Please tell us about yourself

Kritika is the first NYU Dentistry student to be accepted into the PhD Biomaterials – Biomedical Science program at the Sackler Institute, NYU School of Medicine. Kritika, shown above with Dr. Louis Terracio, vice dean for academic affairs and research, received the award for ‘Best Presentation’ by a research scholar at the 2017 NYU Dentistry Research Scholarship Expo.

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Q. How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unique career?

A. The decision to join the Master’s in Biomaterials Program at NYU has been one of the most important decisions of my life. I believe that science and creativity are essential tools to a rewarding life, stimulating conscious intellect and in turn leading to innovations and empowerment. Healthcare, in particular dentistry, is very heavily dependent on biomaterials and the importance of their success determined by tissue interaction. A degree in dentistry and my experiences in clinical practice exposed me to the importance of evidence-based and translational medical research in rising healthcare demands. A master’s degree in biomaterials was the first step in this direction.

Q. What did you study?

I did my Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences

Q. Can you tell us about your experience as a student in the Master’s in Biomaterials Program?

A. The location and resources offered through the Biomaterials Program at NYU Dentistry are unique and exemplary for professional and personal growth. I have had the privilege of learning and being mentored by encouraging, approachable, and very competent faculty and their role in my growth has been pivotal.

During the course of the master’s degree program, I have learned and utilized multiple analytical techniques and software involving material/tissue characterization, biomechanical testing, microscopy, and histomorphometry. I have also learned and practiced critical thinking, scientific writing, and statistical analysis techniques. I have applied these skills to in vivo research with calcium-phosphate apatite biomaterials, investigating their efficacy for improving bone health in osteoporosis and affordable bone tissue recovery and regenerative agent as part of my master’s thesis, and supervising students on various research projects. I also learned rheology, ink extrusion and designing techniques of 3D-printed bio ceramics for tissue regenerative applications. Understanding these innovations from a shared clinical and technical perspective has brought me to a pragmatic and sustainable paradigm to offer healthcare solutions.

Q. What have you done since graduating from the program and what are your future plans?

A. Since graduation, I have been working in the Department as a research scientist. I have had the opportunity to expand my learning paradigm into point-of-care diagnostics through microfluidics application. As a clinician, the importance of translating science is of foremost importance to me and this new position has taught me not only scientific techniques but also the process of transition into healthcare practice and business modeling. As a clinician, and now researcher, I have come to understand that solutions to healthcare problems arise from translating scientific innovations through a multidisciplinary approach.

Acquiring a PhD is thus a natural next step and I will begin the doctoral journey at Sackler-NYU School of Medicine in fall 2017. I believe this blend of cutting-edge medicine, engineering, and basic science provided in seamless integration will be perfect for my background and future interests to bridge critical clinical issues to innovative solutions, while being a part of an academic-clinical setting.