An associate professor at the School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Neamat Hassan Abubakr Hassan says one of the reasons she chose dentistry as a career is because it offers such a variety of specialties.
Prior to UNLV
My education and work experience took place outside the United States, namely in Africa, Europe, Japan, and the Middle East, which provided me with a unique exposure to different educational systems and working environments.
Being a teacher, researcher, and clinician — each dominated the others during some point throughout my career. As I progressed, my focus steered more toward research and education at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. My expertise stems from my contribution to dental education, translational research, and clinical trials activities.
Inspiration to get into your field
I share the same reasons that inspired me to choose dentistry with those I advise. Dentistry offers work flexibility, several avenues or specialties, and is a fast-growing, innovative career choice.
Biggest misconception about dentistry
There are many misconceptions. Two of the biggest are that root canals are extremely painful procedures (they haven’t been for years), and that baby teeth are not important and can be taken out at any stage. Baby teeth that fall out naturally lead to healthier development and spacing of adult teeth.
My clinical research targets the performance and behavior of dental materials within the oral cavity.
During this early stage of my research activity, first-year dental students have the opportunity to be involved with the basic sciences faculty members and collaborate with clinical faculty members in their research projects and presentations of their findings. These opportunities enhance our students’ potential for admission to postdoctoral programs in dental specialties.
The students’ inquisitive minds form the basis of many research questions that progress to research projects.
Biggest misconception about Las Vegas
That if you live here or move here, you must like to gamble. I also thought that as a major tourist destination, the whole city would be crowded 24-7. I quickly discovered those who live here have regular lives and are exceptionally friendly. The city also offers a great working environment.
The most Vegas thing you’ve done since you got here
Of course, I visited the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign first and am now working my way through other attractions. I haven’t yet watched the Bellagio fountains, and I am not sure if I will have the courage for the Stratosphere’s Sky Jump. I am diligently following news about and progress of the Las Vegas Raiders team.
Outside of your research, things you are passionate about
Playing table tennis, swimming, and enjoying fabulous meals.
My favorite foods are sushi, tempura, and Middle-Eastern food. My family traditions are shared cultural traditions.
Something people would be surprised to learn about you
I can speak Japanese and German. In fact, many people from Japan find it surprising that I can speak their language.
Problem in the world would you most like to fix
There is a very long list. First, I would vanquish racism and inequalities. I’d also like to fix the aging process so that we have eternal youth, which would mean my parents would still be around.
Start of fall versus end of spring semester
The start of the fall semester is more exciting because you are more energized and ready to make a difference.
Ideal summer vacation
Spending time with family and friends. However, fun, luxury holidays are also great.
If space tourism advances to the point where a trip to Mars and back were possible, would you go if the shortest round-trip ticket was three years?
Yes, I would like to go to Mars. However, I am not sure about the three years part. I consider three years a long time in a short life, so I would spend that time on lovely, beautiful Earth.
Advice to your younger self
To my younger self: Your parents really love you. Be humble, but bold. Most of the things you worry about rarely happen. Avoid lies and be brave enough to speak the truth. And, begin playing musical instruments as early as possible.