Integration of his affinity for mathematics into his dental practice

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your personal background and what made you start a career in dentistry?
Growing up with both my parents in the medical field, my father as an oral surgeon and my mother as a paediatrician, medicine has always been an important part of my life. Although initially more interested in mathematics, I was drawn to dentistry and chose oral surgery as my specialty, following in my father's footsteps. 
Now, years into my career, I've found a way to integrate my affinity for maths by using machine learning to tackle complex problems in dental research and practice. As it turns out, my early interest in mathematics has seamlessly complemented my work in dentistry.


Why did you decide for the Osteology Foundation scholarship and what were your expectations, when you applied?
During my PhD in Reinhard Gruber's lab in Vienna, I had the opportunity to meet some former Osteology Research Scholars. Seeing how much they had grown professionally in just one year really inspired me. In addition, I had previously attended the Osteology Research Academy at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, met colleagues from Dean William V. Giannobile's lab, and experienced the supportive atmosphere at the school. I was very excited about returning to do research in Harvard.
Balazs Feher with his mentor at Harvard: William V. Giannobile 


What is the best thing about the Osteology Foundation scholarship?
The best thing about the scholarship is that it supports researchers directly, rather than specific projects. This flexibility has allowed me to explore and collaborate with other researchers at Harvard, helping me to find my niche and meaningfully extend my previous research on applied data science in dental medicine. The scholarship has also enabled me to attend several conferences in the United States and internationally, which has broadened my horizons and deepened my understanding of global developments in dental medicine. This exposure has been instrumental in refining my research focus and fostering valuable professional relationships.


What experiences and insights have you gained during your scholarship year that have influenced your sense of direction and future?
During my scholarship year, the opportunity to collaborate with international scholars and present my own work on three continents provided invaluable experience, exposure and career insights. The academic freedom at Harvard allowed me not only to contribute to our lab's projects, but also to develop and pursue my own ideas. Our interdisciplinary collaboration with the Center for Computational Biomedicine at Harvard Medical School solidified my sense of direction, leading to conference presentations, several manuscripts in preparation, and, most recently, a grant award. These experiences have seamlessly transitioned into my new role as a Research Fellow, working in the Giannobile and Feres labs and contributing to the NIH/NIDCR-funded H-CREDENT programme.


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