William McBride ('10 DDS) is a private-practice dentist in Coralville, IA and he served as chair of the Iowa Dental Board during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What year did you graduate dental school?
Who was your mentor?
Dr. John Warren and Dr. Dan Caplan in Preventive Dentistry and Dr. David Drake in research
What was your research project?
My project evaluated Non-Streptococcus mutans acid producing bacteria and its role in the caries process. Specifically, it focused on evaluating the bacteria present in incipient carious lesions in children.
Did and if so, how did participation in student research influence your career decisions?
Though the focus of my research has changed significantly, early research experiences drove my interest in disease prevention and oral health promotion, and gave me great initial experiences with scientific writing and presenting.
Did and if so, how did participation in student research help you become a better dentist (i.e., clinical decision making, lifelong learning)?
Participation in research was a great experience and helped me better understand the scientific method and appreciate the many career opportunities available in dentistry. While I ultimately went into private practice, it was an enriching experience and gave me a better appreciation for a career in academics and research.
How did participation in student research benefit you as a dental student?
Participating in research absolutely helped me to become a better dentist. I learned how to properly assess scientific articles and the importance of evidence based dentistry. It helped me to further develop presentation and leadership skills.
What was your favorite part of your student research experience?
Interacting with other student and professional researchers. Traveling to conferences and meeting others was a nice change of pace.
What advice would you offer dental students considering participation in student research?
I would definitely recommend participating in student research. Iowa is uniquely positioned as a renowned dental research center with many brilliant researchers and willing mentors. Participation goes beyond one's individual research focus as you get to network with others and share experiences. It is a great way to expand your understanding of all that a career in dentistry has to offer.
Any fun facts to share from your student research experiences?
Some of my best friends and dental school memories are associated with student research activities.
What suggestions do you have for the dental student program?
Continue to focus on mentorship and showing students how their participation in research can enrich their careers and expose them to diverse career options.