Prospective Scholars (U-M TOPICs)

University of Michigan’s TMJD and
Orofacial Pain Interdisciplinary Consortium
Training Grant (K12DE023574)


The spectrum of conditions known as Temporomandibular Joint Disorders and Orofacial Pain (TMJD/OP) are difficult to diagnose and manage because their etiologies and pathogeneses are poorly understood. Progress towards definitive therapies and rational diagnoses has been slow due to the complex nature of the disorders and the lack of scholars working in this field, many of whom utilize a narrow “silo” approach to investigating these disorders.

This training opportunity will be offered to high caliber clinician scientists and basic scientists to enhance the number and quality of interdisciplinary researchers that can unravel the mechanisms underlying TMJD/OP and identify the most effective treatments. Scholars will be engaged in an interdisciplinary mentorship with the goal of bridging bench to bedside and back in order to better understand these conditions.

Individuals competing for this award do not need to have prior experience specifically in TMJD/OP research, but should have worked in one or more of the thematic areas of pain, joint pathogenesis, developmental biology, regeneration and tissue engineering and should be willing to apply their expertise to and pursue research in TMJD or OP or both.

Opportunities and Training

  • Opportunities are available for appointment of clinical and non-clinical scholars as ajunior faculty or postdoctoral fellow
  • Junior Faculty will be appointed at 75% effort (9-calendar months) towards researchand research career development with the balance of the effort towards maintaining clinical skills and / or developing teaching skills
  • Postdoctoral Fellows will be appointed at 100% effort (12-Calendar Months) towards research and research career development
  • Individualized career development plan will be customized with each scholar and their interdisciplinary research mentors and mentorship team
  • Intensive supervised research experience, and didactic training that includes instruction and assistance in grant writing/submission and scientific writing

Trainee Requirements

  • Trainees must be US Citizens or Permanent Residents
  • Postdoctoral applicants require a minimum of a PhD or DDS or MD or their equivalents
  • Junior Faculty applicants require a minimum of a PhD or DDS or MD or their equivalents and a productive postdoctoral fellowship on a trajectory to research success that has positioned them for a faculty position.

Application Process

Applicants may self-nominate or be nominated by a program faculty member. The application should include:

  • Cover letter, which should either be a letter of intent for self-nomination or a nomination letter from a mentor or individual knowledgeable in the applicant’s research
  • Personal statement of career goals
  • Current curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of reference
  • Junior faculty candidates or nominees at the University of Michigan should provide a letter from their chairs indicating that 75% protected time will be available to pursue research in this area.

Following initial reviews, successful applicants will be required to submit a three-page research proposal including background (with preliminary data where available), hypothesis, specific aims and experimental design to address specific question(s) related to TMJD/OP in one or more of the three main areas of emphasis indicated above.

Training Environment

The University of Michigan is one of the premier research institutions in the US and consistently ranks high in federally funded research among institutions of higher learning. The University’s FY 13 research expenditures were $1.33B. The UM-TOPICs Training grant has a collection of 27 primary mentors from the School of Dentistry, Medical School, School of Public Health and School of Literature, Science & Art. All of these mentors are PIs of active research grants. State of the art clinical research facilities and resources are available to UM-TOPICs Program faculty and trainees. The University Health System offers a world-class environment for patient care with multiple hospitals, health centers, and outpatient clinics.