Balancing a cup of hot coffee in her hand, Ausra Ramanauskaite passes through the vestibule of the «Centro de Congressos de Lisboa». The EAO Congress is in full swing. The first break of the day attracts visitors from all over the world to the bright vestibule, where the many conversations blend to a monotonous buzz. «At this event, nine years ago in Copenhagen, I discovered the Osteology Foundation for the first time», she says and smiles. This is where she met Kristian Tersar, the Foundation's current Executive Director, on the Osteology Foundation stand. He ultimately encouraged her to attend an Osteology Research Academy course.
The journey begins
And she tells how it all started. On Monday, 15 September 2014, she boards the plane to Zurich in Vilnius, city in Lithuania. She then took the train to the heart of Switzerland, where the Research Academy course of the Osteology Foundation is held every year in Lucerne. During the next days she acquired the basic tools for her future research activities in lectures, workshops and discussions with experts in the field of oral tissue regeneration. Her personal highlight? «Definitely the career seminar with Niklaus Lang. He shared his wealth of experience from his long research career with us. That was very inspiring», remembers Ausra.
During this course in Lucerne she also learned about the Osteology Research Scholarships for the first time. She can not get the prospect of an environment in which she can deepen her expertise in clinical research and basic research together with a mentor out of her head. Back home in Kaunas, city in Lithuania, she immediately starts on her application. At that time she is engaged in research on a gel for the treatment of peri-implant tissue infections at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences. Therefore, she would like to complete her research year in Düsseldorf at the Centre for Oral Medicine and Peri-implant Infections under the chairmanship of Frank Schwarz - particularly as the Heinrich Heine University is the leading institution for research into peri-implant pathology at the time. She logs on to THE BOX, the global Osteology Community Platform, fills in the application form and clicks on "submit application".
Research, progress and friends
Looking back, Ausra says, the months in Düsseldorf passed in a flash. She was given the opportunity to participate in various research projects. She investigated the effects of prior bone grafts on the efficacy of peri-implantitis therapy.
Despite all these exciting projects, she says, it was the human contact that made the academic year a completely new experience for her. Working together in an international group of like-minded people opened up new horizons for her. She was able to present her projects at various events and exchange information with other experts in the field. In retrospect: «This year had a pronounced influence on my development as a researcher and also my personal development», says Ausra.
Peri-implantitis remains her passion
Today, Ausra is still doing research with Frank Schwarz - but meanwhile at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. She has received an Osteology Researcher Grant for her research project that investigates the influence of antiresorptive therapy on the treatment of peri-implantitis. In addition, she was elected to the Expert Council of the Osteology Foundation in early 2019 and will thus be able to help shape future projects of the Foundation.
«I would like to encourage enthusiastic people in our field to take advantage of the support provided by the Osteology Foundation. The Foundation has influenced me a lot on my way and has supported my career», she says looking over the «Ponte de 25 Abril» in Lisbon. She says goodbye and returns to the hustle and bustle of congress. She is about to moderate the session "How to treat peri-implantitis" together with Frank Schwarz.