Published November 1, 2022
UB alumna Jennifer Webster-Cyriaque, deputy director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was elected to the National Academy of Medicine.
Election to the National Academy of Medicine is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Membership recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health.
Webster-Cyriaque was recognized for making groundbreaking contributions to the understanding of the role of virus-host interaction in oral disease. Most notably, she showed that oral Epstein-Barr virus permissive infection was a lytic and transforming infection, and she described oral Kaposi’s sarcoma herpesvirus replication and oral iatrogenic Kaposi’s development.
She earned a DDS degree and a bachelor’s degree in biology and interdisciplinary sciences from UB. Other UB dental alumni to receive membership in the National Academy of Medicine include NIH acting director Lawrence Tabak and the late UB faculty member Robert Genco, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Oral Biology, Periodontics and Microbiology.
“This is wonderful news from several aspects,” says Stefan Ruhl, interim dean and professor of oral biology. “We all here at the UB School of Dental Medicine are extremely proud of our class of ’92 graduate, Dr. Jennifer Webster-Cyriaque, who was elected to the National Academy of Medicine. What a great acknowledgement also for dentistry. It highlights the importance of our discipline as an integrative part of overall medicine.”
An accomplished clinician, researcher and leader, Webster-Cyriaque is also the NIH laboratory chief of viral oral infections in immunosuppression and cancer at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Prior to joining the NIDCR — the largest oral health research funding organization in the world — she served as a faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry. 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 such as HPV, and studied the impact of the oral microbiome and oral health on HIV outcomes.
Webster-Cyriaque received a PhD in microbiology and immunology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.