Dr. Jessica Rosin Awarded Tier 2 Canada Research Chair

Dr. Jessica Rosin in her labDr. Jessica Rosin has accomplished a lot in her short time at UBC. Since joining the Faculty of Dentistry as an assistant professor in 2021, the Rosin Lab is up and running and she was recently announced as the Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Immune Regulation of Developmental Programs, making history as the first female researcher in the Faculty to hold a Tier 2 CRC position.

“I feel very grateful to have been awarded this chair position!” says Dr. Rosin. “I have colleagues who have held chair positions for several years, and it’s something they take a lot of pride in, so I’m excited to be part of this cohort and share in this unique opportunity to advance my research.”

Tier 2 CRCs are awarded to exceptional emerging researchers like Dr. Rosin, who are on track to become leaders in their field. The Rosin lab is focused on immune cells and how they communicate with other cells during pregnancy to result in the normal fetal development of the face and brain. The goal is to understand how immune cells contribute to the development of the fetus and how disruptions—such as stress or infection—impact the fetus and potentially lead to developmental disorders.

Once her team has a solid grasp on the role of immune cells in normal fetal development, they plan to study different models of infection that relate to the oral cavity, such as gingivitis. Using animal models, the Rosin lab will look at how maternal periodontal infection affects the development of the fetus’ face, brain and future behaviour.

“This area of research is quite new—there is very little data looking at maternal periodontal infection and the impact it can have on the developing fetus,” says Dr. Rosin. “The long-term goal is to determine if there is a connection between periodontal infection and disruptions in the developing fetus, which could ultimately improve prenatal care by underscoring the importance of oral healthcare for pregnant women.”

Dr. Jessica Rosin CRC Chair Tier 2Since establishing her lab, Dr. Rosin has been enjoying the collaborative nature of the Faculty of Dentistry. As a foundational researcher, the ultimate goal is for her work to inform clinical practice, a process that requires teaming up with other researchers and practicing dentists.

“I have colleagues who do clinical work, some like myself who do foundational research, and others who do both, and everyone has a great deal of respect for one another which helps foster meaningful collaborations,” says Dr. Rosin. “It’s such a great community to be a part of, and there’s a lot of potential for translating discoveries from the lab into the dental clinic.”

Dr. Rosin says she’s also been lucky to have several mentors at UBC who have helped make her transition to faculty member—and now Canada Research Chair—easier, including Dr. Joy Richman in Dentistry and UBC neuroscientist Dr. Shernaz Bamji.

“Being a woman in STEM can be challenging, but finding great mentors and staying true to who you are as a person and researcher is so important,” says Dr. Rosin. “I’m really looking forward to launching into this next phase of my research career, knowing I’m part of a great team who will support me.”