Research

Goal Three: Support and Advance Preeminent Basic, Clinical, Translational and Population-Based Research

Our Vision

A vibrant research enterprise maintains the spirit of discovery that brings to life intellectual curiosity and enhances clinical acumen afforded through scholarship.

S. Mutans
Streptococcus mutans is a facultatively anaerobic, gram-positive coccus (round bacterium) commonly found in the human oral cavity and is a significant contributor to tooth decay.

A strong research portfolio is a hallmark of UFCD’s accomplishments, reputation and success. A thriving research environment ensures that students, residents and faculty remain at the leading edge of biomedical knowledge and practice. Through research, we assure that patient-care is optimally effective.


Objectives


3-1. Enhance recruitment and retention of exemplary faculty to advance the research enterprise.

Dr. Chan and Natalie Atyeo

A solid, talented faculty base is essential for sustaining our research program at a high level. We will continue to support and expand opportunities for faculty to conduct research to maintain a strong evidence-based curriculum and clinical care program. Strengthening UFCD’s translational and clinical research enterprise is a focus.

Implementation Strategies

  • Conduct strategic recruitment and capitalize on UF campus-wide initiatives to attain a critical mass of productive, research-intensive faculty and clinical researchers.
  • Establish a UFCD research-resource portal to provide current information on research resources, faculty expertise/interests and core facilities; and establish appropriate links with other such portals such as UF Health Bridge.
  • Review and enhance efforts that provide time and resources for clinical faculty to conduct research.
  • Provide additional infrastructure to support research, such as biostatistical support and core facilities.
  • Promote interactions and convey information that will facilitate research by UFCD faculty and trainees.

3-2. Promote interdisciplinary and team science.

Student in lab

The large majority of UFCD’s external funding is directed at basic research. Investments in clinical and translational research can diversify our portfolio and provide additional opportunities for faculty, students and residents to engage in meaningful research and address a wide range of public health needs. Greater engagement with the UF Health environment could create new programs for basic, translational and clinical research—and for integrative approaches.

Implementation Strategies

  • Enrich research programs in areas of historical strength, such as biomaterial sciences, with new linkages to translational and clinical research conducted within the UF Health environment and with institutions outside UFCD.
  • Strengthen collaboration with the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute and integration with major UF research initiatives such as cancer and genomics.
  • Facilitate appropriately-secured access to patient databases for clinical research studies for faculty and students.
  • Optimize conversion of existing activities and resources into research output, including the use of secured clinical databases such as axiUm, EPIC or others.
  • Create a robust mentoring system for clinical faculty and trainees to enhance their ability to conduct research and scholarly work.

3-3. Expand extramural research funding.

For the seventh consecutive year, NIH funding of UFCD research and research training has increased. UFCD now receives about $16 million in total funding each year, ranking us fifth among U.S. dental institutions. Our five-year goal is to retain top-five status among dental institutions. Given uncertainties in public and private funding environments, growing and sustaining our research enterprise will require a greater degree of innovation.

Implementation Strategies

  • Establish and disseminate an online repository of available funding opportunities relevant to UFCD researchers and their mentored students.
  • Develop and implement an internal grant-review process to provide constructive feedback for faculty and trainees during early stages of research-proposal development.
  • Target a portion of UFCD fundraising and development efforts to provide resources to research programs.
  • Explore additional partnerships with the private sector to support educational and clinical research.

3-4. Increase the quantity of UFCD-wide scholarly activities.  

Poster at spring synergy 2018

Research represents a core component of the UFCD mission and thus, maintaining a high level of scholarly activity is critical to our success. As biomedicine matures and grows beyond traditional boundaries, we will embrace more and different types of scholarship.

Implementation Strategies

  • Increase the quantity and impact of scholarly output, including peer-reviewed publications; other written products; and local, regional, national and international presentations.
  • Increase the number of honors and awards earned by faculty, students, residents and other trainees.
  • Create a culture in which scholarship includes a broad range of activities that contribute to generating knowledge, as well as to translating and sharing it.
  • Increase participation of faculty and trainees in the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network.