Academics & Faculty

UCLA School of Dentistry Is Only Dental School Awarded Howard Hughes Medical Institute 2007 Biomedical Research Institutions Initiative Grant

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Imaginebeing only 16 years old and working side by side at a lab bench with notedscientists at one of the nation's foremost research universities. Beginning inSeptember, this dream will become a reality for some fortunate Los Angeles high school students with aninterest in oral health.

Fundingthe vision is the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), which announced June21 that the UCLA School of Dentistry was the only dental school in the countryto be awarded an HHMI 2007 Biomedical Research Institutions Initiative grant.

Theaward, which grants a total of $748,337 over five years, will enable the schoolto implement an extensive pre-college science education program to introducegifted high school juniors and seniors from disadvantaged backgrounds tocareers in oral health and scientific research.

"As aresearch-driven university on the forefront of advances in dental medicine, theUCLA School of Dentistry is an ideal institution to nurture a passion forscience and discovery in young people," said No-Hee Park,the school's dean.

High schoolstudents enrolled in the College Bound of Greater Los Angeles program (www.collegeboundca.org) and ProjectGRAD Los Angeles(www.projectgradla.org) who areconsidering a college major in the sciences will be encouraged to participate.

During junioryear, high school students will attend monthly science workshops, followed byan intensive six-week, in-residence summer research experience at a School of Dentistry laboratory on campus. Duringsenior year, students will prepare their findings for a scientific postercompetition at the annual June meeting of the American Association for theAdvancement of Science, Pacific Division.

Marvin Marcus,chair of the division of public health and community dentistry at the School ofDentistry, is project director of the HHMI grant, and Carl Maida, adjunctprofessor of public health and community dentistry, is the co-director. School of Dentistryfaculty members Mo Kang, Jeanne Nervina, Ichiro Nishimura, No-Hee Park,Wenyuan Shi, Sotirios Tetradis, Kang Ting and David Wong will implement theresearch initiative by welcoming students into their laboratories.

"Thisunprecedented funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute will enable UCLAto make great strides in expanding the pipeline for future dentist-scientists,"Marcus said. "We look forward to providing an exceptional learning experiencethat raises young peoples' awareness of career opportunities in oral healthresearch."

The UCLA Schoolof Dentistry is one of 31 institutions selected for a HHMI Biomedical ResearchInstitutions award, out of a pool of 127 applicants. The largest privatelyfunded education initiative of its kind in the United States, HHMI's grantsprogram enhances science education for students at all levels, from theearliest grades through advanced training. Since 1988, HHMI has awardedapproximately $1.5 billion in grants.

The UCLA School of Dentistry is dedicatedto improving the oral health of the people of California, the nation and the world and hasestablished an international reputation for its teaching, research, patientcare and public service initiatives. The school provides education and trainingprograms that develop leaders in dental education, research, the profession andthe community; conducts research programs that generate new knowledge, promoteoral health and investigate the cause, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of oral disease; and delivers patient‑centeredoral health care to the community and state. For more information, visit www.dentistry.ucla.edu.

UCLA is California'slargest university, with an enrollment of nearly 37,000 undergraduate andgraduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer more than 300 degreeprograms and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadthand quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuingeducation and athletic programs. Four alumni and five faculty have been awardedthe Nobel Prize.

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