Webster, Cynthia

Dr Cynthia RL Webster is Professor and Associate Chair of Research in the Clinical Science Department at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. She attended Cornell University where her love of the liver emerged. As a student she worked with Dr Bud Tennant on his pioneering work on woodchuck hepatitis virus and with Dr Sharon Center on her studies on the use of bile acids as a diagnostic test. After graduating in 1985 she did 3 years in private practice before returning for residency training at the Foster Hospital at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. She became an ACVIM diplomate in small animal internal medicine in 1993. She then did a 3 year post-doctoral fellowship in hepatocyte physiology in the lab of Dr Win Arias at Tufts University School of Medicine where she studied hepatocyte canalicular transport mechanisms. In 1997 she accepted a faculty position at Cumming School.

During her time as a faculty member Dr Webster had been involved in both basic science and clinical research. For 15 years Dr Webster ran an NIH funded research lab studying bile acid medicated death signaling in hepatocytes. Her lab was the first to show that cAMP activates the exchange protein activated by cAMP in hepatocytes and to link this activation to cytoprotection in the liver. In her clinical research, Dr Webster has identified important hepatobiliary syndromes that occur in dogs and cats including the description of the use of bile acids to diagnose liver disease in dogs (now a standard diagnostic test), gallbladder mucoceles in dogs (now one of the most commonly recognized biliary abnormalities in dogs), a familial chronic copper associated hepatitis in Labrador retrievers, acute liver failure in the dog and bile duct obstruction in cats. Over the last 10 years Dr Webster has done pioneering studies to characterize coagulation parameters in dogs and cats with various hepatobiliary disorders. These studies suggest that a range of coagulation abnormalities (hypocoagulability, hypercoagulability and hyperfibrinolysis) accompany acute and chronic liver disease in the dog and cat. She was also chair of the ACVIM Canine Chronic Hepatitis Consensus Group and is active in this groups efforts to modify dietary copper concentrations for dogs to prevent copper associated liver disease.

Dr Webster is currently a member of the Comparative Gastroenterology Society and a board member of the Society of Comparative Hepatology She is a member of both the AVMA and the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease. She lives in Grafton, MA with her husband Kim who is a musician, her cat Fender (named after the guitar not the car part) and her son, Eric, who is studying to become a computer engineer.