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Effie Ioannidou - May 2017

Effie Ioannidou is a clinical scientist with training in periodontology and an associate professor and the Director of the Dental Clinical Research Center at the UCONN Health, School of Dental Medicine in Farmington, Connecticut.  She was awarded the Neal W. Chilton Fellowship in Clinical Research in 2008 and was elected as an AADR Fellow in 2017.  She currently serves as the associate editor for the JDR Clinical & Translational Research and is the AADR Board Member-at-Large (2017-2020).  She has served on numerous committees, including the Fellowships, Annual Session and Nominating Committees.  She also has served as a leader in many of the Groups/Networks in which she is active, Behavioral, Epidemiologic and Health Services Research, Microbiology/Immunology, Periodontal Research and the Women in Science Network.  

She received her D.D.S from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, a Certificate in Periodontology and a MDS from UCONN.  

Her research addresses clinical and translational questions related to the interactions between periodontal and kidney diseases. Her epidemiological focus lies on the surveillance of chronic periodontitis in renal populations as well as clinical questions related to the bidirectional relationship of the two chronic diseases. As periodontitis has been considered a forgotten comorbidity in renal disease with contribution to the inflammatory burden, Dr. Ioannidou aims to understand the magnitude of the anti-inflammatory effect of periodontal interventions in patients on hemodialysis. In a community-based model, Dr. Ioannidou and her multidisciplinary team focus on improving access to oral health and quality of life in end-stage renal disease.

How did you first learn about the AADR and what motivated you to join?
In 1998 during my residency in Periodontology, my mentor, the late John Dean, recommended I join and present at the General Session.  My poster presentation in that meeting was an eye opening experience.  It was exhilarating to be surrounded by the experience of my fellow researchers. At that moment I felt an immediate connection to the organization. 

What do you find to be the most valuable benefit of AADR membership?
The most valuable benefit of being part of AADR and IADR is being part of a global research community.  Through the website, government affairs blog, journals and meetings you are able to gain inspiration for your work.  All these features keep members engaged in the national research activities and informed with what is going on with the organization.

How important do you think cross-collaboration with other scientific disciplines is to the future of dental, oral and craniofacial research?
Cross collaboration is critical for the dental and craniofacial research and is facilitated though the AADR.  The Annual Meeting offers a great opportunity to find collaborators. During the meeting, I have watched collaborations develop from conversations around a topic or poster presentation.  As funding sources in the US are strongly moving in the direction of larger and diverse teams, the AADR is well positioned to help our members create interdisciplinary partnerships to move research ideas forward.

What do you want to see in the future for AADR?
I believe the AADR is positioning itself well for the future.  With activities such as the AADR Science Information Committee policies and working with federal agencies and other biomedical research organizations.  AADR provides a united voice for the industry that helps members and the greater research community.  Additionally, as a very diverse organization, AADR is proactively working on identifying ways to involve women and underrepresented minorities in the membership and the leadership positions in order to strengthen the organization. As a matter of fact, I have had the opportunity to work with the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, and witness the discussions towards this direction.

What is a message you want to give to future dental researchers?
Research is a mindset, a way of thinking. Research is not conducted in isolation. It is a deeply social and incredibly rewarding career path, which brings together problem solving, discovery, and creativity. As it happens with everything else in life, one has to be prepared for disappointment along the way. However, with hard work and persistence, the researcher could move science forward and make a pragmatic impact. Making the right career choice is important to ensure your professional success and personal happiness. 

Where do you feel the research community would be without AADR?
The AADR is the sole place to represent dental, oral and craniofacial researchers.  While there are specialty-focused professional organizations, they lack the research depth and intensity of the AADR.  In my opinion, the AADR offers a forum for researchers to think and plan future research directions, communicate, collaborate and mentor students and junior investigators in the research career development. The oral health research community is solely served by AADR.

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