Blog Post - Hanthao Phan
Jun 13, 2019 12:00 PM
My name is Hanthao Phan. I’m a fourth year student at University of Utah majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology with a minor in Chemistry. As part of Health Science LEAP program, I have opportunities to learn and prepare for my future career – a dentist. HS LEAP prepared me to become a good dentist by introducing me to the healthcare ethics, offering me an opportunity to shadow healthcare provider, and most importantly, supporting me during the years at the U. HS LEAP opened my eyes to the world of dental research that I have never imagined before.
On my third year at the U, the program introduced me to Dr. Pinzon’s research lab at the U of U School of Dentistry. Joining with Dr. Pinzon and other colleagues, I had opportunities to learn how to conduct a real research in life and, importantly, how to communicate our study with people in the scientific community. The first project that I worked with Dr. Pinzon is The Effects of Silver Compounds on The Bond Strengths of Caries-Affected Teeth. In this project, we were testing if the silver compounds, which was used to arrest caries progression, could possibly interfere the bond strength between the adhesive system and resin restoration. After many days of working hard, we found that silver compounds didn’t interfere the bond strength. With this result, the silver compounds can be used prior to resin restoration to prevent recurrent cavity. Further, silver compounds can be used to prevent recurrent cavity in children and adults that live in developing country, where they often don’t have opportunity to see dentist. This project shows me how scientific research really make a great impact to the community.
Without LEAP, I may not be able to see this amazing thing. Working with Dr. Pinzon, I had an opportunity to present my research – Effects of silver compounds on Bond strength – at Utah Dental Association Convention 2019, which was hold at Salt Palace, Salt Lake City on April 25, 2019. Here, I was amazed with the researches of dental students from all dental schools in Utah. Some of theirs were liked mine, focusing on the laboratory quantitative research that aims to test or make improvement in dental treatments. Others were focusing on qualitative research that involves more with patient interaction. There were three other studies that I worked with Dr. Pinzon that were also presented at this conference. One of them – The Pilot Study: Oral Health Status of Population in Utah – got an award. Our team was very happy as to be selected for this award. This pilot study was focusing on the oral health status of Utahn and from there we could understand and develop better and more specific treatment programs that help patients access their dental needs. Utah Dental Association Convention 2019 is the first research conference I attended. It was an amazing experience. I got to know other scientists and many amazing achievers. I gained a lot of experiences on how to communicate in the scientific community. This conference also prepared my presentation and me for the larger conference, the International Association for Dental Research 2019, which was held in Vancouver, Canada from Jun 19-22. I was so happy that my study got accepted to be presented at the Vancouver conference. This would be another experience that I wouldn’t forget.
I am continuing to work with Dr. Pinzon until I get accepted to dental school. We are so excited to publish our papers soon at the end of this summer. I feel really appreciative to the LEAP program for introducing me to Dr. Pinzon and thus to all of these great experiences. Thank you so much, Health Sciences LEAP!