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Molly Hague - July 2015

Molly Hague is a student at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Dentistry, class of 2016. Hague graduated from Drury University, Springfield, Missouri, with a Bachelor's degree in biology.  She earned several accolades while studying at Drury University, including the 2011 Outstanding Senior Woman at Drury University and the 2011 Laura Bond Award, Biology Honors. 

Hague is interested in craniofacial anomalies and development. Her career aspirations are to specialize in orthodontics, complete a craniofacial orthodontic fellowship and to join a craniofacial anomalies team. She has completed two summer research fellowships at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. In her first fellowship in 2010, her research focused on Treacher-Collins Syndrome and research was conducted on the palate development of Tcof1 mice. During her second fellowship the following summer, she conducted research on craniofacial development and analyzed histologically stained coronal/frontal sections of Tcof1;Pax3 heterozygous mice palate development. 

In 2012 she completed a three-month fellowship at the UCSF School of Dentistry that aimed to determine the extent to which individual ion channels mediate the mechanotransduction necessary for secondary chondrogenesis. Hague joined AADR that same year and received an AADR Student Research Fellowship that allowed her to further explore dental research. The following year she received an AADR Bloc Travel grant that enabled her to travel to and present her research at the 2013 AADR Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington. 

In 2014, Hague was one of three dental students inducted into the 2014-2015 class of the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program. The MRSP is a comprehensive, year-long research enrichment program designed to attract the most creative, research-oriented medical, dental, and veterinary students to the intramural campus of the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland.

In addition to being an AADR member, Hague is a member of the AADR National Student Research Group (NSRG) and served as president for the 2014-2015 term. The AADR NSRG is a student-run organization whose main purpose is to foster an environment in every dental school whereby students interested in enriching their dental education through research are encouraged to do so. 

How did you first get involved in AADR?
Initially it was my interest in research that led me to join AADR and apply for an AADR Student Research Fellowship. Early on in dental school I was doing research at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. I was very interested in craniofacial anomalies and craniofacial development, and I knew the project I was working on could be transferred to similar mentors at UCSF. When I transferred to UCSF I searched for mentors and UCSF helped guide me to Dr. Rich Schneider who was doing research on the mandibular development of ducks. After I transferred to UCSF, I did a basic science summer project and that’s when I became aware of AADR and decided to join. Having the support of AADR has been very helpful.

What do you find to be the most valuable benefit of your AADR membership?
One of the most valuable benefits of my AADR membership is the networking opportunities that are available to me as a member. These in-person networking opportunities take place at the meetings, and if I qualify for any of the meeting-related fellowships I apply so that I’m able to attend the AADR meetings. At the meetings there are innumerable opportunities to network with students and faculty, and I’m able to attend presentations on my research interests. In addition to the networking, I really enjoy having access to the research published in the Journal of Dental Research, which I use as a resource. As a student, I find value in the AADR National Student Research Group, which I learned more about when I attended my first AADR meeting in Seattle, in 2013. At that meeting, when I attended the NSRG meetings, the NSRG members introduced me to other student members and told me ways to get involved in the NSRG. They also told me how to encourage students at my school to pursue research. Sometimes it’s difficult to balance research and involvement in dental school, but by attending that first meeting I learned more about how to balance everything while helping other students become interested in research. 

What would you say to other student members to encourage them to participate in the NSRG?
To encourage other student members to be more involved in the NSRG I would say first attend an AADR Annual Meeting. Attending a meeting will give students an opportunity to meet face-to-face with other NSRG members that they otherwise might not meet. I know it’s not always possible for students to attend the meetings but students can also interact with one another on the NSRG’s social media platforms. I also would encourage students to be more involved at the university level by joining their local research group at their university. 

This summer you completed your NIH Medical Research Scholars Program fellowship. Why is it important for more dental students to apply to be part of that program? 
I applied to be in the NIH MRSP because I’m extremely interested in research and I wanted to see if research is something I want to pursue further as a Ph.D., if I want to do a specialty in research or if I want to pursue a more academic track. Prior to being in the program I hadn’t had the opportunity to take a year off for research—I had only done three-month sectors for a total of nine months. I knew that through the NIH MRSP I would have the opportunity to do basic science and get a taste for what research is really like on a day-to-day basis, and also learn what it’s like to be at the NIH. Being in the program gave me an opportunity to hone in on my critical thinking skills, and to learn what are some of the questions in dentistry that need to be answered, if we don’t keep asking questions this profession will grow stagnant. I wanted to learn how to ask those questions and explore how basic science can connect people from the bench to the bedside. I encourage all dental students to apply because this really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to live on the NIH campus and learn more about basic science and patient care.

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