NIDCR Dental Specialty and PhD Programs (DSPP) (K12)

Programs listed alphabetically by State:


University of California Los Angeles School of Dentistry, Los Angeles, CA
Program Director: Ichiro Nishimura, DDS, DMSc, DMD
(310) 794-7612
Program Coordinator: Muneeza A. Irfani
(310) 206-8045

UCLA Dental Specialty PhD Program (UCLA DSPP) is a new career development program for a small but selected group of dentists who pursue the dual training in dental specialty clinical training and rigorous scientific research training leading to the specialty certificate and PhD degree.  UCLA DSPP Scholars are expected to take the leadership role in advancing patient-oriented challenges facing the current and future of dentistry.

DSPP Dental Specialties: Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics Prosthodontics(optional Maxillofacial Prosthetics)

PhD research areas: Oral Cancer & Cancer Biology, Craniofacial Biology & Bioengineering, Oral Microbiome & Immunity, Oral Dental & Craniofacial Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine, Big Data to Knowledge for Oral, Dental & Craniofacial Research, Neuroscience & Neuronal Molecular Pathology, Public Health & Community Dentistry

View the UCLA School of Dentistry Research Division website


University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Ann Arbor, MI
Program Director: Vesa M. Kaartinen, PhD
Program Manager: Ms. Kimberly Smith
(734) 763-3388

The Accelerating Interventions for Craniofacial Diseases and Disorders via DSPP program is an integrated program that’s constructed to build advanced knowledge and skill sets in scholars who aspire to become clinician-scientists to advance our understanding of craniofacial diseases and disorders. The ultimate goal of the program is to prepare the scholars to become leaders, educators, and researchers in the field of craniofacial diseases and disorders to advance academic dentistry and public health.

DSPP Dental Specialties: Endodontics, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, and Periodontics. 

PhD research areas: Objective to advance the research and clinical management of craniofacial diseases and disorders, scholars’ PhD dissertation areas may include (but not limited to) Craniofacial, Skeletal Biology & Diseases, Cancer Biology & Therapeutics, and Tissue Engineering & Regeneration.

View the Dental Specialty and PhD Program (DSPP) website


New York 

University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, Buffalo, NY
Program Director: Keith L. Kirkwood, DDS, PhD
Program Manager: Lindsay Chakan

Buffalo Oral-Research and Specialty Training (BORST) Program: The overarching objective of BORST is to foster the development of dental specialist-scientist scholars focused on oral, dental and craniofacial research through mentored interdisciplinary research training opportunities in oral health, craniofacial biology and bioengineering. BORST provides support for dentists to engage in clinical specialty training and PhD research training for dentist-scientists in basic, translational or bioengineering sciences important to dental, oral or craniofacial health. 

DSPP Dental Specialties: Periodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Orthodontics

PhD research areasBORST strategic areas of research focus include (i) immunology and innate defenses, (ii) relationship of oral pathogens to systemic disease, (iii) saliva and salivary glands, (iv) microbial pathogenesis of oral organisms, and (v) bone and connective tissues/tissue engineering.

View the Buffalo Oral-Research and Specialty Training (BORST) Program website

Last Reviewed
October 2023