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Meet the Vice Chair of the eviDent Foundation Board, Dr Jan Tennent

Tell us about your background

My ‘love affair’ with research began last century, on the first day of the second year of my science degree at Monash University! My specialist skills and knowledge gathering in microbiology, molecular biology, antimicrobial resistance mechanisms and vaccine development came from 18 years working as an applied research scientist at Monash during my PhD, as a post-doctoral researcher in the medical school at Umeå University, Sweden, and then as a senior research scientist and program manager at CSIRO Animal Health, Parkville.

Through subsequent executive roles at CSL, Pfizer and ConnectBio, I gained more than a decade of experience in the translation and commercialisation of research outcomes to products and practices for the benefit of humans and animals. My most recent executive role was as CEO of Biomedical Victoria, the premier voice for linking medical research to clinical care in Victoria (2012-2019).

These days, I’m proud to mentor many ‘next-gen’ researchers and am inspired to apply and share my knowledge and experience through a number of advisory panel appointments and non-executive director governance roles including with the eviDent Foundation, Apiam Animal Health (ASX:AHX), AusBiotech, and Agriculture Victoria Services.

What attracted you to join the eviDent Foundation Board?

It was the chance to contribute to the great work already being done by the Board to improve oral health outcomes for the community and to inform national and global dental health policy. For over 10 years, the eviDent Foundation has enabled partnerships between clinicians and scientists to deliver innovative, practice-based research outcomes that can be rapidly translated via the clinic to benefit the community.

What excites you most about your position as Vice Chair of the eviDent Foundation?

The opportunity to learn from the highly skilled, experienced and committed colleagues with whom I have the good fortune to share the board table.

What can an organisation like eviDent achieve?

Now more than ever Australians need clinicians and scientists to collaborate on finding solutions for the threats to our health and wellbeing. The eviDent Foundation can both facilitate and enable this vital collaboration.

What would you like to achieve with eviDent in the next few years?

  • Greater understanding and recognition by policy makers and the public of the critical link between an individual’s dental and oral health and their overall health.
  • An increase in the number of Australian dentists involved in research.
  • More grants, of greater value, available from public and private sources to support the eviDent Foundation’s innovative research program.

Dr Jan Tennent
eviDent Foundation Vice Chair