Life as a New Dentist — Researcher

Dr Jeff KimThe ADA is made up of individuals—here’s one of them.

Who are you?

I’m Dr. Jeffrey Kim. I’m a proud member of the Class of 2008 of the UCLA School of Dentistry, and I am the newest researcher at the ADA Foundation Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center.

What are you researching?

When people hear “research” they often think about dental materials. But my current research mostly concerns stem cell investigation as it may apply to dental pulp regeneration. So instead of root canals this could open up an option for cell-based therapy. ADA News did a piece about my research.

How did you choose this career path?

UCLA has a combined program where you work on both your D.D.S. and Ph.D. at the same time over the course of seven years. While finishing my studies I saw patients once a week. In this setting I’m a full-time researcher.

What’s your schedule like?

I start with email—usually there are messages from scientists and clinicians I’m collaborating with. I check in on the cells I’m growing and ensure those are healthy. And we have meetings in the mornings—these often are about compliance with regulations.

In the afternoons I run experiments, isolating RNA and DNA proteins from animal cells. I also write grants and stay on top of the publications in my field.

What are you doing for fun?

I ride a motorcycle. And we are close to Delaware where there are great parks where I can kayak and fish at the same time. This was not an option when I lived in Los Angeles.

Interested in sharing your experience as a new dentist? If you are fewer than ten years out of dental school we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at newdentist@ada.org.

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