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Janet Guthmiller - September 2013

Janet Guthmiller, D.D.S., Ph.D., is associate dean for academic affairs and professor in the Department of Periodontology at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill School of Dentistry. Currently, she is leading the dental school in a comprehensive review and revitalization of the D.D.S. curriculum. Previously, she was full-time faculty at the University of Maryland and the University of Iowa where she was involved with predoctoral and postdoctoral education, maintained a private practice and performed research.
Guthmiller received her D.D.S. from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry, and her Periodontal Certificate and Ph.D. in cellular and structural biology from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio as a part of the NIH-sponsored Dentist-Scientist Program. Guthmiller’s NIDCR funded research has encompassed molecular biological studies of periodontal pathogens and expression and function of innate antimicrobials. She has published numerous manuscripts and abstracts. 

Guthmiller has been the recipient of collegiate, university and national teaching and mentoring awards, including the Faculty Mentor of the Year from the National Student Research Group of the AADR in 2007. She has mentored more than 35 students, many whom have received national research awards and leadership recognition. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology, a fellow in the International College of Dentists and American College of Dentists, a Commission Consultant for the Commission on Dental Accreditation and associate editor for oral health for MedEdPORTAL Publications. She has been an AADR member since 1991.
What motivated you to join AADR? 
I joined as a student when I was in the Dental Scientist Program at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. As part of the program, I was conducting dental research and I became involved in AADR as a student member. I utilized AADR as a forum to network with people and to present my research findings. Subsequently I became involved in the AADR by serving on the Membership Committee, the National Affairs Committee, and most recently the National Student Research Group as a faculty mentor.
How would you describe the first time you attended an AADR Annual Meeting?
It was inspiring to walk into this community of scientists who were so welcoming to me as a student. They were very interested in my research and were inspiring and supportive by providing collaborations and resources to help me build my career. I found the AADR Annual Meeting to be very welcoming, encouraging and a very upholding and supportive environment as a student colleague.
What do you find to be the most valuable benefit of AADR membership?
I think the most valuable benefit is the collaboration and networking that you experience through the organization, whether it is through Committee work or at the meetings. Another key benefit is the manner in which AADR supports and nurtures oral health research.
How valuable has your AADR membership been to your career?
It has been extremely valuable. At the beginning of my career, I utilized the resources and networking opportunities to establish collaborations, and to meet people with various scientific and educational perspectives. As my academic career continued – not just with my research but with my administrative appointments – AADR has remained a very vital piece that supports research in dental education. AADR has been a valued part of my portfolio.
How important do you think cross-collaboration with other scientific disciplines is to the future of dental, oral and craniofacial research?
It’s essential. You have to have cross-fertilization and can’t be siloed. Our work is interdisciplinary and it needs to be translational. It’s vital that people are communicating across disciplines, and AADR meetings and other forums that AADR provides are an opportunity to immerse yourself into the world of oral health research.
What’s a message you want to give to future dental researchers to help them be successful researchers?
The importance of staying connected and staying involved is critical. That’s why it’s necessary to have AADR as a foundational template so that you can reach out to people for encouragement and support during challenging times as well as when you’re looking for future collaborations. It’s that commitment and excitement that you get from an association such as AADR that keeps you inspired and gives you the necessary resources to be successful as a researcher and academician.


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