A mid-term report from the 2019/2020 Osteology Research Scholars

Two of our current Osteology Research Scholars reported back to us on their first six months of the one-year scholarship. Farah Asa’ad, originally from Jordan, is currently based in Gothenburg, while Karol Apaza from Peru is in Vienna. After the first six months, both scholars have found the scholarship to be everything they would hoped for and more, and they are excitedly looking forward to what the next six months will bring.


“These six months have totally exceeded my expectations”

Farah has been a part of the Osteology Foundation since 2015. In the last five years she has participated in two Osteology Research Academies, which took place in Lucerne and Gothenburg. Now she is in the middle of her one-year scholarship with the Foundation. She has discovered that working with the Osteology Foundation can have a huge impact on her career path as a young researcher.

For Farah, the Osteology Research Scholarship Center at the University of Gothenburg was a natural choice. “My doctoral thesis was about Guided Bone Regeneration (GBR), and Professor Christer Dahlin is one of the pioneers in this field. His research work has been a major source of inspiration for me throughout the years.” 


Farah and her mentor Christer Dahlin at the laboratory
Farah at the Osteology Research Scholarship Center at the University of Gothenburg


Farah had high hopes for the scholarship, and wanted to use it to deepen and expand her knowledge in this specific field. She also saw it as a great opportunity to further develop and shape her research skills and learn new laboratory techniques. We asked her what she thought of the scholarship so far. She smiled and said: “These six months have totally exceeded my expectations”. Farah has been able to constantly learn new things, and benefit from daily scientific discussions and training sessions with a world-renowned research group. These discussions and sessions have been fundamental in helping her to build new scientific perspectives and to expand her research horizons.

Christer Dahlin has been invaluable as a mentor to her over the last half year, motivating and encouraging Farah to move forward even when she is facing obstacles. “This is a key factor in the career success of young researchers”, she explained. Farah has found the whole research team and social environment to be very pleasant, and she has appreciated the chance to learn more and more about Sweden. When we asked her what her highlight of the country was so far, she grinned and said, “we all went to watch an ice hockey game together, one of Sweden’s most popular sports – I’ve never been to an ice hockey game before.”


Farah at her first ice hockey game


“My experience at the University of Vienna has been one of the best in my academic life”

With the twin aims of expanding her knowledge of bone regeneration and building a network that will allow her to continue researching in the future, Karol applied to the Osteology Research Scholarship Center at the University of Vienna. With six months of her scholarship behind her, it has turned out to be the perfect fit. As Karol herself says, “the laboratory not only uses fundamental cellular biological methods but also performs preclinical research.” So it is no surprise that her goal after the scholarship is to pursue a PhD under the supervision of her mentor Reinhard Gruber.

During her one-year scholarship Karol is getting the opportunity to gain greater expertise in understanding biological mechanisms, involving the response of the organism in bone regeneration and periodontal disease treatments. Currently she is learning more about the difference between the physiology of healthy periodontal and peri-implant tissue. As well as this, she has recently been conducting research into understanding pathophysiology and mechanisms involved in periodontitis and peri-implantitis.

“The scholarship was everything I hoped for and more, thanks to my mentor and the research group who have helped me to advance and learn even more”, said Karol. With half of her one-year scholarship still to go, there are bound to be even more opportunities for her to further deepen her knowledge and experience.

Karol says that, if she was given the choice again, she would have no doubts about applying for the Osteology Research Scholarship. “It is the ideal platform for acquiring skills and knowledge under the guidance of excellent and renowned scientists with extensive experience,” she explained.


Good moments together as a team


Do you think this could be something for you as well? Find out more about the Osteology Research Scholarships on our website. We are inviting applicants for the 2020 Research Scholarships to submit applications before 15 May 2020, and the successful 2020 Research Scholars will be announced by 15 July 2020. We look forward to your applications!