Penn Dental Medicine has a long-standing tradition of offering faculty-mentored clinical and basic science research opportunities for students to enrich their education. The students conduct research within the dental school and also collaborate with other schools, including School of Medicine, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Wharton School of Business, and School of Nursing. The students who are involved in research have opportunities to author manuscripts, present their results at national and international meetings, and successfully compete for fellowships, awards and grants inside and outside of the dental school. The students can be involved in research by participating in specific research programs or volunteering in research projects independently. Potential Penn Dental Medicine research advisors include faculty across disciplines. The students can contact faculty directly or fill out a request form for research opportunities and submit it to the Office of Graduate Studies and Student Research with their CV. The requests are reviewed monthly to determine the availability of research positions and facilitate the communication between students and faculty. — View Research Advisors »
Predoctoral (DMD) Student Research
The Summer Research Program is for current Penn Dental Medicine students to engage in a basic laboratory or clinical research project. The purpose of the program is to give interested dental students a chance to experience both basic and clinical dental research from a “hands-on” perspective by participation in an ongoing faculty research investigation. Student researchers are expected to work full time during the summer and continue their research throughout the academic year with a faculty advisor on a mutually agreed research project. Learn more about the program and how to apply
A number of research-focused honors programs within the DMD program at Penn Dental Medicine, including the Basic & Translational Research Honors Program, offer research opportunities to qualifying students. Learn more about all the programs and how to apply
Students interested in an academic career often consider applying to one Penn Dental Medicine’s dual degree programs, which offer students a variety of research opportunities.
Penn Dental Medicine in collaboration with the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and the Health Care Management Department of the Wharton School supports stipend-based summer research fellowships for dental students interested in working on a health services or health policy research project during the summer between their first and second year of dental school.
- Independent Research
DMD students also have opportunities to be involved in independent research by participating as a volunteer in basic and clinical research studies throughout the school. Students can directly reach out to faculty to explore volunteering opportunities – View Faculty Research Advisors >> Alternatively, students can complete an application and submit it with their CV to the Office of Graduate Studies and Student Research. The applications are reviewed monthly to determine the availability of research positions and facilitate the communication between students and faculty – View Research Opportunities Request Form »
The Vernon Brightman Research Society is Penn Dental Medicine’s student research group chapter of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) National Student Research Group (NSRG). Learn more »
Graduate Student Research
Penn Dental Medicine offers advanced research programs to train outstanding postdoctoral students to become leaders in academic dentistry, including:
Human Subjects Research/Institutional Review Board (IRB)
Student researchers should communicate with their faculty advisors to guide them through their research projects.
Research projects that meet the definitions of Human Subjects and Research must be submitted for review and approval by the IRB. Please consult with your faculty advisor to confirm IRB approval is required. Once you have confirmed that IRB is required, federal regulations and the University of Pennsylvania, mandates that students complete human subject research training to ensure the protection of research subjects. CITI Human Resources Protections Training is required for everyone engaged in human research at Penn. Additional trainings may be required by your department/division.
The Penn IRB Office has all of the resources available for researchers. Some useful links are provided below as a starting point.
- CITI Human Resources Protections Training
- How to Submit Initial IRB Application
- Student Guidance Manual: Submitting to the Penn IRB
- Forms and Templates
Animal Research/Institutional Animal Care & Use (IACUC)
The Penn Office of Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) is also available to support you through the process of coursework and research projects involving animals.
External Sources for Student Research Awards, Fellowships, Grants
Students are encouraged to work with their research advisors to identify and apply to appropriate external research opportunities.
- NIDCR Summer Dental Student Award
- Medical Research Scholars Program
- Clinical Electives Program
- Summer Internship Program for Biomedical Research
Interested in doing research? Complete this Research Opportunities Request Form »
Questions about student research at Penn Dental Medicine can be directed to PDMStudentResearch@dental.upenn.edu.