Jennifer Webster-Cyriaque, DDS, PhD, is the 2017 recipient of the Hortense K. McClinton Outstanding Faculty Staff Award. The award is sponsored by BAR: Black Alumni Reunion, of UNC General Alumni Association, and honors a faculty or staff member, past or present, who has made outstanding contributions to the Carolina community. She was honored at the Light on the Hill Society Scholarship Awards Gala on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017 at the Sheraton Chapel Hill.
“I have been blessed and am honored to contribute to our Carolina community, a collaborative environment that seeks to make the future a better place locally and globally,” said Webster-Cyriaque. “I have had opportunities to do what I love- translation, care, and teaching- bringing work at the bench to clinical care, serving underserved and compromised communities to improve oral health, and working toward building a diverse next generation of providers and scientists who will make a difference.”
Webster-Cyriaque is a professor in both the Department of Dental Ecology at UNC School of Dentistry and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UNC School of Medicine. Dr. Webster-Cyriaque earned her PhD in microbiology and immunology from UNC School of Medicine in 1998 and has contributed to the Carolina community as a professor ever since.
“Jennifer is a leader and a long-time member of the UNC community,” said Dean Scott S. De Rossi, DMD, MBA. “Her dedication not only to her work at the UNC School of Dentistry, but also to the University as a whole, is an incredibly asset to all of us at UNC. Her outreach locally impacts those nearest to us, and her research makes a difference across the globe. She is incredibly deserving of this distinction.”
Webster-Cyriaque’s work spans all education levels and the community surrounding UNC. She mentors high school students and is an advisor for UNC’s Undergradute Student National Dental Association (USNDA), an organization working to increase the number of minority students entering dental school. She spearheaded the UNC Malawi Project, allowing dental students to travel to Malawi and provide oral healthcare services to Malawians who could not receive care otherwise. Webster-Cyriaque’s distinction in mentorship to minority students interested in a biomedical sciences PhD and career earned her the Mentor of the Year Award from UNC School of Medicine’s Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD). Each month, she attends the Student National Dental Association CAARE clinic in Durham, which is a student-led free clinic that provides oral care and education to adults in the Durham area.
As a leader in the field of oral biology, Dr. Webster-Cyriaque has published more than 50 articles on the subject and is the director of the Viral Oral Infections in Immunosuppression and Cancer (VOIICe) program. She is a founding member of both the American Association for Dental Research’s Diversity Task Force and the National Dental Association’s (NDA) Research Executive Committee. She has received numerous awards for her excellence in research and education, including the Infectious Disease Society of America’s Gertrude Elion Award, the NDA’s Colgate Palmolive Faculty Research Award, and the Old North State Dental Society’s Overall Outstanding Achievement Award.