The Key of Accessibility

The world is filled with information waiting to be uncovered by the next researcher. Yet, once the demanding task of uncovering knowledge is complete, it is equally as important to communicate that knowledge effectively. This includes reaching people both in the field of study and outside. Restricting a general audience from understanding a research work causes the work to lose power. Potential applications of the information may be lost because of its inaccessibility.  

My project focuses on a transcription factor, a protein which can turn on or off the expression of other genes, thereby affecting the contents of a cell and its function. I am studying how the transcription factor TRPS1 may affect mineralization in tissues within teeth. Readers, including academics in the field, would be more engaged when learning about a topic if it is clearly understood. Therefore, avoiding the use of discipline specific jargon or actively defining these terms is the biggest practice that I employ to ensure my research to be accessible to a wide audience. Furthermore, I also aim to speak/write as concisely as possible. Unnecessary details can distract the audience from focusing on the pertinent information. Additionally, when a reader is hit with too much information, it becomes harder to process the significance of the project and the reader may be more inclined to lose interest.  

Capturing the audience’s attention is essential to convey one’s research effectively. This can be accomplished by connecting one’s research to something general that the audience can connect to. In relation to my project, this connection lies in one’s oral health. My research aims to help answer how individuals who practice good oral hygiene and eat a proper diet may still be predisposed to having cavities. Dental caries or cavities is a largely widespread issue that affects close to 90% of the adult population in the United States. This helps to make my research relevant to the general public and attract people who may not know much about the field to learn more about the topic.  

Currently, I am aiming to pursue a career in dentistry, a field in which I would be interacting with people from several different backgrounds. When treating patients, a very important skill to cultivate is effective communication of these complex procedures. By informing and educating patients, the patients will better understand why treatment options are recommended, the status of their oral health, and what future steps can be taken to prevent damage in the future. Hopefully, I can incorporate communication skills learned through the Brackenridge Fellowship to my future endeavors as a dentist.  

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