Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
Cynthia R. L. Webster

Associate Chair; Cholestatic Liver Disease, Small Animal Medicine

Dr. Cynthia Webster is an expert in canine and feline liver disease and a board-certified small animal medicine internist. At the Cummings School, she leads the veterinary Liver Study Group, an umbrella organization of the Comparative Gastroenterology Society. Her research interests include how the liver regulates its ability to survive after toxic insults, especially during times when bile flow is attenuated.

Dr. Webster grew up in a small town in western Massachusetts. She says she was drawn to comparative medicine so that she could one day not only care for dogs and cats, but also solve problems in human medicine. After attending Cornell University's veterinary school and doing post-graduate work in liver disease at Tufts University School of Medicine, Dr. Webster now has a joint appointment that allows her to do just that: she teaches gastrointestinal and liver pharmacology, pathology and medicine to DVM students at the Cummings School and lectures graduate students at Tufts Sackler School in Boston.

It is hard to not be a great doctor in this environment, Dr. Webster says of the Cummings School. At the Foster Hospital for Small Animals, you have so many brilliant minds to work with and experts in every discipline. I love being able to do biomedical research one day, work with owners and their pets the next, and through it all still have the ability to train the next generation of veterinarians.

Dr. Webster lives in Grafton with her husband and son. She is active in the Grafton public schools and organizes Tufts' outreach efforts—ranging from science lectures to career days. She admits to being a cat lady and has two cats at home she adores.


  • DVM - Cornell University - 1985
  • BS - Simmons College - 1978

House Officer Training

  • ACVIM Small Animal Medicine - TCSVM

Board Certification

  • Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Small Animal)
  1. Penninck DG, Zeyen U, Taeymans ON, Webster CRL. Ultrasonographic measurement of the pancreas and pancreatic duct in clinically normal dogs.Am J Vet Res. 2013;74:433-7.
  2. Weissman A, Penninck D, Webster CRL, Hecht S, Keating J, Craig LE.Ultrasonographic       and      clinicopathological features of feline gastrointestinal eosinophilic sclerosing fibroplasia in 4        cats  J  Fel Med Surg 2013;15: 148-154.
  3. Park S, Schonhoff C, Webster, CRL, Anwer M.  (2012). Protein kinase Cδ differentially regulates cAMP-dependent translocation of NTCP and MRP2 to the plasma membrane  Am J Physiol2012 303: G657-665.
  4. Respess M, O Toole T, Taeysmans O, Rogers C, Webster CRL. Portal vein thrombosis in dogs J Vet Intern Med J Vet Intern Med. 2012;26(2):230-7
  5. Kavanagh C, Shaw S, Webster CRL.Coagulation in liver disease. J Vet Emer Crit Care J  Vet Emer Crit Care 2011;21: 589–604
  6. Johnston A, Ponzetti K, Anwer MS, Webster CRL. cAMP-guanine exchange factor   protection from  bile acid induced hepatocyte apoptosis involves glycogen synthase kinase regulation of C-Jun- NH terminal kinase  Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver;2011; 301(2):G385-            G400
  7. Taeymans O, Holt N, Penninck DG, Webster CRL. Ultrasonographic characterization of feline ileocececolic abnormalities.  Vet Radiol Ultrasound.2011;52(3):335-9
  8. Buob S, Johnston AN, Webster CR. Portal hypertension: pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment. J Vet Intern Med. 2011; 25(2):169-86. PMID:21382073.  
  9. Hohenester S, Gates A, Wimmer R, Beuers U, Anwer MS, Rust C, Webster CRL. Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase p110 gamma contributes to bile salt-induced apoptosis in primary rat hepatocytes and human hepatoma cells. J Hepatol. 2010; 53(5):918-26.
  10. Penninck D, Brissan JO, Webster CRL. The sonographic assessment of gallbladder volume in normal cats. Vet Rad Ultrasound. 2010; 51(6):665-6.
  11. Ponzetti K, Anwer SA, King M, Gates A, Webster CRL. Cyclic AMP-guanine exchange factor activation inhibits JNK dependent lipopolysaccharide induced apoptosis in rat hepatocytes. 2010. Hepatic Medicine: Evidence and Research. Hepat Med 2010:.2: 1- 11.
  12. Schonhoff CM, Webster CR, Anwer MS. Cyclic AMP stimulates MRP 2 translocation by activating p38 alpha MAPK in hepatic cells. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2010; 298(5):G667-674. PMID: 20203059.  
  13. Schonhoff CM, Yamazaki A, Hohenester S, Webster CR, Bouscarel B, Anwer MS. PKC epsilon-dependent and independent effects of taurolithocholate on PI3K/PKB pathway and taurocholate uptake in Huh7-NTCP cell line. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2009; 297(6):G1259-67. PMID: 19815625.

General Research Interests

  • Cholestatic liver disease in dogs and cats, bile acid hepatotoxicity, hepatocyte apoptosis/survival signaling.

Selected Research Projects

  • Role of cAMP signaling through cAMP-GEF in hepatocyte survival.
  • Role of bile acid apoptosis in cholestatic liver disease.
  • Novel stem cell intervention in cholestatic liver disease in dogs and cats.
  • Coagulation and liver disease.


  • Gastrointestinal/hepatic pathology/pharmacology
  • Small animal medicine, gastrointestinal/hepatic medicine
  • Clinical rotations, small animal medicine
  • Pathobiology: Cholestasis

Research Interests by Area

Hepatic Diseases
  • Mechanism of hepatocellular apoptosis; pathophysiology of feline and canine hepatic disorder
  • Pathophysiology of feline and canine hepatic disorders
  • Cholestatic liver disorders in dogs and cats; Coagulation in liver disease in dogs and cats. Basic: Mechanisms of bile formation; bile acid signaling; hepatotoxicity
Regenerative Medicine
  • Clinical application of stem cells for liver disease.
Spontaneous Animal Disease Models
  • Chronic hepatitis in dogs including Labrador hepatopathy, chronic cholangiopathies in cats, gastrointestinal/hepatobiliary neoplasia, hepatic steatosis in cats, hepatic nodular hyperplasia, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, hepatocutaneous syndrome, congenital vascular anomalies, fibropolycystic liver diseases

Major Specialized Equipment

  • Fully equipped cell biology laboratory.
  • Isolation and culture of primary hepatocytes.