From Greece with Erasmus
Andreas Koutroulis and Vasileios Kapralos have just finalized a 3-month research project funded by EU’s Erasmus+ programme.
Both graduated from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and wanted to gain competence in the field of research and in vitro testing of dental biomaterials.
– When we were looking for possible places and universities in Europe to join a programme, our professor advised us to be very particular about where to conduct our research, says Andreas.
The main reasons are that the Erasmus+ programmes are demanding and many European universities place conditions, such as teaching during semester and ownership to the research results.
– Such conditions place a strain on the conduct of the research project itself, adds Vasilis.
– NIOM is unique because of its position as a publicly run, independent research institution with the highest standards and routines. The methodologies that we have been advised on by our mentor at NIOM, DDS Dr Håkon Valen, have standards that allow direct comparison to most testing of dental biomaterials. Our aims were verification and quality assurance. In many cases, such studies will, of course, lead to suggestions for improvement of the products, says Vasilis.
Their study was on the antibacterial and anti-biofilm properties of endodontic sealers.
– When it comes to dental biomaterials, say the young researchers, there are many gaps and “holes” in clinical (in vitro) studies. Many of the “facts” are based upon experience and are not necessarily scientifically grounded.
– The studies and methods we employed at NIOM can help us close these “holes”, says Andreas.
Both of the researchers speak warmly of how they have been taken care of by the staff and their mentor at NIOM. Not just in making them aware of the ethical and practical principles behind NIOM’s research, but also in experiencing the generous environment for academic exchange with other guest researchers at NIOM.
– We have experienced an environment which has been stimulating, helpful, motivating and inspiring, they both say.
A career step
– If you want to love something, you have to get to know it, one of my professors at Thessaloniki told me, says Andreas.
They both say that their experience with new methods of research in the bacterial laboratory at NIOM has had a big impact on their future career opportunities.
– The stay at NIOM has opened possibilities beyond a career as a dentist. It has both been personally rewarding and opened new horizons, they both say.