HRP SU23-12: Research Opportunity with Dr. Alix Deymier

Project Mentor

Dr. Alix Deymier
Department of Biomedical Engineering

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Description

Project Description Your teeth are made up of 2 main parts: enamel and dentin. These 2 very different materials are connected to each other via a very unique interface called the Dentin-Enamel Junction (DEJ). In theory, the DEJ should be a very weak interface, but instead it is extremely fracture resistant in healthy individuals. One the other hand, people with certain genetic diseases like osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), brittle bone disease, have very weak DEJs. Our goal is to compare the structure and composition of DEJs from teeth that are healthy and those that have OI to understand what gives this interface its unique properties.
Project Direction Over the summer you will likely be using Raman Spectroscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy to map out changes in composition across the DEJ. Once we understand the structural and compositional components we will develop ways of mechanically testing these teeth so that we can understand what parts of the tooth most affect the tooth fracture. Eventually, models will be developed to explain the relationship between DEJ structure and mechanical function.
Mentorship and Supervision The Deymier lab has a scaffolded mentoring structure. At the onset of the summer you will be assigned a graduate student who will work as your primary mentor. You will interact with them directly on a daily basis. Both you and your graduate mentor will meet with me (the PI) every other week. On alternating weeks we will meet as a whole lab for general lab meeting. You will be expected to share your data at each of these meetings to discuss progress and challenges. All of your progress will be tracked in a lab notebook that will also be reviewed by the PI and the graduate mentor. I have an open door policy so you can also come in whenever you wish. At the end of the semester you will be expected to present at the UCHC BME Seminar/Research Day.
Student Qualifications The student must be curious and motivated. If you are just trying to get a line on your CV/Resume, this is not the lab for you. If you have training in electron microscopy or any kind of spectroscopy, that is a bonus, but not necessary. I am looking for someone self-driven, with good organizational and communication skills.
Summer Schedule Options Research Dates: May 22 to July 28, 2023
Schedule: We generally work close to a 9-5 schedule M-F
Project Continuation Fall 2023, Spring 2024
Academic Year Time Commitment 6 hours/week
Possible Thesis Project Yes


Submit an online application for this research opportunity at The application deadline is Monday, January 30, 2023.

This application requires a resume or CV, a brief statement of research interests, and a brief statement of career interests.