extramural and intramural support
    • indicate which sources of funding support the proposed project, and
    • in addition, a list of prior and current trainees must be included
  • research plan (5 pgs max): the student/mentor team works together to develop a research plan to accompany the application submission and reflect the following areas:
    • specific aims
    • background and significance
    • preliminary studies
    • research design and methods
    • timetable for completion of each component of the project

The following format specifications are required in the package:

  • arial font, black color, 11-point font size, single space ½ inch margins
  • no header, but with consecutive page numbers in the center of footer
  • no fillable fields in any included documents
  • print text documents to PDF
  • do not scan documents to PDF
  • disable all security featured in the PDF document
  • when naming the PDF file, do not use special characters or spaces in the files names
  • graphs, diagrams, tables, charts and photographs must be in the body of the application
  • no appendix material may be submitted

Applications not conforming to the format instructions are returned without review.

The UFCD Research Committee reviews the mentor-student application and assists in the selections. The committee makes a recommendation to the Associate Dean for Research, who makes the final decision as to the suitability of the student, mentor, and project for the program.

PROGRESS REPORTS & FINAL REPORT

To ensure the student is having a continuous productive experience, a six month progress report and a yearly written progress report is required. Reports are reviewed by the college research committee and the Associate Dean for Research.

  • the six-month progress report is a fillable form completed by both student and the student’s mentor
  • the annual progress report requires a more specific narrative which reflects the following:
    • introduction: a short summary of the project rationale and design should be provided
    • method and results: a summary of methods performed and results obtained thus far
    • conclusions: a summary of conclusions made based on results obtained thus far
    • previous year’s accomplishments: this can be provided in bullet point format (as needed)
    • feedback: the student may describe the overall experience and include feedback for enhancing the program
  • the final progress report should include a description of the brief student’s overall experience with the program, including feedback for improvements and or suggestions for enhancing the program

Reports are submitted as a PDF file via email to Denise Webb or to the UFCD Office of Research

REQUIREMENTS FOR COMPLETION OF THE PROGRAM

To successfully complete the Research Track Program, the following are required:

  • completion of the first year seminar elective course entitled “Discussion of Research Interests.”
  • membership and participation in the Student Research Group chapter of AADR (dues for this organization are paid by UFCD for successful applicants to the program)
  • continuous involvement in a mentored research experience (minimum of two consecutive years)

Certification by the primary mentor stating that the student has completed a research project as part of their research experience; evaluative criteria may include:

  • satisfactory grades for each semester the student is enrolled in a research elective
  • recognition by the UFCD Research Committee and mentor of continuous student involvement
  • progress as documented in the aforementioned progress reports, and
  • publication of abstract(s) and/or manuscript(s)
  • application for Excellence in Research; Research Honors or High Research Honors (highly encouraged)