Eastman Dental Institute


Women in Dentistry

Women in UK Dentistry: A timeline

  • 1895 - In 1895, Lillian Lindsay became the first qualified woman dentist in the UK.
  • 1920 - The Robert and Lillian Lindsay library is opened in 1920, it was founded and organised by Lillian Lindsey and is the most comprehensive dental library in Europe located at the British Dental Association Headquarters.
  • 1937 - By 1937, 3.2% of dentists registered with the GDC were women.
  • 1946 - Lillian Linsay became the first female president of the British Dental Association.
  • 1972 - By 1972, this figure had risen to 12.8%.
  • 2000 - At the turn of the Millennium, 32% of UK dentists were women. By the middle of the decade, this figure had risen to 37%.
  • 2020 - By 2020, over 50% of all dentists in the UK are women. 

Meet our Female Dentists 

NameWhy I chose a career in Dentistry?
Dina Dedi, Director of Aesthetic Dentistry Programmes
Dr Dina Dedi 

Director of Aesthetic Dentistry Programmes and Prosthodontist Specialist 


I chose a career in dentistry because it combines creativity, science and fulfilment being able to help and care for people's health and wellbeing.  

When I was 18, I had already enrolled in a university degree in French Literature and I was preparing for the exams at the School of Fine Arts. I was creating a lot of paintings and I participated in a few formal exhibitions. That summer I went through a period of change and reflection. I decided that I needed a more structured career and a career to combine art, beauty and health. I chose to do Dentistry knowing that I wanted to Specialise in Prosthodontics which is one of the most aesthetic dental fields. I completed dental school in Athens Greece and then I left for the USA to specialise in Prosthodontics and then in Maxillofacial Prosthetics. I wanted to help patients not only restore their smiles but also help patients with facial and mouth deformities from trauma or cancer. During my USA training I decided I wanted to combine clinical care and teaching therefore I pursued an academic career with University of North Carolina.

I was then very fortunate to join UCL Eastman upon my return to Europe in 2007.  I enjoy creating new healthy smiles. I view every patient treatment as a bespoke creation, and I enjoy treating challenging scenarios. 

Dr Natalie Loew, Clinical Lecturer and Deputy Programme Director
Dr Natalie Leow 

Clinical Lecturer and Deputy Programme Director, MClinDent Periodontology 


I first realised I wanted to be dentist when I was 16 years old, mainly because my sister had started the course and I was exposed more to what was really involved.  Dentistry always seemed the ideal combination of biology and artistic flair, with the added benefit of regular working hours (possibly not as an academic!).  

I studied for my undergraduate dental degree (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) and my 3 year postgraduate specialisation (Master of Dental Science in Periodontology) at the University of Sydney, Australia.  I won an ITI scholarship (International Team of Implantology) to further my educational experience at Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, USA. 

Following my return to Australia and working for a number of years in private specialty practice, I realised that I wanted to pursue an academic career, which has fortunately led me to be at UCL Eastman Dental Institute. 

Dr Tathyane Teshima, NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer
Dr Tathyane H N Teshima 

NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in Oral Medicine 


I chose a career in Dentistry still while at school after being encouraged by an enthusiastic dentist who showed us how diverse and dynamic this career could be, including helping patients, teaching and research. Since then, I knew I wanted to pursue this to fulfil my desire to become a healthcare professional.  

When I was 17, I joined the Dental School at University of Sao Paulo, in Brazil where I was born and bred. My university was very encouraging to engage students in research and few years later I engaged in the BSc programme in General and Oral Pathology as I was fascinated about learning about the mechanisms of oral disease. I continued my trajectory by publishing my first paper and was then able to enrol the PhD programme straight after my graduation to pursue my academic career alongside practicing general dentistry.  

During my PhD, I could discover a whole new world of possibilities in learning further about oral disease and also having my own research project in basic science and proper lab bench work. I also knew I wanted to have experience abroad, and I was granted a PhD scholarship to spend a year in the UK, at King's College London. This was a successful collaboration that continued few years after during my postdoctoral fellowship, also funded by a research funder from Brazil.    

