University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
Skip to Content

Oral Sciences, MS

Fall 2018 Applications will be accepted: June 15,2017 - February 1, 2018

This graduate program leads to the Master of Science (M.S.) degree. It is conducted by the School of Dental Medicine under the sponsorship of the Graduate School of the State University of New York at Buffalo. The M.S. degree is awarded by the University upon recommendation of the Graduate School after certification by the Oral Sciences Program that all requirements for the degree have been completed.

The Oral Sciences Program in the School of Dental Medicine provides an opportunity for scholarship in areas that are particularly relevant to oral health and disease. Students are required to enroll in required core courses as well as elective ones, to complete an original research project, and to write and orally defend a master's thesis. The program typically takes about two years to complete, but additional time must be allocated if the degree is pursued in conjunction with a clinical specialty program.

The Oral Sciences Program is an academic research-oriented graduate program; it is completely independent from the clinical specialty programs offered by the school, and, thus, does not include clinical training. The didactic curriculum of the Master’s Program in Oral Sciences may not necessarily be directly related to a clinical setting. Rather, the overall design of the program is to provide background, expertise and current concepts of basic sciences as related to dental research and oral biology. A minimum of 30 credit hours of course work, including the satisfactory completion of a written thesis based on independent research, is required for the M.S. degree.

Examples of required courses include: Oral Microbial Ecology; Dynamics of Bone; Physiology of Pain; Oral Immunology; Biomaterials; Research Seminars in Oral Sciences; Research Design; Biochemistry and Genetics of Oral Diseases; and Statistical Methods. Elective courses are usually selected upon discussion with the student’s graduate committee, and typically cover the area of research that is pertinent to the student's thesis work.

The Oral Sciences Program involves a group of faculty from several depart­ments of the School of Dental Medicine, all of whom are members of the faculty of the Graduate School. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of the faculty, a wide range of research interests are represented which affords students the opportunity to engage in research that is especially suited to their individual interests, abilities, and career goals. Students may choose to pursue research from many different areas, including biological, clinical, and behavioral studies. The research opportunities are numerous and roughly represented by the faculty interest shown below.

Students in the Oral Sciences program include full- and part-time students usually with, but occasionally without, a professional dental degree. Some pursue the master's degree in conjunction with a clinical specialty program on a full-time basis. Many graduates have established full-time academic careers here, in other areas of the United States, and in many foreign countries.

The program does not have any resources to support students. However, some participating faculty have research grants and may be interested in supporting students. Interested students should contact the faculty directly.

Oral Sciences Program Estimated Expenses

To apply for the Oral Sciences MS program please submit all documents listed below on-line in GRADMIT. Your application will not be complete until these items have been received and you have submitted your application for formal review.

1. On-line Application - Apply Now

  • Please Note: Non-immigrants must complete the International On-line Application; check the box for "International Applicant" after selecting degree program on the Interactive Graduate Application Site (GRADMIT)
  • Please complete all questions on the application completely and accurately.

2. $50.00 non-refundable application fee paid on UBePay

  • Once you have submitted your online application for formal review, you will be able to pay the application fee by credit/debit card only. Your application cannot be reviewed until the fee has been paid. Please note that the $50 application fee is non-refundable.

3. CV / Resume

4. Two letters of recommendation and a Dean's letter (if graduated from a US or Canadian dental school), otherwise three letters of recommendation.Recommendation letters must be uploaded electronically:

  • In the recommendation section of this online application, you submit three referees with their email addresses. They will receive an email notification to electronically submit an online recommendation only after you submit your application for formal review.

5. Unofficial transcripts from EVERY college/university attended

  • If you are accepted into the program you will be asked to submit original transcripts with proper signatures, seals or stamps. Academic documents that are not in English must be accompanied by an exact, certified translation.  ***International applicants please include: - Copy of certificate with proof of degree  - Unofficial Course-By-Course Evaluation conducted by ECE (Educational Credential Evaluation)
International Applicants (in addition to the requirements listed above):

6. Unofficial TOEFL Score Report at or above minimum of 550 (written) / 213 (computer based) / 79 (internet based) or better obtained within eighteen months of the application deadline.

  • If you are accepted into the program you will be asked to submit original TOEFL score reports.

