NIDCR Summer Dental Student Award

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A Summer Research Program for Selected Dental Students

Qualified dental students will spend a summer doing research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.  

Summer Dental Students

About the Program

To expose future dentists to careers in research, the NIDCR offers an outstanding summer research training opportunity in its intramural research labs for dental students.  The NIDCR Summer Dental Student Award is designed to give talented dental students hands-on research experience and exposure to the latest advances in oral health research.  Summer Dental Student Awardees are assigned to mentors who conduct research in the students’ areas of interest. Participation in the program may result in presentation of research findings at a scientific meeting or co-authorship of scientific publications.

Students will work alongside outstanding scientists using the most advanced technologies in one of the following research areas: 

  • Adherence and virulence factors of oral bacteria
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Bacterial communication
  • Biomimetics
  • Bone/mineralized tissue formation, pathology, and gene expression
  • Calcium signaling
  • Cartilage structure and development
  • Cell adhesion molecules
  • Cell signaling and receptors
  • Composition and function of extracellular matrix
  • Cytokines and inflammation
  • Gene therapy
  • Genetic regulation of nerve and blood vessel regeneration
  • Noncollagenous proteins of bone and teeth 
  • Pain mechanisms and management
  • Population genetics and gene mapping
  • Protease biochemistry
  • Protein glycosylation in development
  • Regulation, cell growth and oral carcinogenesis 
  • Salivary gland development, function and dysfunction
  • Salivary proteomics
  • Stem Cells
  • Taste

For additional information about NIDCR labs, investigators, and recent publications, please visit the NIDCR Division of Intramural Research.

The NIDCR provides a competitive stipend for all summer researchers.  Acceptance of this award requires a minimum eight-week commitment.  The nominating dental school must agree to support air or ground transportation for their students.  Although housing is not supplied by NIDCR, student housing resource guides are provided. 

NIDCR will accept online applications for the Summer Dental Student Award from mid-November – January 15th.  All supplemental application information must be submitted by February 8th.​

For additional information on how to apply, please see the section below on How to Apply, or contact Dr. Belinda Hauser, Acting Program Director,, (301) 752-6265.

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  • Applicants must be enrolled in accredited U.S. dental schools.
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent residence is required.
  • The nominating dental school must provide support for round trip transportation for the student. (This must be stated in the dean's nomination letter).
  • Applicant must work for a minimum of 8 consecutive weeks.
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Application Dates

Action Date
Applications accepted Beginning mid-November 
Application deadline January 15
Supplemental materials

February 8​
Applicants notified Between mid-February to mid-March
Selected awardees arrive
at NIH

May – July 
Awardees depart NIH June - August 
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How to Apply

Complete the program application that is available on the Summer Internship Program web site.

The complete online application package also must contain:

  • A resume/curriculum vitae
  • Description of applicant's research experience
  • Personal statement from applicant discussing areas of research interest and reasons for applying to the program
  • Two letters of recommendation from professors/mentors/deans

The following supplemental application materials must be sent directly to the NIDCR Office of Education (see address below):

  • Nominating letter from the dean of the dental school highlighting student's accomplishments.  The dean's letter must clearly state that the dental school will provide round trip transportation to and from Washington, D.C. for the student.
  • Official college, graduate, and dental school transcripts
  • Current "Letter of Good Standing" from dental school admissions office
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The NIDCR Summer Student Research Committee will review the applications and select awardees. Important considerations will include the academic record, letters of recommendation, and potential for success in the research programs.

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Award notices will be mailed between mid-February and mid-March. Upon acceptance of the award, supplemental information will be mailed, including:

  • NIH proposed arrival dates
  • Housing information
  • Name of matched mentor and laboratory 

Laboratory selections are contingent upon availability of mentor, laboratory space, and the decision of the NIDCR Summer Student Research Committee.

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Additional Information

Send supplemental application materials to:

Belinda R. Hauser, Ph.D.
Training Director, Office of Training and Education
Intramural Training Director
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Division of Intramural Research
Building 30, Room 516
30 Convent Drive, MSC 4310
Bethesda, MD 20892-4310
Phone: (240) 597-6828
E-mail address:

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Last Reviewed
November 2023