“The perfect environment to do research”

Franz Strauss from Chile is one of the Osteology Foundation’s Research Scholars. He is currently working at the Medical University of Vienna with Professor Reinhard Gruber. He recently sent us his half-year report, and answered a few questions about his personal experiences as an Osteology Research Scholar.


During his one-year scholarship, Franz Strauss investigates the effect of acid bone lysate on cell behavior. During the resorption of bone by osteoclasts TGF-β is released from bone by acid lysis, and it is supposed to support bone regeneration, particular the process of graft consolidation at augmented sites. However, at present little is known about the response of human mesenchymal cells to TGF-β released from bone by acid lysis. Therefore, the purpose of his work is to evaluate the biological activity of the acid bone lysate on human oral fibroblast. 


Franz Strauss, why did you apply for the Osteology Research Scholarship?

Franz Strauss: “I applied for an Osteology Research Scholarship because I wanted to improved my research skills in regards to oral regeneration in a centre with experience and excellence. Furthermore, to learn new and advanced methods that I could eventually apply afterwards in my home University, University of Chile, thereby contributing in the development of dental research in Chile.”


Why did you apply for this particular centre (University of Vienna)?

Franz Strauss: “I chose this centre because of my Mentor, Prof. Reinhard Gruber. I like his philosophy, the quality and the way he does research, in particular in bone regeneration, which is a topic that I am very interested. I would like to continue this path when I get home. Bone regeneration is a huge topic and you need an expert in the field with enough experience to learn how to ask and how to answer a research question in this field. My previous experience in research was more in the clinical field and here in Vienna I have had the chance to learn more about preclinical research and basic sciences. I truly believe, that to answer a clinically relevant question in oral regeneration, we need to understand the biological rational behind bone regeneration and go back to the basics.”


What did you expect to learn during this scholarship year?

Franz Strauss: “Different types of in-vivo and in-vitro techniques - either to evaluate or to induce soft tissue and bone regeneration. In addition, to improve my communication and writing skills, especially in regards to grant proposals. As an academic at the university, I need to improve the quality of my proposals thereby increasing the chances to be funded.”


How do you experience the mentoring and social environment?

Franz Strauss: “Absolutely fantastic, it is the perfect environment to do research. One of the things that I like most about my mentor, is his philosophy regarding teaching: “use research to teach”. Professor Gruber is not only a great mentor, he is also great person, he always has time for his students and very often we go out as a team for lunch or dinner.  Therefore, our group here is really fantastic and I feel very comfortable. Furthermore, Vienna is an amazing city: the culture, the history, the music, the people, you always have something to do and the quality of life here is fantastic. Taken together, I could not have made a better decision.”


To which extent have your expectations been met so far?

Franz Strauss: “My expectations were exceeded by far! Much more than I expected.”


Why would you recommend other participants to apply for this opportunity?

Franz Strauss: “Because the Osteology Research Scholarship provides you with the opportunity to learn and to be mentored by a world-class researcher in the oral regeneration field. Moreover, it gives you the chance to increase your research network, representing a scientific milestone on the way to establish international collaborations. To sum up, it is a unique opportunity for every young researcher world-wide who wants to develop his career.”


Thank you Franz Strauss, for sharing your experiences with us. We wish a lot of success and many more research insights, and we are looking forward to the outcome of your scholarship.