GSDM Marks Undergraduate Students’ Participation in Research

August 12, 2014

(l–r) Dr. Paula K. Friedman, Suzanne Krishfield, Taymiah Mahmood, Maxmilian Wei, Dr. Maria Kukuruzinska, and Trevor Packer

(l–r) Dr. Paula K. Friedman, Suzanne Krishfield, Taymiah Mahmood, Maxmilian Wei, Dr. Maria Kukuruzinska, and Trevor Packer

On July 25, 2014, Research hosted a small celebration for high school and undergraduate students who participated in research projects at the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) this summer. Light refreshments were enjoyed, while students and their faculty mentors were given an opportunity to share their research and learning experiences with one another.

Attracting young students who are considering careers in dental research is a priority for the Research Office at GSDM. As a part of this initiative, the School has become actively involved in several programs that offer students an opportunity to be trained by GSDM faculty in a university setting. Students come to GSDM through a variety of channels and from diverse educational backgrounds. All share a keen interest in the field of scientific research.

Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter said, “Supporting undergraduate research at the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, by participating in programs such as UROP, RISE, and RSI, is important to our School’s mission of providing an outstanding service to the community and promoting lifelong learning.” He continued, “I commend the outstanding work of the student researchers and their respective mentors.”

Within the last year, GSDM has hosted 10 undergraduate students participating in research. Four of these students conducted their training during the 2014 summer term as part of Boston University’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). UROP is a university-wide program that is designed to help full-time BU undergrads become involved in research on campus. Each UROP student was paired with a GSDM faculty mentor and assigned a research project, which can be completed on either a volunteer basis or for academic credit. The UROP summer training session began in June and ran for a total of 10 weeks.

The participating students were: Marisa Borchardt, mentored by Dr. Raffi Miller, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of General Dentistry; Selene Ayuso, mentored by Dr. Serge Dibart, Chair, Department of Periodontology; Suzanne Krishfield, mentored by Dr. Paula K. Friedman, Professor, Department of General Dentistry; and Taymiah Mahmood, mentored by Dr. Salomon Amar, Professor, Departments of Molecular & Cell Biology and Periodontology. The four UROP students are expected to present their projects as poster presentations in October 2014 on the Charles River Campus.

The Research Internship in Science and Engineering (RISE) at Boston University is a mentorship program that places academically motivated high school seniors in laboratories across campus for a six-week internship. Since June, the School has hosted RISE student Alex Hong, who is mentored by Dr. Salomon Amar.

Over the summer, GSDM also participated in the Research Science Institute (RSI), a science and engineering program offered by the Center for Excellence in Education that selects promising high school students from across the country to participate in college-level research. This program is hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is where the students live for six weeks while attending their research internships at various research institutions in the Boston area. RSI student Maxmilian Wei was mentored by GSDM Associate Dean for Research, Dr. Maria Kukuruzinska, and Research Technician, Trevor Packer, in the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology.

Dr. Kukuruzinska believes that having undergraduate and high school students more involved in research at the School is beneficial for both our School and the community. She says, “Encouraging student involvement in research increases our program’s visibility, while also helping to prepare scientifically driven students for careers in research. I would strongly encourage GSDM faculty to continue to participate in these very rewarding mentoring programs.”

If you are interested in learning more about GSDM’s participation in undergraduate or high school student research placement programs, please contact Afaf Hourani at