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/ Categories: Strides in Science

November 2019 – Susan W. Herring

Susan W. Herring received her B.S. in Zoology and her Ph.D. Anatomy at the University of Chicago, Illinois, where she studied the comparative cranial anatomy of pigs and their close relatives. Feeling the need to work with live animals, she moved to the College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago as an NIH postdoctoral fellow, where she developed techniques to record masticatory muscle activity and jaw movement from unrestrained animals. Herring remained at University of Illinois at Chicago until 1990, rising to Professor of Oral Anatomy and Anatomy. In 1990 she took up her current position as Professor of Orthodontics and Oral Biology, now Oral Health Sciences, at the University of Washington, Seattle. Herring’s work on the biology of the craniofacial musculoskeletal system has been continuously funded by NIH for over 35 years. She has served on the editorial boards of multiple journals and held office in several societies, is a fellow of AADR and AAAS. Herring is the recipient of the 1999 Craniofacial Biology Research Award from IADR. 

1.    How did you first learn about AADR and what motivated you to join? 

I don’t really remember how I learned about AADR, but I became a faculty member at the University of Illinois’s College of Dentistry in 1972 and I must have known about the Association by then. I did not join right away, but when an IADR/AADR meeting was held in Chicago, I felt I had to join.

2.    How long have you been an AADR member? What do you find to be the most valuable benefit of AADR membership? 

I first gave a talk at the IADR/AADR General Session in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1979 but I did not join until the Chicago meeting in 1981 so I have been a member for 38 years. I like the meetings, where I benefit from the new science presented and enjoy meeting old friends. 

3.    You are a member of both the IADR Craniofacial Biology Group and the IADR Neuroscience Group. How has being involved in two IADR Scientific Groups/Networks enhanced your career and IADR membership experience? What is the best way for others to get involved in the 32 IADR Scientific Groups/Networks?

I joined both groups because my research on muscle function and the skull straddles craniofacial biology and neuroscience. It is difficult to be equally involved in two different groups that have simultaneous business meetings, so my involvement in the IADR Neuroscience Group is mainly by reading the newsletters. However, I’ve been quite active in the IADR Craniofacial Biology Group and have served in various positions including President in 1997-98. I don’t know whether this enhanced my career, but it did allow me to meet many interesting people and form connections that would otherwise not have occurred. Young researchers should be encouraged to join IADR Scientific Groups/Networks, to attend their business meetings, to volunteer their help and to organize symposia. It is a good way to become a leader in the field. 

4.    What do you want to see in the future for AADR?

I hope AADR will continue to advocate for the importance of research in advancing health care. I hope also that the Association will be able to improve the diversity of its membership and support efforts to increase inclusivity in oral health research.

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