Summer Research

Summer Research Program Application Information

The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine offers a competitive program for current Penn Dental students to engage in a basic laboratory or clinical research project. Research students are required to work full time in July and August with a faculty preceptor on a mutually-agreed upon research project. Students are expected to write the project application with guidance from the preceptor. Applications for research projects are reviewed and ranked by the School of Dental Medicine Research Committee. Projects will be accepted for funding based on scientific merit and the availability of funds. The School of Dental Medicine will provide a stipend of $1,000/month for 2 months.

The purpose of this 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 on-going faculty research investigation. It is the goal of the program to aid the development of dental students who want to pursue research-orientated careers in the oral health field by providing an interactive experience with active research faculty.


Current students are eligible providing that they are in good academic standing and are able to spend the months of July and August full-time on their project. Students that are interested in research but are expected to participate in clinic during the summer months must be able to spend a significant amount of the months of July and August on their project. The summer research program will be combined with other clinical training during July and August.

Weekly meetings of students and preceptors are held in July and August to provide required training in Laboratory Safety and Bioethics in Research, discuss information about research fellowships available through dental organizations and the federal government, and to assess progress. Each student gives an informal presentation about their project. Students are required to attend these meetings. A final one page summary report, approved by the preceptor, is required from each student by the end of August.

All summer research trainees are required to give a poster presentation on Research Day. Research Day is held at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and provides an opportunity for students of all classes to present their research. 

List of Preceptors

A list of research investigators is available for the summer research program. Students can make arrangements to do a research project with local faculty outside of the School of Dental Medicine if first discussed with Dr. DiRienzo, Assistant Dean for Student Research.

Submission of Applications

To be considered for a summer research training stipend, a student must submit a proposal describing the project (maximum of five printed pages). The proposal must be written by the student with guidance from the research preceptor. The application form is required. The application form can be downloaded as a Microsoft Word document by clicking on the above link or can be obtained from Dr. Joseph DiRienzo, Assistant Dean for Student Research, 31 East Wing, Evans Building.

An electronic copy of the entire application must be sent to Dr. DiRienzo as an attachment as either a Word or pdf file. In addition, the application must be authorized by the preceptor by sending an e-mail message to Dr. DiRienzo. The deadline for submission of applications must be met — no exceptions will be granted. Applications received after the deadline will not be accepted. The application and e-mail authorization must be received no later than midnight on Monday, March 30, 2020.

Travel Funds

A limited number of travel stipends will be awarded, for national student research and AADR/IADR meetings, based on the results of the poster competition held on Research Day. Students are highly encouraged to apply for an AADR/Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Hatton Award or IADR/Unilever Hatton Competition Awards (Junior Divisions).

Contact Information

University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine students can send questions about the Summer Research Program to Dr. Esra Sahingur, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Student Research,

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