7. UB Financial Form / Financial Scholarship or Bank Documents

  • All International applicants must complete and upload to their application the UB financial form documenting all the sources of your financial support with the sponsor's signature. Official supporting documentation as outlined in the instructions must also be uploaded.
  • Official financial documents verifying scholarship support from your goverment- upload in bank documents section
  • No certificate of eligibility will be issued without satisfactory financial documentation. Financial documentation is required for visa issuance only-documentation may be submitted after acceptance but I-20 documentation cannot be issued without it.

8. Photocopy of passport biographical page

9. Photocopy of your current I-20 AND the F-1 visa stamp in your passport if you are currently an F-1 student

* All documents become property of the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine and are not returnable to the applicant.

If you have questions regarding the application process please contact:
Ms. Kristin Yager, Advanced Education Admissions Coordinator, Telephone: (716) 829-2839, E-mail


Below is a list of the faculty participants in the Oral Sciences Program. All are members of the Graduate School Faculty of the University at Buffalo. The Major Professor, who will supervise the student's thesis/research, comes from among these faculty members. Each student should review this list in order to help identify a research area of interest. Students are encouraged to contact faculty participants for additional information or to discuss the possibility of working with them on their thesis/research.

Sebastiano Andreana, DDS, MS

Associate Professor, Department of Restorative Dentistry

Projects focus on all aspects of implant dentistry, including retrospective and prospective studies, behavioral studies, in addition to laboratory, in vitro, and in vivo studies.  Additional projects focus on Dental Lasers and OTC products.

Robert E. Baier, PhD

Professor, Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences

Research interests include the surface characterization and improved preparation of dental restorative materials, with particular emphasis on new, safe and effective methods for sterilization such as glow discharge (plasma) treatment.Material/biosystem interactions are emphasized, employing a broad spectrum of advanced analytical techniques ranging from electron microscopy/spectroscopy to critical surface tension determination.Prevention of bioadhesion (such as dental plaque accumulation) or promotion of bioadhesion (for dental implants, for instance) can be controlled by tailoring materials surface properties to meet control criteria revealed by these methods.

Sebastian G. Ciancio, DDS

Professor and Chair, Department of Periodontics and Endodontics

Research interests are in the area of acid mucopolysaccharides, plaque control agents, clinical dental pharmacology, the role of antibodies in the management of periodontal disease, and treatment of dental hypersensitivity.

Robert E. Cohen, DDS, MS, PhD

Professor, Department of Periodontics and Endodontics

Our laboratory is studying the immunochemistry and cellular biochemistry of inflammatory and neoplastic diseases of the salivary glands, perio-dontal tissues, and other related structures such as kidney and skin. The goals of our reserach are to identify regulatory mechanisms important in gingival and salivary gland inflammation, to assist in the diagnosis and management of poorly differentiated salivary gland tumors, and to provide a foundation for genetic and pharmaceutical therapy of these disorders.

Heidi Crow, DMD, MS

Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and Burning Mouth Syndrome.  Specifically in TMD I am interested in imaging characteristics of the TMJ and am involved in TMD treatment protocols.  

Elaine L. Davis, PhD

Professor, Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences

Current research focuses on access to care, dental student attitudes, and attitudes and behaviors related to oral health.

Rosemary M. Dziak, PhD

Professor, Department of Oral Biology

Research is concerned with the cellular regulation of bone metabolism with emphasis on the mechanics of physiological and pathological bone loss.The role of intracellular mediators in the control of bone formation and resorption is studied directly using enriched populations of osteoblastic and osteoclastic cells isolated from rat calvaria.The effects of various bone resorptive and formative agents on changes in calcium uptake and nucleotide production, as well as prostaglandin and calmodulin in the mediation of hormonal effects.

Mira Edgerton, DDS, PhD

Research Professor, Department of Oral Biology

Innate immunity and antimicrobial defense mechanisms. Oral candidiasis is an increasing health issue. Incidence of oropharyngeal candidiasis has increased dramatically in the past 20 years due to increased antibiotic and pharmaceutic drug use and longer survival of people with compromised immune systems and cancer patients. Mortality from systemic C. albicans infections in immunocompromised patients is nearly 30%, even with aggressive treatment with antifungal drugs. These data point to a pressing need for improved drug therapies or means of enhancing innate immune mechanisms in immunocompromised and cancer patients. Understanding mechanisms by which salivary antimicrobial proteins exert candidacidal activity and use of these bioactive peptides as therapeutic agents has been the objective of our research program.

