August 2019 – Jennifer Webster-Cyriaque
Jennifer Webster-Cyriaque is a Professor and the Director of Oral Viral Pathogenesis Group at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Webster-Cyriaque received her D.D.S. from State University of New York at Buffalo and her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on oral and maxillofacial as well as oral disease in immunocompromised individuals. Webster-Cyriaque is the 2019 Chair of the AADR Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.
1. How did you first learn about AADR and what motivated you to join?
My first exposure to AADR was while I was getting my D.D.S. at the State University of New York at Buffalo. I did a summer research program at the University of Rochester, N.Y. and someone told me about the opportunity to present my research at the AADR Annual Meeting. It was awesome! At our universities, our research experiences are limited but the AADR Annual Meeting gave me exposure to many different types of interesting dental research.
2. What do you find to be the most valuable benefit of AADR membership?
The most valuable benefit of AADR is being a part of the vast IADR and AADR networks and connecting with colleagues. We are all working on different projects, but in concert with the same goal of advancing dental, oral and craniofacial research. There are not many other groups that include so many different types of research and it’s a great interface for meeting smart and interesting people.
3. What is the best way for other members to become more involved in AADR?
I think it is important to engage beyond the meetings. It’s the people who make the AADR special, you meet with them but go back and work with students and support their science and their involvement. Member involvement in AADR is critical to helping grow the field. Advocacy is a great way for members to get involved. To sustain our research, we need to continue to promote AADR and dental research and share our mission with students, coworkers, other researches and push to interact with government officials.
4. You’ve been involved in leadership roles within multiple IADR Scientific Groups/Networks. What roles did/do you hold and why did you volunteer your time for these groups? What is the benefit of being in multiple IADR Scientific Groups/Networks?
I attended and presented at an IADR meeting and IADR and AADR Past President John Greenspan approached me and invited me to join the Oral Medicine and Pathology Group. Ever since then I’ve been active within the Group and within IADR/AADR. In 2003 I was elected as an officer of the Group than President, Member-at-Large and I served as a review group program chair and helped organize symposia. I am also involved in the meet-a-mentor program and the AADR Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.
5. You are currently the Chair of the newly formed AADR Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. What motivated you to step into this role?
I think that it’s important to have a diverse work force. It allows us to increase the depth and breadth of our science and expand the pool of dental researchers and academics. It is also important to improve access to and improve the type of care that underserved populations receive. AADR has always been a welcoming place for me so the AADR Committee on Diversity and Inclusion is an opportunity to formalize and be intentional about that agenda.