Zach Vogel was looking for something to do last summer, between his first and second years at the UMKC School of Dentistry, when he got an email about a research program. He seized the opportunity and, besides his resulting research findings, discovered that he really enjoys research.
“I like the logical way that research addresses the unknown and goes about figuring out how to solve a problem,” he said. “It was my first extensive research experience, and if the opportunity presents itself, I would do more research.”
Vogel was one of eight School of Dentistry students presenting posters Wednesday at the UMKC Health Sciences Research Summit. The 100-entrant event also drew students from biological sciences, computing and engineering, medicine, nursing and pharmacy.
Vogel’s research involved using grape-seed extract to improve the bonding of composite fillings. Specifically, he studied whether the extract is less effective if a tooth’s dentin is less than ideal. He said his research found that the quality of dentin didn’t affect the bonding.
Some other students’ topics were similarly clinical, ranging from intracellular signaling for muscle-bone crosstalk to stem cells’ regulation of jaw length. Others addressed various aspects of dental education, from research requirements for dental hygiene students to the effects of community service.
Besides Vogel, the school’s Student Research Summit presenters were Karen Davis, Nathan Haverkamp, Elizabeth Lukens, Jaime Masunaga, Bryson Nakatani, Brianne Schmiegelow and Megan Yamaguchi. Mary Walker, DDS, PhD, the School of Dentistry’s associate dean of research and graduate programs, was the primary research mentor.
In addition to the student summit at UMKC, a half-dozen students from the summer research program will present their findings at the International Association for Dental Research meeting in Vancouver in June. Walker said Vogel’s poster also was chosen to represent the School of Dentistry in the association’s student research competition.
Vogel said he had multiple mentors for his research, “and they all were helpful in their own ways. A big part of my project’s success was the help I had.”