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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 129-130

Training strategy for today's full-time dental research scholars

Department of OMFS and Diagnostic Sciences, Riyadh Elm University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Date of Submission31-Aug-2020
Date of Acceptance31-Aug-2020
Date of Web Publication12-Nov-2020

Correspondence Address:
Prof. H A Mosadomi
Riyadh Elm University, P O Box: 84891, Riyadh 11681
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjos.SJOralSci_90_20

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How to cite this article:
Mosadomi H A. Training strategy for today's full-time dental research scholars. Saudi J Oral Sci 2020;7:129-30

How to cite this URL:
Mosadomi H A. Training strategy for today's full-time dental research scholars. Saudi J Oral Sci [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Apr 22];7:129-30. Available from: https://www.saudijos.org/text.asp?2020/7/3/129/300595

When will a dental research scholar emerge as a Nobel Laureate? This may not be accepted as a topical question because Nobel Prize in Medicine is not the only worthy recognition in health research, although it is the most acclaimed. It is also recognized that behind any Nobel Laureate in medicine or biomedical sciences, there are hundreds of researchers who have contributed immensely to the research that led to the award.

There have always been extraordinary dental researchers in all areas of dentistry. Since G V Black, thousands of researchers have emerged and going by the research output of the Dental Section of the National Institute of Health and similar excellent research centers throughout the world who are working and researching on dental disease prevention, therapeutics, and health promotion. It is a verifiable fact that great strides have been made in all aspects of dental caries, jaw bone diseases, molecular oral biology, oral/oropharyngeal malignancies, salivary gland diseases and oral mucous membrane diseases, periodontology, and other oral-related diseases.[1]

The point of the title of this editorial is to ask whether the dental schools and institutions should or should not create novel dedicated pathways to train and produce full-time dental research scholars. My opinion is that they should. There have been in existence for quite many years now of doctorate training programs in practically all areas of Dentistry, but most if not all of these programs are geared to producing regular researchers who teach preclinical courses as well as clinical courses in dentistry. We even have some titled “Research Professors.” My opinion is that we now need a large number of laboratory-based full-time talented and dedicated research scholars in dental schools, institutes, and industry. A cursory look at the faculty of many medical institutions reveals a huge number of holders of a combined medical degree and a doctorate degree working full time in dedicated research laboratories. The number is there also in Dentistry but not significantly impressive. I believe that it is time to pay particular attention to how this can be significantly improved. Although these researchers would be full time, there will be the chance for those who may wish to direct the teaching of biomedical and biodental courses to dental students probably better than how non-dentists would in addition to “full time” researching.

A long-serving Dean of Harvard School of Dental Medicine once posed a casual but insightful question a few years back asking something like “When will dentistry produce a dentist Nobel Laureate? Nobel winning topics like “How cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability,” “Cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation,” “mechanisms of autophagy” and many other topics are certainly in the purview of dedicated Dental researchers.[2]

I wish to define a dental research scholar as a specialized researcher, a preponderantly applied researcher or heuristic researcher. Preferably, he/she should also be a graduate of a dental school or cognate institution. He or she should of necessity, possess a doctorate degree or equivalent in addition to the basic professional degree and specialty certification. The doctorate research topic preferably should be hypothesis-driven. He or she will focus almost exclusively in a particular well-defined area without prejudice to productive and meaningful collaboration across the board with other equally talented regular basic sciences researchers or clinicians. The ultimate goals of meaningful health research are disease prevention and correct diagnosis, effective and safe therapeutics, and good health promotion. These are areas where Nobel laureates in “medicine and physiology” have made huge and extraordinary contributions.[3]

Full-time dental research scholars should be employed in dental schools, molecular research laboratories, stand-alone dental research institutes, dedicated research laboratories in Health Sciences complexes, and health industries. On how to train well and produce dental scholars depend on many factors. Very important among these is the availability or provision of funds and grants for special dual-degree programs of BDS or DDS or DMD and Ph.D. or equivalent program. Currently, there are indeed such programs throughout the world, but they are not enough. The dual degree program must be carefully designed and structured to achieve the stated goals.

There are so many names to mention in Dental Research who have made very significant contributions to every aspect of Dentistry. There is no compelling need to mention names here, but there is a need to demand that we create a new generation of researchers for full-time research. In not-so-long a time, dentist Nobel laureates will emerge. There are thousands of great awards in health research throughout the world which recognize excellence in health research. I mention Nobel Prize in particular because for now, it is considered the highest recognition for outstanding research in medical sciences.

  References Top

Dabelsteen E, Clausen H. Molecular biology in oral research. Scand J Dent Res 1992;100:3-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General Department of Health and Human Services. US Public Health Services. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research; 2000.  Back to cited text no. 2
Zero DT, Fontana M, Martínez-Mier EA, Ferreira-Zandoná A, Ando M, González-Cabezas C, et al. The biology, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dental caries: Scientific advances in the United States. J Am Dent Assoc 2009;140:25S-34S.  Back to cited text no. 3


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