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URMC / Clinical & Translational Science Institute / Stories / June 2024 / Jin Xiao Joins UR CTSI as Associate Director of KL2 Career Development Program

Jin Xiao Joins UR CTSI as Associate Director of KL2 Career Development Program

Jin Xiao, DDS, PhDJin Xiao, DDS, PhD, associate professor of Dentistry at the UR Medicine Eastman Institute for Oral Health, will join the UR CTSI on July 1 as associate director of the KL2 Career Development Program, which provides two years of financial support and mentorship for early-career clinical and translational scientists. Xiao, a former KL2 scholar herself, will lead the program alongside Director Thu Le, MD, drawing on her past experience to help KL2 scholars make the difficult transition to independent research careers.

“Dr. Jin Xiao is a great fit for this role given her journey in clinical and translational science,” said Le, who is a professor of Medicine and chief of Nephrology at URMC. “She was awarded the UR CTSI KL2 award in 2017, and over the course of eight years has taken advantage of the resources available within the UR CTSI to chart an accomplished career path that has resulted in multiple NIH awards, publications, and high impact work to establish oral healthy equity.” 

Xiao studies severe early childhood tooth decay, a chronic, preventable, and painful condition that substantially impacts children’s quality of life. It also disproportionately affects children from historically marginalized communities and can take root before birth.

With KL2 support in 2017, Xiao studied how mothers’ oral health influenced the amount and type of yeast and bacteria found in the mouths of infants who were at high risk for severe early childhood tooth decay. Her research uncovered a strong link between infant’s and mother’s oral health and showed that certain types of yeast and bacteria were more likely to lead to poor oral health in early childhood.

Just a year later, she received a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Pipeline-to-Pilot Award from the UR CTSI that helped her establish a community-centered dental clinic for underserved pregnant women. She and her multidisciplinary team also leveraged the award to develop a smartphone app that uses artificial intelligence to detect tooth decay. Both efforts aimed to improve access to dental care to achieve oral health equity in our community and beyond.

 Xiao has also benefited from multiple UR CTSI services and programs.

“The UR CTSI resources were like a toy box for a child—I was excited to discover a whole new set of tools available to me” Xiao said. “I have received support from the CTSI Help Desk, the Greater Rochester Practice-Based Research Network, the Research Methods Forum, Community Studios, TriNetX cohort discovery tools, and various others, which have been instrumental in securing our current funding and conducting our research.”

Xiao credits UR CTSI services and support for helping her obtain $7.32 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health.

“Dr. Xiao’s highly successful research career trajectory embodies the spirit and mission of the UR CTSI and its KL2 program,” said UR CTSI Co-Director Karen Wilson, MD, MPH, who served as co-director of the KL2 Career Development Program for two years. “Her past experience and broad knowledge of our programs and services make her a perfect choice to support our early-career researchers—so they too can engage UR CTSI as a research partner beyond the KL2.”

Xiao says she is eager to give back to the KL2 family and to support the next generation of translational scientists, expanding on her previous experience mentoring several students in the UR CTSI Translational Biomedical PhD Program, visiting scholars from Research Centers in Minority Institutions, and a Diversity Supplement Awardee.

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The UR CTSI KL2 Career Development Program is supported by the University of Rochester CTSA award number KL2 TR001999 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Susanne Pritchard Pallo | 6/7/2024

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