This led me to publish more original articles from my research projects, and along with my GDC registration in the UK, I was then keen to combine my knowledge of basic science and translate into practice in oral medicine as was always my passion. I was fortunate to join the Eastman Dental Institute in 2019 in my current post as academic clinical lecturer, which allows me to continue this journey in becoming specialist in Oral Medicine along with continuing my research aspirations and teaching future professionals. It has been a fantastic journey that I hope to continue contributing to advance research in my field, as well as providing high quality clinical care. 

Valeria Mercadante, NIHR Clinical Lecturer
Dr Valeria Mercadante 

NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Oral Medicine 


I always knew I wanted to provide public service to the community and I considered a career in Medicine or Dentistry. I chose Dentistry because it is a career that provides plenty of rewards and challenges while offering a flexible life-style. 

During my undergraduate studies in Italy, my plan was to work in Paediatric dentistry. During my fourth year, however, I met a passionate Professor in Oral Medicine who inspired me to follow an academic career in Oral Medicine. I, therefore, decided to pursue my academic dream and I was successful in obtaining a UCL scholarship to fund a clinical PhD which I have completed in 2015. I then worked as a part-time clinician and part-time postdoc to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge that have allowed me to become a specialty trainer in Oral Medicine. I am now in my third year of specialty training. 

I realised I wanted to be a dentist during my final year. While I was considering my career choice, I visited my dentist as I was experiencing dental pain. My dentist was exceptional, and I remember thinking by the end of the appointment that this was what I wanted to do – provide preventative care, explaining/eliminating pain, and positively transforming our patient oral health. 

Dr Inbar Eshkol-Yogev, Clinical Lecturer in Periodontology
Dr. Inbar Eshkol-Yogev  

Clinical Lecturer in Periodontology. 

I Graduated in dentistry at Tel Aviv University, Israel, in 2010 (DMD, Cum Laude). Completed the post-graduate program in Periodontology at the Department of Periodontology, Hadassah & Hebrew University Faculty of Dental Medicine (EFP cert.) in 2016.  

Following my specialty training, with my clinical experience in periodontology and implantology, I started PhD in Biomedical engineering. Through my PhD studies, I developed and studied novel composite hydrogels loaded with functional fillers for bone regeneration and soft tissues.  

I have been lecturing and teaching students in different universities for the past twelve years, my experience includes providing lectures and seminars, clinical teaching, and supervision of research projects and dissertations. 

In June 2021, I was fortunate to join UCL Eastman dental institute as a clinical lecturer and be part of the amazing Periodontology unit team and continue to teach periodontology with great passion. 

Linh Nguyen, Lecturer in Biomaterials and Allied Subjects
Dr Linh Nguyen

Lecturer in Biomaterials and Allied Subjects

My research interest at Eastman is to design and develop biomaterials including polymers, ceramics, and composites for oral and dental applications. I chose this career because I aim to produce materials that benefit patients in dentistry such as safe and cost-effective. My career pathway is to be involved in basic research development and then the research will be able to translate into the market for commercialisation.  

During my PhD degree, I realised that I enjoy working in the field of biomaterials because it enables healing and restores function for people after disease or trauma. For dental tissue repair, patients will benefit by choosing the appropriate biomaterials that can reduce health risks and help dentists to deliver more successful dental tissue treatments.

Mei Huang
Mei Huang

Clinical Training Fellow / NIHR Clinical Lecturer

While growing up I saw the impact of dental problems on people’s lives, including my elderly relatives, I was so fascinated by how dentists could help them to improve their oral health and quality of life; that was something that I would like to do myself. When I was 14 years old I started my orthodontic treatment and I experienced being in dental surgery and seeing how the dentist worked which confirmed my childhood dream that dentistry was a career for me.

