Gain Experience and Insight

The School of Dental Medicine is a nationally recognized center for dental research. Students who take advantage of research opportunities become far more knowledgeable of their profession regardless of whether or not they choose a career in dental research.

Participation in research:

  • Encourages critical review and analysis of scientific design — skills crucial to the development of clinical competence in diagnosing and treating patients
  • Provides insight into additional career alternatives; some participants have chosen to pursue careers in academic dentistry following their research
  • Allows students to interact and work with faculty under more informal circumstances; many students work with a single faculty member on research in a specific area that extends over three or four years
  • May lead to publication of research in scientific journals, as well as travel for presentation of data at national and international meetings

While there is no requirement for students to become involved in research while completing the requirements for the DDS program, they are encouraged to do so.

Student Research Timeline

Dental Student Year

Potential research opportunities


  • Volunteer
  • Apply for Summer Dental Research Program
  • Attend Student Research Day

Rising D2

  • Participate in Summer Dental Research Program


  • Continue research
  • Present at Student Research Day
  • Submit abstracts to scientific meetings
  • Apply for NIDCR Summer Dental Student Award

Rising D3

  • Participate in Summer Dental Research Program (repeat) OR NIDCR Summer Research Program


  • Continue research
  • Present at Student Research Day
  • Submit abstracts to scientific meetings OR NIH Medical Research Scholars Program (Full year)

Rising D4

  • Participate in Summer Dental Research Program (repeat) OR NIDCR Summer Research Program


  • Continue research
  • Present at Student Research Day
  • Submit abstracts and attend scientific meetings

Graduate With Honors

By compiling the results of completed research into a thesis and presenting the results of their efforts to the members of the Student Research & Honors Committee, students may graduate with thesis honors — a designation noted on the diploma.

How to Get Funding

Attempts are made to subsidize participants whenever possible. However, there is not enough funding available to support all students who are interested in doing research. A small stipend is available from the Dean's Office for DDS students who have been selected to participate in the Summer Dental Research Program. Application for participation in the Summer Dental Research Program is a 2-step process: (1) submission of a Letter of Intent in the Fall semester and (2) submission of a research proposal in the Spring semester (typically January or February). The student's research mentor must be involved in both parts of this process. Proposals are evaluated by the school's Student Research & Honors Committee, which makes recommendations for funding to the Senior Associate Dean for Research. 

In a research-intensive laboratory, funding priority is given to graduate research students in that department’s degree program. Funding for PhD students usually has a higher priority than funding for MS or DDS students. Research support for non-PhD students, however, sometimes can be arranged with funds from government-, foundation-, or industry-sponsored research grants.

Informal Research Opportunities

Many students want to do research but choose not to participate in a formal program.

Students may participate in the annual SDM Student Research Day as long as the mentor approves.

Research not in the lab, can be done in policy, regulatory, public health and patient centered research.  

Other Avenues to Discover Research Opportunities

  • SDM-JSMBS class instructors
  • UB News
  • SDM Shout Outs
  • SDM Events - CE programs, Buffalo Niagara local events
  • Student Dental Research Group
  • Prior research/peer group