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Urvi Ruparelia, D12

Recipient: Drs. Ann M. Sagalyn D79 and Suzanne Rothenberg D41 Endowed Scholarship

A physician’s daughter, Urvi Ruparelia, D12, decided to study biomedical engineering so she eventually could help cure or prevent illnesses at their source. “I wanted to find solutions that would help or treat more than one person,” she says. She first thought about dental medicine when she took a course on biomedical engineering in dentistry in which local dentists gave presentations on prosthetics, implants, and the like. Ruparelia had received an implant herself when she cracked a tooth down to the root her freshman year at Georgia Tech; she says she was “completely intrigued.” As a student at the School of Dental Medicine, she has taken that interest to new levels. In 2009 she was one of only two dental students nationally chosen by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to take part in the HHMI/NIH Research Scholars Program at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md. Her independent research project on immunology was inspired by the medical courses at the foundation of Tufts’ dental curriculum, she says: “Tufts is really good about teaching you to not just look at the mouth.” Her next stop is the University of Washington, where she will be doing a general practice residency in dentistry this coming year. A Tufts faculty mentor, Dr. Kanchan Ganda, a physician who is professor and director of medicine in the department of public health and community service, says: “Urvi is critically astute, approaching questions in a scientific manner. With her patients she is personable and approachable. She is going to make a great dentist."