Right at home

Smooth transition for new diagnostic sciences department head
June 27th, 2019

Dr. Yi-Shing Lisa Cheng

As Dr. Yi-Shing Lisa Cheng steps into Dr. John M. Wright’s role as diagnostic sciences department head, she knows he’s a tough act to follow. Her peers, it seems, have no doubt the transition will be a smooth one.

Cheng, a faculty member since 2002, says she is grateful for the trust and support of those around her. She has been “touched by the warm greetings I’ve received from so many faculty and staff members, and from students,” she says.

Wright will stay on full time until Cheng’s previous position as director of pathology is filled. He then will scale back to a part-time faculty role.

“Our department has been a pleasant working environment for all of us under his leadership,” she says. “I will continue to rely a great deal on what I have learned from his example and mentoring.”

Her most pressing tasks, Cheng says, include hiring a replacement for her previous role — which included directing the oral and maxillofacial pathology advanced education program — implementing the new curriculum and addressing details concerning the health science center’s faculty practice plan. After that, she will turn her attention to mentoring junior faculty members and maximizing clinical research.

“I believe she brings the research focus, interpersonal skills and understanding of the educational programs to well serve the department and college going forward,” said Dr. Lawrence E. Wolinsky, dean.

Last year, Cheng completed a portion of her ongoing research that may open the door to early detection of oral cancer by measuring glycerophospholipid levels in saliva. Research findings are being readied for publication, she says. A large-scale study is also being discussed. In 2016, Cheng was honored by the college for her outstanding contributions in clinical research.

Cheng received her specialty training in oral and maxillofacial pathology at the college and has a master’s degree and doctorate in biomedical studies from Baylor University. She earned her dental degree from the School of Dentistry at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan.

— Kathleen Green Pothier