Master of Science in Oral Biology
The Master of Science in Oral Biology is offered through the School of Dentistry and is housed in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. The program is designed primarily to provide advanced scientific training for graduates of dental programs and students enrolled in a clinical specialty program at Texas A&M School of Dentistry. It is also well-suited for dental specialists from countries other than the United States who desire to obtain or improve their background in dental research. For most of the graduate clinical programs at the School of Dentistry, there is significant overlap in coursework with the MS in Oral Biology. It is especially appropriate for those clinical students with stronger academic motivation or who may wish to pursue a combined career of clinical practice and teaching in a clinical department.
Current dental students at the School of Dentistry are eligible for this MS program. These students work with advisors in Biomedical Sciences to implement a specially-designed MS in Oral Biology curriculum. The goal is to provide research training that will give the student an excellent background for subsequent advanced research training that could lead to a PhD or specialized clinical training.
Non-dental students with a baccalaureate degree in one of the biological sciences are also eligible to apply. This MS can provide non-dental students with the background for a more advanced degree. It provides additional training to individuals, such as secondary school science teachers or laboratory technicians, who may benefit from increased scientific knowledge.
All required courses within this program are taught at the School of Dentistry, in Dallas. On occasion, with prior approval, optional courses may be taken at a local, non-Texas A&M University college. This program may include research collaboration with investigators throughout the world.
The MS program is administered by the OBIO/OCBS Graduate Program Committee and has representatives from the various research focus areas within the Department of Biomedical Sciences, as well as clinical faculty from other departments or specialty areas. The Department of Biomedical Sciences serves as a hub for research at the School of Dentistry. Additional interdisciplinary and translational research opportunities are provided by research faculty located in the clinical departments or specialty areas of Advanced Education in General Dentistry, Comprehensive Dentistry, Dental Public Health, Diagnostic Sciences, Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics, Periodontics, Prosthodontics, and Public Health Sciences. The program faculty interests range widely within a central research focus of craniofacial biology. These research interests include:
- Bioengineering and Regeneration. This focus area offers a wide range of research projects using bioengineering scaffolds and delivery vehicles needed for tissue regeneration, plus biomechanics of dental tissues (particularly dentin and bone, with the application of this data to the design of new dental materials).
- Craniofacial Development and Genetics. New discoveries in genetic epidemiology and the functional genomics of commonly inherited disorders have opened up avenues for early diagnosis and intervention.
- Mineralized Tissue Biology. This area of study includes a broad spectrum of topics covering cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions during organogenesis and structural biology.
- Translational Research. A highly interdisciplinary field aimed at developing a new cadre of biomedical researchers trained formally in translational and clinical research.
- Neuroscience, Pain, and Sleep Apnea. This area explores craniofacial pain pathways using TMJ dysfunction as a model along with sleep disordered breathing.
- Microbiology and Immunology. Molecular mechanisms of host-microbe interactions of homeostasis and dysbiosis for oral systemic health.
Students enrolled in a clinical specialty program will adhere to Clinical Track MS in Oral Biology requirements. Students not enrolled in a clinical specialty program will adhere to Basic Science Track MS in Oral Biology requirements. All MS students will complete a research project and successfully defend a thesis.