Education: Dual-Degree Student Keeps Research Alive

Student Kyu-Lim LeeUFCD D.M.D./Ph.D. student KyuLim Lee is one example of why the future of dentistry is so bright. Lee arrived at UFCD in 2013 with a broad interest in oral health, sparked by her undergraduate degree in food science and human nutrition from the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences with an emphasis on nutritional sciences.

Lee knows that although scientific discovery takes time and diligence, it is highly worthwhile. “My experience has taught me an important aspect of research: a cure for a disease is not discovered overnight. The discoveries result from years of incremental research,” she said.

After winning first place in the 2014 American Association for Dental Research, or AADR, Unilever Hatton Competition, she advanced to the International Association for Dental Research’s version later the same year, winning second place in the global contest. And in a first for UFCD, Lee was selected as the 2016-2017 Gert Quigley Fellow, giving her the opportunity to spend six weeks at the AADR headquarters as well as a yearlong appointment to the AADR Government Affairs Committee.

Rather than consider the opportunity a dry role, Lee saw the position as critical to advancing academic dentistry through policy and engagement with funding agencies. As a full voting member of the committee, Lee and other fellows helped craft policy as it relates to the federal budget and other legislative and regulatory activities important to dental research.

“Research is the future of dentistry and advocating the importance of continuous funding for dental research is very important,” she said.