Graduate research programs

Our graduate research programs provide training for students who wish to pursue research in oral health and biomedical science.

The programs are housed in the Philips Institute for Oral Health Research located on the medical campus at Virginia Commonwealth University. We are in close proximity to, and collaborate with the Massey Cancer Center, an NCI designated cancer center, the VCU School of Medicine, the VCU School of Dentistry and the Institute for Engineering and Medicine. Candidates will have the opportunity to work with faculty in these centers.

For all enquiries please contact the program director Oonagh Loughran Ph.D. at

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summer program

Master of Science in Microbiology and Immunology with a concentration in oral biology

Starting Date Fall 2021

This two-year degree is offered by the VCU School of Dentistry in association with the VCU School of Medicine. Students can explore a career in research while improving their academic standing. Research topics include cancer, infection and immunology, tissue engineering and clinical research opportunities. Students with an interest in dental school have the option of taking electives from the first year dental school curriculum.

For more information, please contact Dr. Oonagh Loughran

Student researcher

Ph.D. in Oral Health Research

The Ph.D. program in Oral Health Research  gives students the opportunity to conduct cutting edge biomedical research to help cure human disease. We offer an integrated, interdisciplinary environment with a range of Ph.D. opportunities in: Cancer, immunology and infectious diseases and regenerative medicine.

Research student

D.D.S./Ph.D. in Oral Health Research Dual Degree

The combined D.D.S./Ph.D. degree is designed for students interested in a career in academic dentistry and in translating oral research health research to the clinic. Students will have both a research and a clinical mentor. Students will complete the first two years (preclinical years) of dental school during which they will select their Ph.D. dissertation laboratory. Following completion of the second year of the dental curriculum, students will focus on the requirements for their Ph.D. After completion of their doctoral degree requirements, students rejoin the dental curriculum in the third year of the program.

Prospective students should submit applications to AADSAS for admission to dental school. At the same time, they should apply directly to the Ph.D. in Oral Health Research program for admission and state their interest in the combined program.