2017 Summer Edition


Funding for Research

Dr. Monica Fernandez, clinical assistant professor in the restorative dental sciences division of prosthodontics, received a research supplement for $419,658 from the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

The two-year research supplement promotes diversity in health-related research and complements the parent NIH award titled, “Novel coatings to minimize surface degradation and fracture susceptibility of dental ceramics.” This award supports Fernandez’s mentored research training and career development in dental ceramics and biofilm formation in a laboratory setting. Dr. Josephine Esquivel-Upshaw, associate professor in restorative dental sciences division of prosthodontics, is the principal investigator of the grant.

Under the NIH award, 60 percent of Dr. Fernandez's time will be devoted to research and career development activities. She is also participating in the parent-grant focus group research, and receiving additional training at UF's College of Engineering. Along with Dr. Esquivel-Upshaw, she is co-mentoring with Dr. Christopher Batich, from materials science engineering and Dr. Luciana Shaddox from periodontics.

This research will examine the effect of biofilm growth on the surface topography of dental materials. Dr. Fernandez will focus on surface analysis of both acrylic and ceramic and the effect that bacterial colonization has on the surface integrity of these materials. These study findings should contribute to biomaterial modifications to discourage biofilm formation on dental materials.

Dr. Fernandez’s supplement award is an excellent complement to the work already conducted by Dr. Esquivel-Upshaw and her collaborators.

The goal for this NIDCR-supported project is to provide the foundation for externally funded independent research by Dr. Fernandez.


For more information regarding funding please visit our website at: http://research.dental.ufl.edu/




Meet the 2017 Summer Research Students


Students and their mentors listed, from top left, clockwise:

Seung Jin Jang (Dr. Zsolt Toth), Blake Crosby (Dr. Luciana Shaddox), Giovanna Bermudez Quiroz (Dr. Jose Lemos), Miseanne Tang (Dr. Gill Diamond), Geena Addison Valdes (Dr. Jacqueline Abranches)Catherine Baitinger (Dr. Joseph Katz), and Victor Chiu-Young Chang (Dr. Robert Burne)

The students have been busy learning and fully engaged in their research projects. Most are from Florida as their home state; Giovanna is from Ecuador and Geena who came to us from the Bahamas. A huge welcome from the College of Dentistry and a "Go Gators" chomp from our university! 

For more information regarding student research, please visit our website:http://research.dental.ufl.edu/


A Student's Perspective

by Natalie Atyeo

I think it is a common misconception that the only career paths after dental school are in the clinical realm, but after participating in the Summer Research Program, interacting with faculty in oral biology and attending research conferences, I have become increasingly interested in a future career in oral health research.

My long-term career goal is to combine my clinical knowledge and research background to work in some form of academic medicine, possibly in a university setting or at a government institution. However, I am still unsure about what types of career options exist. The ADA Colgate Dental Students’ Conference on Research is a perfect opportunity to explore the diverse, but often less advertised careers in oral health research. Since I am still in the early stages of my dental school education, I feel this is a critical time period to hear the perspective of individuals who also might have diverged from the traditional clinical career path after dental school. I am looking forward to networking with like-minded students who view dental school as more than a straight road towards clinical dentistry.




Prior to the most recent update from NIH, it was vague as to whether letters of support were needed for collaborators such as senior/key personnel and other significant contributors included in the grant application.

With the most recent update to Forms D the guidelines have been clarified. This was not outlined in announcements of the form updates but below is from the current SF424 R&R guide updated March 24, 2017.

Format: Combine all letters of support into a single PDF file and attach this information here. Do not place these letters in the appendix. Follow the attachment guidelines on NIH's format attachments page.

Content: Attach a file with all letters of support, including any letters necessary to demonstrate the support of consortium participants and collaborators such as senior/key personnel and other significant Contributors included in the grant application.

Letters should stipulate expectations for co-authorship, and whether cell lines, samples, or other resources promised in the letter are freely available to other investigators in the scientific community or will be provided to the particular investigators only.

For consultants, letters should include rate/charge for consulting services and level of effort/number of hours per budget period anticipated. In addition, letters ensuring access to core facilities and resources should stipulate whether access will be provided as a fee-for-service.

Letters are not required for personnel (such as research assistants) not contributing in a substantive, measurable way to the scientific development or execution of the project.

Do not include consultant biographical sketches in the “Letters of Support” attachment, as consultant biosketches should be in the “Biographical Sketch” section (see exception for SBIR/STTR Applications in the SBIR/STTR-specific instructions).

For more information regarding announcements and updates, please visit our website:http://research.dental.ufl.edu/


The UFCD Office of Research announces the Research Opportunity for UFCD Student Seed Grant Funding competition

The UFCD Student Seed Grant Funding targets all UFCD dental and advanced education students.

Proposal Deadline: July 1

Funding: Because of limited funds, grants will be awarded on a competitive basis up to $3,000 maximum, depending on the availability of funds and number of meritorious applications.

Award Period: One year, with a no-cost extension for up to one additional year possible

Objective: The primary objective of the Seed Grant Program for UFCD Students is to promote independent student research by providing short-term support for novel research projects. Towards this goal, the application process itself is intended, in part, to help foster students to develop and clearly delineate the reasoning and approaches of a project, under the advisement of their mentor(s).  Projects may include the following:

• Testing a new and well defined hypothesis

• Testing the feasibility of an approach or experimental design

• Gaining experience with new or unfamiliar methods

The request may not be used simply to supplement currently funded research projects of the applicant’s mentor(s). Thus, whereas techniques, patient populations, etc. will likely coincide with those of the home laboratory, the specific aim/hypothesis to be tested in the proposed project must be unique.

Mentorship: Mentors must be full-time faculty of the UFCD, with demonstrated research expertise in the form of publications and/or extramural funding.

Review Criteria: The Research Committee  of the College of Dentistry reviews all applications within a two-week period following each submission deadline. Major factors considered in the evaluation of an application include:

• The project's significance

• The project’s originality

• Feasibility, based on the experimental design and efforts indicated

• Qualifications of the mentor and the student

• Adequacy of the facilities

• Appropriateness of the budget

Guidelines and Review Criteria: http://research.dental.ufl.edu/student-resource/student-seed-grant-information/

If you have questions, contact: Dr. Robert BurneBeverly Davies or Christi Mason



For more information regarding the Office of
Research, please visit our website:http://research.dental.ufl.edu/