Blending science and medicine: exploring clinician-scientist training

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By Ben S.

Through a seven-year journey at the University of Michigan, I was immersed in a unique educational experience, pursuing a dual Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and PhD in Biomedical Engineering. This rigorous program has allowed me to integrate clinical dentistry training with advanced scientific research and business and entrepreneurial studies. 

Embracing a Dual Degree Journey 

My interest in dentistry and research was sparked during my undergraduate years at Canisius College, where I was exposed to the world of scientific research and the dedication of faculty members with PhDs. This experience inspired me to explore the possibility of combining my research passion with a dentistry career. The opportunity to pursue a dual DDS-PhD at the University of Michigan, with its strong focus on translational research and clinical education, was a compelling choice for me.  

Navigating the Path of Discovery 

While at the University of Michigan, I delved into research focused on tissue regeneration and biomaterials, particularly in the context of bone regeneration. Under the guidance of esteemed mentors, I conducted in-depth scientific investigations and made significant contributions to the field. My research efforts culminated in a dissertation titled "Regenerative Engineering in the Bone Microenvironment: Towards Reestablishing Homeostasis and Function Using Implantable Biomaterial Scaffolds."  

Looking Ahead 

As I approach the culmination of my training at the University of Michigan, I am excited to embark on my next career phase. I will spend the next three years at Harvard University School of Dental Medicine for a three-year residency in periodontics. Driven by a passion for translating scientific findings into clinical solutions, I am eager to contribute to the intersection of healthcare practice and innovative research.  

My journey as a clinician-scientist has been a testament to the value of interdisciplinary education and the pursuit of knowledge at the nexus of science, medicine, and business. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had at the University of Michigan, and I look forward to continuing my quest for lifelong learning and discovery. The blend of science and medicine is a professional endeavor for me and a personal calling, and I am committed to making a meaningful impact at the forefront of precision medicine therapies. 

Ben pursued a PhD in Biomedical Engineering and a Doctorate in Dental Surgery at the University of Michigan in a Dentist-Scientist Training Program (DSTP) supported by a fellowship from the federal government. He’s now pursuing a clinical residency in periodontal surgery at Harvard University.

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