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Scoffield is first to receive dental fellowship to promote diversity in research

Written by  Jeff Hansen
  • June 27, 2019

Jessica Scoffield 350 INsIDEJessica Scoffield, Ph.D.Jessica Scoffield, Ph.D., assistant professor of microbiology is the first recipient of a new American Association for Dental Research fellowship to increase representation of young academic researchers from under-represented racial and ethnic groups in science and academia. 

The $10,000 Underrepresented Faculty Research Fellowship was awarded to Scoffield June 19 during the opening ceremonies of the joint meeting of the International, American and Canadian associations for Dental Research, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“It is an opportunity of a lifetime to lead my own research program.”

~ Jessica Scoffield

“It is an opportunity of a lifetime to lead my own research program,” Scoffield explained. “I am thrilled to know that the AADR and Procter & Gamble value and support my research and are committed to increasing the representation of underrepresented faculty in academia. For this, I am truly grateful.” 

Scoffield, whose research examines the role of commensal bacteria in polymicrobial lung and oral infections, has discovered novel antimicrobial mechanisms used by commensal bacteria that inhibit pathogenic bacteria. Scoffield, who joined UAB in 2018, hopes to use this fellowship to advance her research and provide training to under-represented students that may inspire them to pursue an academic research career.

Scoffield realized her passion for biomedical research while completing her undergraduate degree at Tuskegee University. There she began by assisting with developing plant growth systems for space missions and eventually started working with a team developing edible vaccines using plants.

“The research was exciting for me, and I was motivated by the fact that what we were doing would someday help a lot of people,” Scoffield said. “These experiences set me up for success later on at UAB.”