DDS/PhD at UMich

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thewobblytooth

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Hello, I was accepted into the DDS/PhD program at UMich, and I have already decided that I will be attending that school. One of the things that kind of bums me out is that there are so few students in dentistry that pursue a DDS/PhD. I was wondering if the MD/PhD students could give me advice about things.

How should I choose my first lab rotation?

Are there any grants/fellowships that I should be aware of and should try to apply for?

Are there any research projects that I should definitely avoid (breeding mice, etc) or is anything a go?

I plan to stay in academia when I graduate and I was also wondering what the funding situation would be like? It's not pretty now, and I'm not sure if it will get any better.

Luckily, throughout my time at UMich, everything will be paid for, tuition. health insurance, stipend/living support, so I won't have to worry about that or securing grants/fellowships to pay for anything. However, I will be taught to right these grants/fellowships to gain experience for if and when I decide to start a lab.

Should I be asking professors about their funding situation?

At UMich, they are doing lots of interesting tissue regeneration, oral cancer research, and dental stem cell work. I find this to be very interesting, but how do you MD/PhDs choose labs to rotate through and what are some things that I should be wary of?

I've committed myself to this program and there are so few DDS/PhD students that I can really ask any advice for on these forums! Sorry for so many questions all jumbled together!

Thanks in advance for the help!

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Here are the advice that I've been given on some things:

1) How to choose first rotation: find some potential professors online, then talk to some of them during revisit and find one that you think you like.

2) The NIH offers F30/F31 grants for predoctoral students during graduate training

3) I was told by people in my lab that if I stuck with immunology, I should avoid mouse labs because breeding mice takes a long time and you could be up the creek without a paddle of your KO mouse has no phenotype or something goes wrong 3 years into it.

4) Right now NIH funding rates are in the single digits, 7-8% from what I hear and it certainly isn't going to get better in the next year or so. Beyond that, it's highly dependent on who gets elected, economic landscape, etc.

5) You should ask professors whose labs you are seriously considering joining how secure their funding sources are, whether you could support you for the entire duration of your PhD, and whether there may be the possibility that they will be moving in the middle of your PhD

At UMich, they are doing lots of interesting tissue regeneration, oral cancer research, and dental stem cell work. I find this to be very interesting, but how do you MD/PhDs choose labs to rotate through and what are some things that I should be wary of?

Didn't you already ask those questions above?
 
Hey thanks for the response!

Sorry for asking the same question again, I guess I should have read over what I typed down. As far as the research that I'm going to be entering, I think the first lab I'm rotating through does lots of in depth research in oral cancer angiogenesis. It sounds really interesting and I did meet him during my interview. I will definitely ask the professors if they have secure funding! Thanks again!
 
Hey sakata,

Sorry for a late reply,

Yes, the DDS/PhD does have a program director. She's super nice. I've been asking about which lab gets funding, and she's been pretty candid about it. So far, I've chosen my first rotation based off my initial interview with him when I was interviewing for the DDS/PhD spot. Also, I think I've been seeing a general trend in avoiding mouse breeding projects, KO mutants, etc. I don't think I'll ever go anywhere near those.

Have you heard of the Angiogenesis Lab by Dr. Nor at the dental school? That's my first rotation. I haven't had a chance to talk to people in his lab, but I should definitely email them to get a feel of him as a PI. He seems to publish frequently, at least according to his webpage. My pd told me that he has funding so I don't think I need to worry about that issue. Also, the UM dental school recently renewed their F30 grant, so I definitely will have funding. I sort of lucked out because I've heard of other d-schools recently have not renewed theirs. On a side note, he's also my academic advisor until I choose a lab and dissertation advisor.

My only complaint is that the number of students that enter my program is very few and there aren't many people I could talk to when I join. A camaraderie I suppose.

Thanks so much for responding! This gives me a better insight.
 
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