Tufts University School of Dental Medicine prides itself on the opportunities available for postdoctoral students to do research as part of their degree program. Students conduct research in a wide range of areas, such as clinical studies, dental materials, public health studies, educational research, and basic science research.
Finding a mentor
For your study, you must have a mentor who will be the Principal Investigator (PI) on your study. Students may not be PI. The PI is responsible for the conduct of the study, but you as the student will be running many aspects of the study, such as data collection. Here are some tips for finding a mentor for your study.
- Ask your professors in class. Approach your professors after class and ask them if they are currently involved in research. If they are there might be a study you can help them with. If they are not currently involved in research, ask them what their research interests are. Your interests might overlap.
- Search our mentor database. This database lists researchers either by name, type of research, or by fields of research. This is a great place to start your research mentor search if you know what type of research you want to conduct.
- Search the past Bates-Andrews Research Abstract Booklet. Each year this booklet is made compiling all the abstracts presented at the past years Bates-Andrews Research Day. This booklet has the most up to date information on the research activities of our faculty members. It can also give you ideas for your own research project. Search through old abstracts to find a mentor involved in your field of interest – Once you have the PDF open hit “Ctrl” “F” and search by name or keyword
- Email DRA. On occasion companies approach DRA to conduct a research study, and there might be an opportunity for a student to conduct the study. You can contact Katie Dunn (Katie.Dunn@tufts.edu).
Work with the biostatistics team
If you have questions about study design, sample size calculation, or your data analysis plan, please work with the Division of Biostatistics and Experimental Design. For more information about this division please visit their page. Please contact Dr. Matthew Finkelman for information regarding finding a statistician to work with.
Protocols and supporting documents
For your study you will need a protocol. A protocol is a document that details the conduct of a research study and includes the operational details of the study. It describes the background, rationale, objectives, design, methodology, statistical evaluation of the data, and organization of your project. To help you with writing your protocol click here for templates and checklists to guide you through the process. The protocol templates will guide you through adding the appropriate information needed for Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.
Many studies also require additional paperwork. Dental Research Administration (DRA) will help with determining what your study needs and has additional templates available for informed consent forms. Additionally, DRA can assist with writing information sheets, recruitment emails, advertisements, etc. Please contact Ann-Marie Billig for more information.
Institutional Review Board
An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a federally mandated organization of scientific and non-scientific persons, whose charge is to review research studies involving human subjects to ensure subject safety and welfare. While responsibility for the conduct of a research study ultimately lies with the Principal Investigator, an IRB’s goal is to ensure that any research study under its jurisdiction is in compliance with federal, state, and institutional regulations.
Here at the dental school we work with two IRB offices of Tufts: The Tufts Health Sciences IRB and the Tufts Social, Behavioral & Educational Research IRB. DRA will prepare the paperwork for IRB submission and determining which IRB will review the study. All studies must be processed by DRA and all submissions to the IRB must go through DRA. Please contact Ann-Marie Billig for more information.
All investigators on a study must complete mandatory research training. For all studies, investigators must complete Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) training. For more information, please contact Ann-Marie Billig. For clinical studies all investigators must also complete Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training. Please visit our training opportunities page for more information.
Donations, gifts, and corporate funding
If you are interested in having products donated or having corporate sponsorship of a project, please contact Katie Dunn for more information. All research funding, gifts, and donations must go through DRA.
Additional steps for postdoctoral students
If you are an MS or DSC student, please refer to your handbook more information regarding research steps necessary for your program.
For certificate students completing research, please work with your chair or research advisor in your department to determine steps necessary for your program.
More Information regarding postdoctoral student research process
Please see the following presentations for more details regarding the research process: