Ph.D. in Oral Health Research

For further information contact
Oonagh Loughran, Ph.D.

The Ph.D. program in Oral Health Research provides training for students who wish to pursue research in oral health or the biomedical sciences. Candidates may include those with bachelors, masters, or DDS (or equivalent) degrees.

Graduates will have the qualifications and research expertise to become leaders in their field of biomedicine, productive faculty members at leading universities and senior scientists in academic or industrial settings. They will have developed skills that will allow them to pose and answer critical questions in human health and strategies to design and develop new therapies to address areas of unmet clinical need.

The Ph.D. program is housed in the Philips Institute for Oral Health Research in the School of Dentistry. The Philips Institute is a center of educational and research excellence at Virginia Commonwealth University focused on cancer, infection and genetic diseases of the head and neck. The Ph.D. curriculum focuses on three central areas that are critical to the nation’s health:

  • Cancer and developmental biology 
  • Infection, immunology and inflammation of the host microbiome interaction
  • Tissue engineering, stem cells and new materials

The program emphasizes independent research culminating in the conduct of an original research project under the supervision of a faculty adviser. Participating faculty are associated not only with programs and departments within the Philips Institute for Oral Health Research but also with the VCU Massey Cancer Center, the VCU Center for Clinical and Translational Research and VCU School of Engineering.

The curriculum consists of graduate core basic science courses; oral health sciences core courses and advanced elective courses. The specific curriculum for each student is designed with the student's academic advisor, in consultation with the Oral Health Research Program Committee.