Students from all clinics of the Faculty of Dentistry are enrolled in the Centre for Translational Medicine Ph.D. program, and they are all making great progress in their research. Their topics are varied, ranging from the application of artificial intelligence in dentistry to oral surgery. In February, the Dentistry Group (Year 1) was recognized as the best group of the month.

The Dentistry Group (Year 1) of the Centre for Translational Medicine has three group leaders, Prof. Gábor Varga, Dr. Beáta Kerémi, and Dr. Dániel Végh. They are responsible for 20 students, assisted by supervisors. “Last year and the year before, a significant number, more than ten students applied for the Ph.D. program, but this year's enrollment was even higher, we were amazed. We have students from all dental clinics and theoretical departments of the university. We also have international students who entered Ph.D. training. The majority of Dentistry Group's students are residents or specialists” said Gábor Varga.

In the first year of training, Ph.D. students spend four days of the week on research and one day on clinical work, and later this balance reverses. “Learning research methodology is crucial, because dentistry is a manual profession, making it challenging to conduct serious scientific work and achieve scientific results. In Europe, the United States, and China, only the strongest centers publish breakthrough studies, making it difficult to compete. Translational medicine might change this by providing serious tools to our dentists. This includes a well-organized infrastructure, and the help of methodological advisors and statisticians. In the first year, students learn the basics of scientific work, and later, they might help others as methodological advisors.”

The research topics of the first-year Ph.D. students cover a wide range. For example, they deal with prostheses and implants, as well as the optical and mechanical properties of dental ceramics. One of the students studies periodontal diseases, while an other investigates the properties of enamel and dentin. One student is evaluating the latest advances in digital orthodontics in his Ph.D. work. An interesting research topic is the exploration of HPV-associated diseases in different anatomical areas and their prevention. There are research topics about the application of artificial intelligence, and about oral surgery – for example, there are serious questions about what kind of surgery to perform on a child with cleft palate, and how to structure these surgical procedures. Another hot topic is that many children have soft enamel during tooth eruption. This issue affects 15-20% of children, and the cause is unclear. One Ph.D. student is investigating the potential role of childhood antibiotic use in this condition. So it is remarkable that the group members’ topics are very diverse.

(Szabó Emese)