Webster-Cyriaque Named NIDCR Deputy Director
Dr. Jennifer Webster-Cyriaque joined NIDCR as its new deputy director on Dec. 6. Previously, she served as a faculty member for 21 years at the University of North Carolina schools of dentistry and medicine, where she practiced dentistry and studied the role of viruses like HIV and herpes simplex virus in oral lesions and cancers.
“As a beneficiary of the NIDCR training pipeline, I have always been drawn to NIDCR’s mission, and to the tremendous impact I know the institute can have by translating scientific discoveries and reducing oral health disparities,” said Webster-Cyriaque. “As someone who has studied the nexus of oral health and infectious disease, NIDCR’s focus on understanding the oral health implications of Covid-19 leave me eager to play a role in the developing science around emerging infectious diseases.”
Webster-Cyriaque served as a tenured full professor at the UNC schools of dentistry and medicine, where she also served as the attending on clinical service at UNC Hospital’s dental clinic. While there, she led research into a potential etiologic agent for salivary gland disease in patients living with HIV, assessed the oral microbiome and its implications for cancer-causing viruses and studied the impact of the oral microbiome and oral health on HIV outcomes.
“As a dentist-scientist, educator and passionate mentor, Dr. Webster-Cyriaque brings a wealth of expertise to our institute,” said NIDCR director Dr. Rena D’Souza. “She is a natural leader whose talent and insights are matched by her impressive understanding of the science and of the people and processes that make it possible.”
In addition to her research pursuits, Webster-Cyriaque has held leadership roles as the chair/vice chair of the Oral HIV/AIDS Research Alliance, research director at the National Dental Association Foundation, director of postdoctoral CTSA training, along with multiple positions within the American Association for Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Research and the International Association for Dental Research.
Since 2004, she has led the UNC Malawi project and provided assistance in founding Malawi’s first dental school in 2019.
Webster-Cyriaque earned her Ph.D. in microbiology/immunology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1998, her D.D.S. from SUNY Buffalo in 1992 and her B.A. in biology and interdisciplinary social science from SUNY Buffalo in 1988.