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My research journey took an unconventional route. It wasn’t until after I completed dental school in Brazil and began practicing dentistry that I became intrigued by the mechanisms involved in oral disease development.

Amanda Ferreira, DDS, MSc

I wondered how to target these mechanisms to enhance clinical outcomes for my patients. This curiosity led me to pursue a Master’s program, providing a foundational understanding of basic science. Despite my initial concern about my lack of research experience, my clinical background proved invaluable. It enabled me to swiftly translate theoretical bench work into practical clinical applications, setting the stage for my venture into postdoctoral training.

A postdoctoral program has been a transformative experience, offering opportunities to develop new research skills, publish papers to enhance my CV, and expand my professional network. Throughout the training, which is financially supported, there are several opportunities for mentorship and career development, and opportunities in the industry and clinical field.

Preparation is essential for those aiming to become independent researchers, as it involves determining the most suitable program to accomplish your objectives and identifying methods to secure funding for your scientific project. For clinicians like me, torn between the prospect of a Ph.D. program and the desire for research exposure, a postdoc program emerged as an ideal solution. I highly recommend a postdoctoral training for clinicians seeking research experience before making a lengthy Ph.D. program commitment.

Story originally published in Vol I, Fall 2023 LSRG at UAB, a newsletter of the UAB Local Student Research GroupAmanda Ferreira is a current D.A.R.T. in the lab of Ping Zhang, DDS, PhD.