Meet Aylin Baysan, Reader in Cariology in relation to Minimally Invasive Dentistry at the Institute of Dentistry.
Could you tell us more about your research and clinical work?
Despite heavy undergraduate and postgraduate leadership commitments, my research constantly contributes to Cariology in relation to Minimally Invasive Dentistry (MID). I lead the Diabetes Oral Health research to assess potential association between Hb1Ac, Vit D and dental decays and management strategies for dental decays in Diabetes. My PhD students’ clinical studies on dental caries in Diabetes patients were funded by the Novo-Nordisk Clinical Research and also accepted to the NHIR Portfolio.
At the international platform, my track record in Cariology was recognised by International Association for Dental Research (IADR) in the establishment of IADR-MID Scientific Networking Research Group for which I am now the President. I am also selected to the Advisory Board Member on European Organisation for Caries Research (ORCA) in 2020. My mission by being part of these prestigious international organisations is to be the voice of researchers and to encourage excellence in activities by offering unrivalled opportunities to every researcher.
In 2019, I developed a MSc in Minimally Invasive Dentistry (MID): the only on-campus programme of its kind and due to increased demand for this programme, I am in the process of introducing a 3-year-Clinical Doctorate programme in MID in parallel to the current Master programme. These two programmes would add significant value to QM-Taught Program Portfolio and contribute to the MID-themed research in Cariology especially during the COVID-19 era with minimum aerosol strategies for any dental treatment.
As being the Institute of Dentistry EDI lead and Athena SWAN Chair, I believe that a strong culture of equality and diversity is critical in research, education and clinical practice.
You also teach undergraduates. What does that entail?
I have been the sole lead for the undergraduate Endodontics programme since 2014. In this capacity, I am responsible for delivering all the academic lectures in Years 3, 4 and 5 (~238 students), organising and leading basic clinical skills-based technical courses related to this speciality for Year 3s, then leading the advanced clinical-based technical courses for Years 4 and 5. Pre-COVID-19, I set up and run the UG New Patient Clinics to identify suitable patients for root canal treatment due to the shortage of appropriate cases for our students. Currently, as part of the COVID-19 mitigation teaching, I am organising and leading the Endodontics Speciality Clinics by matching 20 patients with Year 5 students on a weekly basis so that our students enhance their learning experiences and clinical skills in Endodontics with a targeted and tailored approach to qualify this year.
My administrative roles are to co-ordinate the clinical teaching staff on the undergraduate endodontics programme and to lead on various assessments (student self-assessments, written, oral, and practical gateway tests) in endodontics. I am also a great believer in standard operating procedures in teaching. In 2014, I took the lead role in establishing teaching guidelines in endodontics in the dental school for the first time, working with Professor Bunsan Chong and Dr Ian Cooper. My aim was to make the subject less confusing for students and less challenging for teaching staff to deliver.
This leading role gives me the opportunity to support the teaching staff in Endodontics in their professional development and acknowledge the variety and quality of teaching, learning and assessment practices that support student learning. In this respect, I support teaching staff through regular staff training sessions in the Institute and outreach clinics to ensure best practice is taught.
Could you talk us through your education and training? What advice would you give to students wishing to follow in your footsteps?
I completed my dental undergraduate degree at Hacettepe University School of Medicine and Dentistry, Ankara Turkey. As an undergraduate student, I was always interested in preventing dental decay, especially in an ageing population. My career pathway began with postgraduate academic and clinical training in dentistry in the UK almost 26 years ago. I came to the UK to study an MSc in Gerodontology (funded). I was then funded to do a clinical PhD to study the management of root decay either using ozone or high fluoride at QMUL, and became one of the patent holders to use ozone on root decays. In 2002, I started working as a full-time academic member of staff at Birmingham Dental School. I then had the opportunity to develop my research, teaching, clinical and leadership skills further at Kings College London taking the Royal College of Surgeons’ Dental Membership exams and completing my PGCAP (Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice) before moving back to QMUL to do further clinical training as an NHIR (National Institute for Health Research) trainee. I have honorary Trust Contract at the Specialist level, Barts Health with weekly patient treatment sessions. I am always keen on developing into a sustainable leader, therefore I completed the NIHR Leadership certificate programme with a competitive entry at Ashridge Business School in 2011.
I am passionate about my reflective academic practice and provide high quality student learning. In this respect, I became the first QMUL Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy in 2017. Recently, my sustained leadership of innovative development and delivery in education also awarded me the Fellowship at Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh as Dental Trainer. In March 2021, I became the Adjunct Professor of Dentistry at Bahçeşehir (BAU) University School of Dental Medicine in Istanbul, Turkey.
I am a life-long learner and feel accomplished when I transfer my knowledge, skills and experiences. My advice to students would be to love what you do and do with a passion and never give up on your dreams. Finally, let’s do not forget Maya Angelou who said, ‘My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style’.