Yoli Gonzalez-Stucker, DDS, MS

Associate Professor, Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences

Dr. Gonzalez’s interests lie in the field of Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) and Orofacial Pain conditions; more specifically, in the areas of examiner training, reliability, assessment and diagnosis of these disorders. She continues to participate as co-investigator in multicenter studies addressing the diagnostic systems for TMD, longitudinal studies evaluating risk factors for the development of TMD and Orofacial Pain, and evaluation of biomechanics characteristics of the TMJ. In addition, she is involved in treatment modalities used in the management of TMD.

Violet Haraszthy, DDS, PhD

Professor, Department of Restorative Dentistry

Dr. Haraszthy’s research is mainly focuses on product testing, such as toothpastes mouthrinses. Most of these studies have a clinical component. The subjects would use the assigned product for a period of time or a control product and we obtain samples such as saliva, plaque from the subject’s mouth and perform a clinical exam. We also test these products in the laboratory for their effectiveness under in vitro condition. We test their effects on biofilm formation, of eliminating biofilm and killing oral bacteria. We are also involved in the identification of halitosis (bad breath) associated bacteria and testing products for effective treatment of this condition. Periimplantitis treatment is also an ongoing project. We grow biofilm on titanium discs and test various methods to eliminate the biofilm from the surfaces of the discs. We use electro-microscope to look at the surfaces before and after treatment. We also use culturing techniques to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment.

Jason Kay, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Oral Biology

The focus of the Kay lab is to increase our understanding of the cell biology of macrophages and dendritic cells, important players in all innate immune responses, including those that occur within the oral environment. Our studies focus on the mechanisms of the maturation, and cross-talk with other cellular processes, of phagocytosis, as well as the interactions between macrophages/DCs and oral microorganisms and how such microorganisms can alter the phagocytic process and maturation. We rely on a variety of techniques, including flow cytometry, microscopy, biochemistry, microbiology and molecular biology. Increasing our understanding of macrophage/DC and oral microbe interactions will increase our ability to effectively prevent and treat oral infections and their effects on systemic diseases.

Michelle Visser, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Oral Biology

The oral cavity is a unique environment, with large numbers of bacteria present as a polymicrobial biofilm in close contact with host tissues including epithelial cells, connective cells and underlying immune cells. One group of bacteria associated with this biofilm are oral spirochetes, such as Treponema denticola. One area of research in my laboratory focuses on determining how T. denticola and other spirochetes remain “under the radar” to evade the normally protective neutrophil response and impair associated key cellular processes such as directed cell migration (chemotaxis) and actin dynamics.

Jill Kramer, DDS, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Oral Biology

Dr. Kramer focuses her research on autoimmune conditions affecting the oral cavity. Present Research Interests include Initiating events in the development of Sjogren's syndrome with emphasis on innate immune dysregulation; B cell dysfunction in Sjogren's syndrome; Identification and targeting of chemotactic factors that contribute to disease pathogenesis.

Chris Li, MD, PhD

Professor, Department of Oral Biology

Bacterial genetics and Pathogenesis: My research is trying to understand the biology, genetics and pathogenesis of pathogenic spirochetes, including Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease), oral Treponema denticola (periodontal infections), and Brachyspira species (swine dysentery and human diarrheal disease).

Abhiram Maddi, DDS, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Periodontics and Endodontics

Dr. Maddi's current research work involves the study of cell wall biogenesis in Candida albicans, an oral pathogenic fungus. He is interested in developing therapeutics to target the cell wall in Candida albicans to treat oral and systemic candidiasis.

Thomas Mang, PhD

Research Associate Professor, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

The research conducted in Dr Mang’s lab is focused on the application of Photonics in biological applications. Currently activities include; participating in clinical studies involving the investigation of Low Level Laser Therapy for the treatment of Orofacial pain; traumatic brain injury and effects on individual astrocytes in vitro; the use of Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) for the treatment of infectious microorganisms and biofilm and the application of PDT for the diagnosis and treatment in oral oncology. Other interests include the development of new laser devices and laser tissue interactions for diagnostic and surgical applications.

Willard D. McCall, Jr., PhD

Professor, Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences

Research in this laboratory deals with neurophysiologic and bioengineering issues that impact on our understanding of jaw function and on the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of temporomandibular disorders. Special emphasis is given to the trigeminal neuromuscular system.Research interests include: electromyographic (EMG) studies of normal subjects and TMD patients; electrical activity of trigger points; computer processing of electro-myographic data; bite force measurements; and computer modeling of TMJ loading.

