A passion for biomaterials
Elizabeth Soulas had braces twice when she was younger, and found herself looking forward to her many trips to the orthodontist’s office, an experience which planted the seeds of a future dental career. She was also a math whiz, and as she grew older, she began to notice the many applications of math and engineering to health care. As an undergrad, she did research in Delaware’s biomechanics and biomaterials labs, and her senior thesis explored cellular responses to biomaterials.
So when she began to investigate dental schools and learned about Penn Dental Medicine’s dual degree in bioengineering, the program, and the School, stood out.
“I began to get excited about the possibility of bringing new innovations to dentistry through biomaterials,” she remembers.
Top-notch students and faculty
Now in her third year at Penn Dental Medicine, Elizabeth has been impressed with both her fellow students and the faculty members she has encountered: “My classmates are all at the top of their games, and the faculty are at the top of their fields,” she says.
She has jumped feet first into her dual degree program, which will allow her to finish a DMD and a master’s in bioengineering through Penn’s College of Engineering in just four years. Under the guidance of her co-advisors, Dr. Eva Anadioti, clinical assistant professor of restorative dentistry, and Dr. Jason Burdick, professor of bioengineering, she has begun work on her master’s thesis, “Applications of Ceramic 3-D Printing in Dentistry.”
After she completes the dual degree program, Elizabeth plans to continue her dental education.
“I want to do postgraduate work in a specialty, I’m just not sure what yet,” she says. “I’m very passionate about biomaterials research, and I hope to integrate it into whatever I choose.”
Getting involved on campus
Through her involvement in Penn Dental Medicine’s Women’s Network and the Psi Omega dental fraternity, she’s met other students who share her interests. She has also joined Dental Innovations for Creators and Entrepreneurs (DICE), a group of students interested in promoting entrepreneurship at Penn Dental Medicine.
Elizabeth credits the School with providing the opportunity and the training ground for her to explore all of her interests fully. In particular, her dual degree program has allowed her to bring her love of math and biomaterials together with her long-held fascination with dentistry.
“I am really grateful to have the opportunity to pursue a master’s along with my dental degree,” she says. “It’s been such a valuable experience.”