University of Florida College of Dentistry D.M.D./Ph.D. student James Jang and his colleagues in the National Student Research Group, or NSRG, collaborated to organize and moderate a virtual meet-and-greet and question & answer session with National Institutes of Health Acting Director Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., a dentist by trade.
Jang and his colleagues from around the country invited a wide array of students, academics and clinicians across the United States to the coveted session, including all student members of the International Association for Dental Researchers, D.D.S. and D.M.D. dental students, D.D.S. and D.M.D./Ph.D. dual-degree students, Ph.D. students, post-doctoral associates, and NSRG faculty advisors.
Students and faculty from coast-to-coast participated, with over 10 colleges and institutions represented on the call, spanning from Alabama, Boston, Columbia, Florida, Indiana and Iowa, to Michigan, Minnesota, the NIH and NICHD in Maryland, Ohio State, Oregon, SUNY Buffalo, University of Texas at Houston and Washington.
Jang, who is serving as the American Association of Dental and Craniofacial Research NSRG president-elect from 2022-23, and president from 2023-24, hopes to continue the professional education meetings. The NSRG has set their sights on organizing a similar Q&A session later this spring with Rena D’Souza, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D., the director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
James Jang’s Reflection
“Meeting with Dr. Lawrence Tabak was a very inspiring and motivating experience to many of us students genuinely pursuing academic careers in our dental profession. Dr. Tabak has a very busy schedule as he is currently leading the world’s largest medical institute that has supported 168 Nobel Laureates in this country. Nevertheless, he still made time for us students and even spent an extra 15 minutes to answer all of our questions. We will be meeting with him at least once a year from now on. Thank you very much for your time and giving us precious advice. We will continue to challenge ourselves and will follow your footsteps to become the next generation of clinician scientists in dental academia.”
About Dr. Lawrence Tabak
Prior to joining NIH, Tabak was the Senior Associate Dean for Research and a professor of dentistry and biochemistry & biophysics in the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Rochester in New York. A former NIH MERIT recipient, Tabak’s major research focus has been on the structure, biosynthesis and function of glycoproteins. He continues work in this area, maintaining an active research laboratory within the NIH intramural program in addition to his administrative duties.
Tabak is an elected member the National Academy of Medicine. He received his undergraduate degree from City College of New York, his D.D.S. from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from the University of Buffalo.