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Summer Research

Summer Research Program

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 advisor on a mutually-agreed upon research project. Students are expected to write the project proposal with guidance from their research advisor, using these guidelines. Applications for research projects are reviewed and ranked by the School of Dental Medicine Research Committee and awarded funding based on scientific merit and the availability of funds.

The purpose of this program is to provide interested dental students an opportunity to experience both basic and clinical dental research, from a “hands-on” perspective, by participation in an on-going faculty research investigation. The goal of the program is to aid the development of dental students who want to pursue academic and research-orientated careers in the oral health field by providing an interactive experience with active research faculty.


Current Penn Dental Medicine students in good academic standing who are able to commit full time on their research projects during the summer are eligible to apply. Students who are interested in research but have clinical obligations during the summer months should plan to spend a significant amount of time on their projects when they are not in the clinic.

The students should complete the basic required training in Laboratory Safety and Bioethics in Research. The advisors and students meet weekly to discuss progress and plan for future activities. At the end of the program, each student is required to write a report (300-400 words), including introduction, objectives, methods, results, conclusions, and future directions of their study which is approved by their advisor and give a 10-minute oral presentation. All summer research trainees are also required to give a poster presentation on Penn Dental Medicine Research Day. Research Day is held each spring at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and provides an opportunity for students of all classes to present their research.

Research Investigators

Research faculty from throughout Penn Dental Medicine are available as potential faculty advisors for the Summer Research Program. Students can make arrangements to do a research project with Penn faculty outside of the School of Dental Medicine if first discussed with Dr. Esra Sahingur, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Student Research. Students are encouraged to visit the web biographies and learn research areas of each faculty member and identify at least 2-3 faculty advisors to interview. The students should contact the faculty to discuss the research projects and availability of a position in the lab or clinic.

Students can contact Dr. Esra Sahingur to get more information about the application process, identifying research advisors, and guidelines for research proposals.

Submission of Applications

To be considered for the Summer Research Program and its training stipend, students must complete the following:

The deadline for submission of applications is March 14. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered for fellowships.

Travel Funds

A number of travel stipends are available to attend national and international research conferences, including ADA, ADEA and AADR/IADR. Penn Dental Medicine grants travel awards following the results of the poster competition held on Research Day. The successful proposals are also sent to AADR to compete nationally for AADR travel awards. Students are highly encouraged to apply for an AADR/Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Hatton Award or IADR/Unilever Hatton Competition Awards (Junior Divisions). The links to different fellowships/awards from different organizations are included below.

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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