Anne E. Meyer, PhD

Research Associate Professor, Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences

Projects focus on interactions between biological systems and materials, in order to develop means to predict and control biological adhesion. Surface analytical techniques are applied to implants, biological fouling biomaterials, interfacial failure analysis, and contamination detection. The research addresses environmental, biomedical, and other industrial problems.In-vitro model systems include the use of parallel plate flow cells for control of fluid velocity, shear rate, and turbulence.

Richard Ohrbach, DDS, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences

Our current research includes experimental psychophysiological approaches to understanding the role of cognitive and affective components of stress as they relate to chronic pain experience and chronicity. This experimental work also includes methodological approaches that are more phenomenological in nature. We are also interested in methods of assessing masticatory behavior from the perspective of central control as influenced by cognitive and emotional states, and how that behavior within the masticatory system might be generalizable to motor systems elsewhere in the body impacted by pain experience, such as the lower back. Included with these experimental approaches is some emphasis on more basic methodological issues such as muscle activity measurement. We are also interested in clinical research: (1) ecological models of symptom change and longitudinal outcomes in TMD pain, and what factors influence those outcomes; (2) the statistical problem of how to manage longitudinal data analyses; (3) clinical assessment of pain disorders, and (4) validity of diagnostic taxonomic systems.

Rose-Anne Romano, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Oral Biology

My laboratory is interested in understanding the regulatory mechanisms of cell fate and lineage choices of epithelial stem and progenitor cells. We utilize genetic and genomic approaches to better understand tumorigenesis in tissues of the oral cavity and salivary glands.

Stefan Ruhl, DDS, PhD

Professor, Department of Oral Biology

Research in my laboratory encompasses the general area of oral infection and immunity with a major focus on adhesin-mediated interactions of oral bacteria with host salivary or cellular receptors. We investigate the proteins in saliva that are recognized by lectin-like microbial adhesins. It is our long-term goal to better understand the modulating role of salivary glycoproteins in supporting tissue tropism of a benign commensal oral microflora to the human oral cavity and in host defense against pathogenic microorganisms.

Frank A. Scannapieco, DMD, PhD

Professor and Chair, Department of Oral Biology

Microbial colonization of the oral cavity (particularly the binding of salivary amylase to S. gordonii); associations between oral health and systemic diseases.

Ashu Sharma, PhD

Professor, Department of Oral Biology

Bacterial pathogenesis and host response, bacterial genomics

Othman Shibly, DDS, MS

Assistant Professor, Department of Periodontics and Endodontics

Research interests involve mainly human clinical trials in gingivitis and periodontal disease, focusing on the role of chemical agents (local and systemic) as adjuncts to periodontal therapy. Specific studies involve clinical evaluation of safety and efficacy of oral hygiene devices, such as toothbrushes and irrigation devices, and chemical agents used in dentifrices, mouth rinses, and other delivery devices. Studies also involve the evaluation of pharmacologic medications and their impact on the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. Additional research involves evaluation of implants on periodontally compromised patients, and tobacco use cessation protocols and their impact in oral diseases.

Margaret Vickerman, DMD, PhD

Professor, Department of Periodontics and Endodontics, Department of Oral Biology

Microbiology research in the Vickerman lab is focused on the biological roles of commensal streptococci within complex mixed species biofilms on oral surfaces.  Our current interest is on interbacterial communication mediated by signaling peptides that enhance bacterial colonization and the exchange of DNA encoding virulence determinants and/or antibiotic resistance.  Projects employ molecular genetic approaches to investigate factors that favor maintaining the ecological balance of healthy bacteria on oral surfaces, and specifically targeting pathogenic microorganisms in oral infections.

Ding Xu, PhD 

Assistant Professor, Department of Oral Biology

The main interest of the lab is to understand how proteins interact with heparan sulfate (HS), a highly negatively charged linear polysaccharide, and the physiological significance of the interactions in bone remodeling, inflammation and vascular biology.

Shuying (Sheri) Yang, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Oral Biology

Our current research focuses on identifying the role and mechanism of novel or known genes in bone-related signal pathways and understanding how these genes regulate craniofacial and bone development and bone remodeling by using gene knockout technology. We are also working on gene therapy and stem cell mediated periodontal and craniofacial bone regeneration.