The Predoctoral Research Training Fellowship (PRTF) program at Texas A&M College of Dentistry offers a mentored experience in which dental students work hands-on with faculty researchers. The program has provided valuable educational experiences to predoctoral students for more than 25 years. The principal goals of the PRTF Program are:
- to enhance the educational experience of predoctoral dental students and
- to encourage and facilitate development of the future generation of dental clinician-scientists and educators.
Predoctoral research fellowships funded by the Baylor Oral Health Foundation (BOHF) provide short-term stipend support for up to 2 months, principally during the summer months, for mentored research training for dental students. BOHF Fellowships may be awarded on a competitive basis, dependent on available funding and participation demand. BOHF Fellows are also provided the opportunity to present their research projects at the annual meeting of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) and at the annual Texas A&M College Student Research Day. Students whose presentations at Student Research Day are judged to be the best are selected to represent College of Dentistry at the annual Hinman Student Research Symposium in Memphis, TN.
Eligibility to Participate
Dental students in good standing are encouraged t apply for a PRTF fellowship. The student must present a record of study and experience that is predictive of success in the PRTF program. Applicants must have an overall grade point average of 3.0 or better at College of Dentistry and have no current grades of "F" or "I".
The mentor must be a member of the Graduate Faculty of College of Dentistry. As the mentor will provide direction and guidance for the student in the course of the research training, it is expected that the mentor will have a record of ongoing productivity in research. Students are strongly encouraged to contact potential mentors as early as possible, and to arrange their proposed program with a mentor by no later than 4-6 weeks prior to the deadline for the PRTF application.
The PRTF is a mentored training program, thus it is expected that the mentor will design a stand-alone project for the trainee. The student project may be part of on-going research of the mentor, however should present the student trainee the opportunity to learn how to write a proposal for a specific scientific question, conduct the research and present the project results in poster or oral format. The project scope should take approximately 2 months to complete. Surveys are generally not considered appropriate projects for this program.
Expectations for Student Research Fellows and Mentors
All Predoctoral Research Fellows are required to participate in weekly seminars on Responsible Conduct in Research. In addition, Fellows will attend all special research-oriented lectures and seminars that are held throughout the summer.
Student Scholars & Research Day
Predoctoral Research Fellows are required to exhibit a presentation during the College of Dentistry's Student Scholars & Research Day, which is held in April each year.
Presentation at AADR/IADR
Predoctoral Research Fellows and their faculty mentors are encouraged to present their research at the annual meeting of the American Association for Dental Research. Limited travel funds may be available for Predoctoral Research Fellows who are presenting this research. Selected Fellows may be chosen to represent the College of Dentistry in student research competitions within Texas and nationally. If chosen to compete, the College of Dentistry will pay the Fellow's travel expenses.
Thanks to the generosity of the Baylor Oral Health Foundation, financial support is provided for stipends and travel expenses. Funds available to support the PRTF, however, are limited and the number of Predoctoral Fellowships may vary from year to year.
As the amount of funds available varies, so will the number and levels of stipends for Predoctoral Fellows. The maximum total stipend is $1,200 but may be adjusted according to the Fellow's schedule.
Research Supply Budget
The research supply budget of the Predoctoral Research Fellow's project is the responsibility of the mentor and/or sponsoring department.
Funds may be provided for at least partial support for travel to the AADR/IADR meeting(s) provided the student is presenting a paper/abstract based on the research accomplished as part of their Predoctoral Research Fellowship. It is expected that the mentor and/or sponsoring department will provide additional funds necessary for student travel. Travel funds must be applied for separately. These limited travel funds are only available to D0 and D1 students. The expenses for D2 and D3 students traveling to research meetings to present research are the responsibility of the mentor and/or sponsoring department. Students who worked in research laboratories but did not participate in the PRTF are not eligible for travel funds and their travel expenses are the responsibility of the investigator for whom they worked and/or the associated department.
The Predoctoral Student Fellowship application must be completed by the student and the mentor, both individually and collectively, and consists of the following:
- Student's Statement - to be completed by the student applicant
- Mentor's Statement - to be completed by the student's mentor
- Research Proposal - to be completed on a collaborative basis primarily by the student applicant but with appropriate input and guidance by the mentor
- Institutional Review and Compliance - Review/approval for use of human subject by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and for animals by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is not required at the time of submission. However, IRB and IACUC review of projects occur once per month and applicants should take into consideration that final compliance approval of the project could be delayed due to timing of the IRB or IACUC reviews or the necessity for revisions to be submitted.
Students are asked submit a letter of intent to apply for a Predoctoral Research Fellowship in late January to early February. The letters of intent help the Associate Dean for Research Office plan funding levels. The deadline for submission of applications for Predoctoral Research Fellowships is the fourth Friday in March. All parts of the application must be submitted at the same time, partial applications will not be considered.