USC University of Southern California

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

NIH T90 Training Grant

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded the Ostrow School of Dentistry with a training grant (T90/R90) whose primary objective is to provide PhD candidates and postdoctoral trainees with a broadened, interdisciplinary research experience in a research-intensive university setting. At any one time, the training grant will support four PhD students and five postdoctoral trainees.

If you are exceptionally motivated and have thought about pursuing research that addresses oral health problems or aspire to a long-term career in academic or clinical dentistry where you can pursue teaching, research, and service at one of the nation’s finest dental schools, consider the Ostrow School of Dentistry Craniofacial Biology program.

We are looking for promising investigators who seek research and training opportunities in: craniofacial and oral biology, biomineralization, cell biology, clinical trials/experimentation, developmental biology, cytokine biology, biomaterials, tissue engineering, neuroscience, immunology, microbial molecular genetics, and periodontology.

The T90/R90 training grant prepares recipients to become next-generation leaders and cutting-edge academic dental researchers who are prepared to generate new discoveries that identify, prevent, treat, and cure diseases and abnormalities of the oral and craniofacial complex.  The goal of this program is to help meet the growing need for research scholars in US dental schools and to produce competent, independent scientists who are able to initiate and maintain funded research programs that will improve world health.

Training Opportunities through NIH T90/R90 Grant

PhD training and non-degree postdoctoral fellowship focuses primarily but not exclusively on scientists who seek advanced training in all aspects of oral biology and oral pathology.

With an emphasis on translational laboratory investigations and independent research, students will thrive in an integrated curriculum that includes mentoring, scientific advancement, academic career development, publication, and grantsmanship. We provide training that is tailored to each candidate while maintaining a focus on skeletal, craniofacial, and oral biology through symposiums, seminars, courses, clinical research centers, and collaborative research.

Students have the opportunity to work with one or more of 40 USC faculty mentors from the Ostrow School of Dentistry, Keck School of Medicine, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Stipends and Awards

Full stipend, tuition award, health insurance, and other benefits are available to support PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows for one to two years during their training. Postdoctoral scholars are generally supported by the research funds of individual faculty members in addition to the NIH T90/R90 training grant. Accepted students are also eligible to receive support for supplies and travel to research related seminars.

Career Planning: Mentoring Future Leaders

Most postdoctoral trainees should be able to look forward to their first faculty appointment or position during or soon after completing the supported training fellowship. Mentors are committed to helping students attain the skills necessary to successfully transition from scholar to independent investigator working in an academic or corporate environment.  Faculty fully recognize the importance of imparting their scientific knowledge to prepare bright, motivated students for a future in translational biomedical sciences related to craniofacial development, oral health, disease, and treatments.


The program is based at the state-of-the-art Center for Craniofacial and Molecular Biology, although scholars can conduct their research in a wide variety of laboratories around any of the University of Southern California campuses or at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, which encompasses many disciplines.  Research areas include but are not limited to:

  • Embryonic stem cell research
  • Tissue engineering
  • Neuroscience and physiology
  • Genetics and gene regulation
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Biomaterials
  • Oral, microbial and mucosal disease
  • Cancer and molecular medicine

Why Study Craniofacial and Molecular Biology at USC?

  • Since inception, the Ostrow School of Dentistry has created a strong research foundation, ranking high among dental schools that receive funding from the NIH and National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR).
  • The Center for Craniofacial and Molecular Biology is located on the Health Sciences campus northeast of Downtown Los Angeles, which is home to the Keck School of Medicine, the School of Pharmacy, three major teaching hospitals, and programs in Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy.
  • Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, staffed by USC faculty from the Keck School of Medicine, is often referred to as USC’s third campus and provides numerous research opportunities.
  • Faculty members conduct state-of-the-art research over a wide range of disciplines.  Most have presented their work at national and international conferences and have published in numerous peer-reviewed journals.
  • Our technologically advanced labs have been the training ground for hundreds of scholars from around the world who have produced research that advances treatment of disease.
  • Graduate trainees draw from a broad array of resources surrounding the many health science institutions in Los Angeles and Southern California.  The Ostrow School of Dentistry has established many national and international research collaborations with renowned institutions such as the University of Sydney and University of Peking.