Final Words: Sonam Khurana & Her Passion For Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
Your name, program, thesis title.
Sonam Khurana, Master of Science in Dental Science (Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology), Effect of mandible phantom inclination (30° inclination) in the axial plane on image quality in the presence of implant using cone-beam computed tomography.
Please tell me about yourself, why did you pick UT Health San Antonio, and your program.
Originally, I am from India. I have completed my masters in oral medicine and radiology with a gold medal from India. During my master’s I have developed a passion for maxillofacial radiology. I sought the oral and maxillofacial residency at UT Health San Antonio because of its world-renowned reputation in clinical and didactic training. I’m on track to graduate in June 2021 and looking forward to progress in academia.
What has been the highlight of graduate school so far? Have you won any awards or have there been any achievements you’ve been proud of?
I’m fortunate to be a part of a program open to new technologies and students’ growth. Our structured program and growing use of cone-beam computed tomography in dentistry have been a definite highlight of my training. I was fortunate to win a poster presentation at School of Dentistry Research and Clinical Symposium at UT Health San Antonio 2020, Briscoe Library’s Image of Research 2020 competition, and Maria Yeung Student Research Award 2020 during my training at UT Health San Antonio.
Please provide a few sentences summarizing your thesis. What was the experience like for you?
My research project was designed to examine the effect of phantom titling on the CBCT image quality in the presence of two implants. The metal artifact is inherent to CBCT in the presence of implants. We found out that appropriate inclination of the head can significantly reduce the metal artifact in the presence of implants and thus improve the CBCT image quality for post-operative follow-up. Throughout the project, I had encountered a few challenges, but with my supervisor’s help and guidance, I was able to stay on track and finish it on time.
Why are you passionate about your research topic? How did you first become interested in it?
Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) is the center of dentistry nowadays; however, its quality degrades in the presence of metallic structures. I have been working with this modality for almost eight years now, and multiple times, images were inconclusive due to metal artifacts. My experience with the CBCT modality motivated me to conduct research that will improve the CBCT quality.
I am looking forward to joining a Ph.D. program in Radiation Physics after graduation.
Any advice for your fellow graduate students?
“There is no elevator to success; you have to take the stairs.” Hard work is the key to achieve your goals. Stay persistent and passionate.