Hosting an international conference on curing light technology proved to be the perfect launchpad for an international collaboration with Brazil that has led to publications, student and faculty exchanges, and joint research projects. This academic cornucopia would not have happened without the combined skills, materials, and equipment of both faculties.
In 2012, Dr. Richard Price and the Faculty of Dentistry at Dalhousie hosted the first (of six, so far) Northern Lights conference with the help of a CIHR Dissemination grant. The purpose of these conferences has been to bring together dental education professionals from several countries to share knowledge and develop consensus statements with the aim of helping general dentists. But it was with Brazil that the prospect of further collaboration took flight.
Through its ‘sandwich program’, Brazil actively encourages graduate students to travel and experience university education at foreign universities. In 2016, Dr. Price visited Brazil with financial support from Brazil’s FAPESP to lecture and forge relationships between Dalhousie University and the University of São Paulo, the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), and the Federal University of Uberlândia.
With the financial support of FAPESP Sprint and the Canadian CALDO consortium, two Brazilian PhD students – Dr. Carlos Shimokawa and Dr. Bruna Fronza – have spent time at Dalhousie, carrying out research under the direction of Dr. Price with some of the specialist equipment in his lab, that has already produced 10 Dalhousie-Brazil peer-reviewed publications. A third student, Dr. Stella Braga, who is supported by a scholarship from PDSE–CAPES, is currently conducting research with Dr. Price.
Embracing different perspectives
Dr. Marcello Giannini, Dr. Fronza’s supervisor at UNICAMP, has also visited Dalhousie to work on projects. This past summer, he, Dr. Price, and Dr. Fronza collaborated on a project that used plasma to improve the bonding between resin and ceramics, employing equipment that is not available in Brazil. Dr. Price then went to Brazil in November 2018 to continue the research.
“It is great to be here,” says Dr. Fronza, of her time at Dal. “I have learned a lot, benefited from different perspectives, and been able to work with new equipment and new methodologies.”
Dr. Giannini agrees. “Working here at Dal has been good for the project and we have been able to develop more projects other than the one we set out to do. We can already see future collaborations and several more publications.”
For Dr. Price, the experience is rewarding for him, the Faculty of Dentistry, and the university. “I trained in the UK, the USA, Sweden and Canada. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and skills with researchers from Brazil. International partnerships broaden our perspectives and bring together a whole host of different skills and expertise. I hope that Dalhousie dental students will soon be able to visit Brazil.”
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