How to Find a Faculty Mentor

There are several ways to find a research mentor. For example, you could begin the search by talking with the instructor of a course that you enjoy and that includes topics that may be of interest to you for a research project. 

Tips for Finding a Mentor

  • Research mentors encourage students to come with their own ideas, even if those ideas are not suitable for an initial research experience. By expressing your own ideas, you demonstrate that you are taking some responsibility for your research.
  • Read a recent article by your potential mentor, so that you have a better understanding of the focus of their research.
  • Send your current resume to a potential mentor when you are asking for an appointment to talk with them about research.

Meet the Mentors


Hacer Aksel, DDS, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Periodontics and Endodontics
240 Squire Hall
Phone: (716) 829-3847

Research Focus: Regenerative endodontic treatment protocols; Vital pulp therapy; Root canal disinfection; Endodontic sealers

Thikriat Al-Jewair.

Thikriat Al-Jewair, DDS, MSc, MS, FRCD(C)
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Orthodontics
140 Squire Hall
Phone: (716) 829-6190

Research Focus: Orthodontic treatment outcomes; Adult and pediatric sleep-disordered breathing; Artificial intelligence in orthodontics; Evidence-based dentistry/orthodontics

Praveen Arany.

Praveen Arany, DDS, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Oral Biology
553 BRB
Phone: (716) 829-3479

Research Focus: Clinical translational research; Lasers; Biophotonics; TGF beta signaling; Wound healing; Smart biomaterials


Patricia I. Diaz, DDS, PhD
Professor of Empire Innovation; Director, UB Microbiome Center; Department of Oral Biology
621 BRB
Phone: (716) 829-5822

Research Focus: Oral microbiome; Inter-species interactions; Periodontitis; Cancer chemotherapy; Oral mucositis; Candidiasis; Bacteria-Candida interactions; Bioinformatics


Jennifer Frustino, DDS, PhD 
Director of Oncology Research
462 Grider St.
Buffalo, NY 14215
Phone: (716) 898-1461

Research Focus: Oncology clinical trials; HPV and HIV co-infection; Photobiomodulation therapy; Oral potentially malignant disorders

Laertis Ikonomou.

Laertis Ikonomou, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Oral Biology
619 BRB
Phone: (716) 829-6206

Research Focus: Bioethics of cell and gene therapies; Developmental biology; Pluripotent stem cell biology; Regenerative medicine

Kathryn Kauffman.

Kathryn Kauffman, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Oral Biology
617 BRB
Phone: (716) 829-5830

Research Focus: Microbiome; Bacteriophages; Ecology


Keith L. Kirkwood, DDS, PhD
Senior Associate Dean for Research; Professor, Department of Oral Biology
645 BRB
Phone: (716) 829-6667

Research Focus: Myeloid cell biology; Periodontal disease; Cancer progression


Jill Kramer, DDS, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Oral Biology 
517 BRB
Phone: (716) 829-2551

Research Focus: Sjogren’s disease; Immunology; Mouse models; Toll-like receptors


Rui Li, DDS, PhD
Assistant Professor, Director of International Dentist Program, Department of Restorative Dentistry
235 Squire Hall
Phone: (716) 829-5078

Research Focus: Digital dentistry; Dental materials; Antifungal treatment


Michael R. Markiewicz, DDS, MD, MPH, FACS
Professor, Chair, and Associate Dean for Hospital Affairs, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
112 Squire Hall
Phone: ‭(716) 829-5425

Research Focus: Head and neck cancer; Microvascular surgery; Facial trauma and reconstruction; Skull base surgery; Pediatric cleft and craniofacial surgery

Rubelisa Oliveira.

Rubelisa Oliveira, DDS, MS, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Periodontics and Endodontics
250 Squire Hall
Phone: (716) 829-3845

Research Focus: Oral health; Public health; Health disparities; Health equity; Epidemiology


Lucila Piasecki, DDS, BDS, MS, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Periodontics and Endodontics
240D Squire Hall
Phone: (716) 829-6197

Research Focus: Endodontics; Tooth apex; Endodontic instruments; MicroCT; CBCT; Tooth anatomy


Stefan Ruhl, DDS, PhD
Professor, Department of Oral Biology
649 BRB
Phone: (716) 829-6073

Research Focus: Saliva; Salivary proteins; Microbial adhesion; Biomaterials; Evolution of saliva


Camila Sabatini, DDS, PhD 
Associate Professor, Department of Restorative Dentistry
215H Squire Hall
Phone: (716) 829-6343

Research Focus: Bioactive restorative materials; Antibacterial resins; Regenerative medicine; Therapies for pulp-dentin repair


Frank A. Scannapieco, DDS, PhD
SUNY Distinguished Professor, Department of Oral Biology
353 BRB
Phone: (716) 829-3373


Michelle Visser, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Oral Biology
513 BRB
Phone: (716) 829-3943

Research Focus: Microbiology; Immunology; Innate; Periodontitis; Systemic disease; Scaffold; Tissue healing

Ding Xu.

Ding Xu, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Oral Biology
655 BRB
Phone: (716) 829-3509

Research Focus: Bone biology; Inflammation; Craniofacial biology; Biochemistry; Structural biology