Student awarded substantial NIDCR grant
Posted on 3/19/2014
Marybeth Francis, D.M.D., Ph.D candidate

Over the next five years, D.M.D., Ph.D. candidate Marybeth Francis will receive $485,625 grant as part of a fellowship funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Ms. Francis’ goal for this fellowship is to gain valuable skills in academic, clinical, and research related to dentistry to lay the foundation for a career as a dentist scientist. This award is an essential first step in a career as a successful, funded scientist.

The fellowship is a chance for Ms. Francis to study diabetes and periodontitis, chronic inflammatory diseases having a significant effect on public health. Chronic inflammatory diseases such as periodontal disease are greatly exacerbated in diabetic patients. The goal of Ms. Francis’ research is to elucidate the mechanism of the exacerbated periodontitis in diabetic patients and to identify possible treatments.

This award also gives Ms. Francis an opportunity to communicate scientific research at conferences, national, and international meetings. By presenting her own research, listening to other research presentations, and networking she can form bonds with like minds and collaborate with others. Participating at conferences affords an opportunity to further understand topics directly relevant to her project, possibly integrating new ideas into her own research. The interdisciplinary nature of Ms. Francis’ project provides opportunities for working with experts in periodontitis, diabetes and epigenetic, as well as allowing for the advancing of dental medicine across several disciplines. The translational implications of her project are appropriate to the pursuit of both clinical and scientific training during her fellowship.

Upon completion of the DMD/PhD program and subsequent post doctoral and specialty training (during which time she will apply for a K award) Ms. Francis plans on seeking a tenure track faculty position as a dentist scientist using her hybrid perspective in basic science research and clinical practice. Once she has her own lab, she plans on becoming an R01 investigator, solidifying her position of leadership within the dental research community.

Ms. Francis would like to acknowledge Dr. Luan and Dr. Diekwisch for their expertise and assistance this past summer in helping prepare her NIDCR application.