Researcher biography

Dr Sobia Zafar is a specialist paediatric dentist, clinical senior lecturer and the discipline lead in paediatric dentistry at The University of Queensland. She also holds an affiliated position of Senior Research Fellow at the Child Health Research Centre. She is the current president of the Australia and New Zealand Society of Paediatric Dentistry (ANZSPD) Qld section and the councillor for the International Association of Dental Research (IADR) ANZ for Brisbane section.

Sobia completed her DClinDent and PhD from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Her research and clinical interests are in dental education, digital dentistry, and children's oral health, including those with special needs. She is frequently an invited speaker nationally and internationally on these subjects. Sobia has over 100 publications, comprising full journal papers, a book chapter and published abstracts, in national and international high-quality peer-reviewed journals. Sobia has successfully supervised 40 Honours research students, five HDR (PhD and MPhil) and two DClinDent students to completion. Sobia was the winner of the "Best Research Supervisor Award" for Higher Degree Research students in 2022 and also in 2023.

She is a passionate teacher involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching at UQ and in the wider dental profession in Australia and overseas. She has also conducted multiple hands-on courses locally and overseas for the Australian Dental Association Qld branch. Sobia has received numerous teaching awards and fellowships in recognition of her contributions, including from UQ the HABS Commendation for Substantive Contributions to Student Learning (2020), HABS Programs that Enhance Learning (APEL) Commendation (2021), HABS Commendation for Substantive Contributions to Student Learning Award (2022), and a UQ Teaching Excellence Award for APEL Commendation (2022). In 2022, she gained a Fellowship from the Faculty of Dental Trainers of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, UK, as peer recognition for her accomplishments in dental education. She has recently received the Excellence in Health Professional Education Award from the Australian and New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators (ANZAHPE) and Flinders University (2023).

Sobia is a highly recognised and respected community leader. Sobia is involved with various dental charities, including the Australian Dental Health Foundation, the Esesson Foundation, and the Turbans4Australia, to provide emergency and essential dental care to underprivileged children (refugees, asylum seekers, those with special needs, and from disadvantaged communities) in the Brisbane and Gold Coast regions. Her efforts as a community leader and leading health professional have been recognised with awards within UQ (the 2022 LeadHers Rise Community Award) and at the national level (the 2022 Appreciation Award from Turbans4Australia). As recognition from her dental peers, she was granted a Fellowship of the Pierre Fauchard Academy.