So after high school, I enrolled in a dental school and in 2010 I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Dentistry in China. After graduation, I worked in a local dental surgery and developed a deep interest in periodontology. This then led me to pursue a Master’s degree in Periodontology. During my postgraduate study, I had the opportunity to contribute to research projects in the group, and this research experience has helped me find my passion for academic research and established my research interests. In 2013 I moved to London to continue my research training and completed my PhD study in dental biomaterial followed by two years of postdoctoral training at Barts and London School of Medicine and Dentistry, QMUL. Thereafter, I realized that I would like a position where I could link my clinical and research interests and experience them together.  I was fortunate to join UCL Eastman Dental Institute in 2020 as an NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Periodontology.

Fiona Verisqa
Fiona Verisqa

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon / PhD Student in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

I chose a career in dentistry because I am inspired by my orthodontist, who treated me when I was a young girl. Having regular contact with her exposed me to dentistry and its broad scope. I want to help others like how she helped me back then, and I decided to enrol at the Faculty of Dentistry, Universitas Indonesia, Indonesia.  

During my undergraduate study, I found surgery very fascinating. The fact that I could learn medicine and dentistry led me to continue my training to become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. I am particularly interested in reconstructive surgery and combining tissue engineering approaches to restore craniofacial defects. 

I believe that clinical skills and research experience will help me to perform as a better surgeon. Therefore, I joined UCL Eastman to pursue a PhD in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering to achieve my goal of providing the best treatment for my patients. 

Anne Young
Professor Anne Young

Professor of Biomaterials

For my undergraduate degree I chose Chemistry as I felt it would provide me with a challenging career and opportunities for innovative research.  My PhD was in polymer physics.  This enabled me to travel widely and work with oil and polymer industries.  These, at the time, were rapidly expanding and gave me considerable opportunities to improve my understanding of polymers and colloids. After 6 years working with Exxon, then BP, I moved back into academia: first as a researcher on drug delivery then a chemistry lecturer at Brunel University.

In 2000 I obtained a research position funded by Schottlander Dental Company at the Eastman Dental Institute and a year later was appointed as a lecturer.  This position enabled me to combine all my knowledge of chemistry, polymer and colloids in challenging biomedical fields.  It provided me with many new opportunities to work with staff and students from a diverse range of scientific and clinical disciplines.  I have since been working primarily on the development of injectable, drug-releasing materials for tooth and bone repair.   One major project of my research group has been the development of a new self-repairing tooth restoration material.  In a first in Human study, this was shown to restore children’s teeth without need for anaesthetic and drill.  I am particularly pleased with this development as it could help prevent future generations of young children undergoing the trauma of tooth-drilling that I experienced as a child.  We are just starting a phase II clinical trial and working through what is required for CE marking and commercialisation with Schottlander.

Maja Sabalic
Maja Sabalic

NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Periodontology

I started considering a career in healthcare following hospitalisation for an acute critical illness at the age of 14. Initially, I thought I would specialise in one of the fields of medicine like some of my family members. However, towards the end of high school, dentistry became my first choice, due to my perception that there is an art to it and it involves creativity.

During my dental studies at the University of Zagreb I was exposed to different types of research and was fortunate to have excellent clinical academic and research scientist mentors who inspired me to pursue further research training. The plan to start my own dental practice in Croatia was never realised because I got an opportunity for postgraduate studies abroad in London, UK. I was awarded King’s Health School Studentship and undertook a four-year PhD project studying biology of dental pulp stem cells at King’s College London. Since 2019, I have held National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Lectureship in Periodontology at UCL Eastman Dental Institute and I am undertaking specialist training in periodontics at The Royal National ENT and Eastman Dental Hospitals.

I enjoy working in academia which allows me to combine clinical practice with research and teaching. I find clinical work very rewarding and research exciting, and the challenges I encounter in clinics motivate me to continue learning and being involved in basic science and clinical research. I hope that during my career I will be able to contribute to advancing the dental profession and developing new regenerative treatments for patients with periodontal and peri-implant diseases.