Research opportunities

Dalhousie’s Faculty of Dentistry is at the cutting edge of current research in the field. During your studies, you’ll be able to take advantage of research opportunities across a variety of disciplines. The Faculty has core basic research programs that involve such areas as tissue regeneration and oral pathogens, while clinical research programs could involve examining new methods of treatment.

Either way, the focus is on improving the oral health—and, by extension, the general health—of individuals. This health-care focus extends to community and population health research, including the Faculty of Dentistry’s extensive studies involving seniors. The result: bringing a holistic or quality-of-life perspective to oral health treatment, while informing best-practice and health-care policy development.

Summer Student Research Program

The Faculty's Summer Student Research Program is a great way for you to participate in research projects conducted by members of the Faculty of Dentistry. For a 10-week period over the summer, if you think health sciences research will be part of your professional careers—or even if you want to keep that option open—you can gain valuable experience in the design, execution, and evaluation of a research project. You might also assist with survey development and implementation, or other tasks associated with an ongoing project.

Scholarship Across the Curriculum (SAC) program

You might also participate in a research project through the Scholarship Across the Curriculum (SAC) program. This program allows you to address new or controversial oral health issues and practices through table clinic presentations to the dental community, and perhaps publish the knowledge gained from this research in a scientific publication. Or, you might work with a faculty mentor who will guide you through your own independent research project.

Professors' research projects

Here are just a few of the research projects that have been happening in the Faculty of Dentistry.

Recently funded projects

  • The "Kungatsiajuk: Supporting the healthy smiles of NunatuKavut children" project is a 3-year community-based research initiative. The multi-disciplinary research team, including health researchers, community members, and health-care providers, will work with the people of NunatuKavut (living in Inuit communities located in the isolated south coast region of Labrador) to identify oral health needs of NunatuKavut children.
  • Dr. Yung-Hua Li has been awarded a 5-year CIHR operating grant to fund his research on "Functional genomic analyses of a peptide antibiotic-sensing and response regulon in Streptococcus mutans." This research will investigate at the molecular level how S. mutans (a bacterium believed to be the leading cause of tooth decay) is able to survive and adapt to the unstable environment of the mouth and to regulate the various characteristics that make it so effective at causing decay.
  • Dr. Daniel Boyd has been awarded funding from the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation for the research project “Bioactive and Stimuli Responsive Systems for the Atraumatic Restorative Technique in Dentistry.” The award will be used to develop new and improved materials and clinical protocols for treating and preventing dental caries.

Other projects

  • Studying how biomaterials can be used to improve tissue function, healing, and regeneration
  • Developing metallic implant surfaces that help improve the performance of dental implants
  • Identifying how inadequate access to dental care in aging populations has a negative impact on overall health and well-being
  • Developing standardized treatment records and assessment methods (for example, for patients with cleft lip and palate)
  • Measuring the amount of light energy dental students deliver when light curing a cavity preparation, both before and after detailed instructions, to determine how to maximize efficacy
  • Testing various materials used to make orthodontics
  • Identifying the implications of dental treatment costs for low-income families
  • Participating in the interdisciplinary Health Mentors program, which allows students to meet with patient mentors to discuss their positive and negative experiences with health professionals

Student research

Students in the Faculty of Dentistry have participated in the following research projects:

  • an Applied Oral Sciences project looking at the anti-cancer drug delivery potential of condensed calcium phosphate matrices
  • a Dental Clinical Sciences study examining the polymerization kinetics of dental resins
  • an Applied Oral Sciences study looking at gene expression in S. mutans
  • a project with Dental Clinical Sciences working with the seniors oral health team to look at treatment follow-up resulting from the seniors oral health assessment pilot project
  • an Oral and Maxillofacial Sciences project on the effect of maxillomandibular advancement surgery on blood pressure