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Ralee Spooner DMD MS

Ralee Spooner was born and raised in Central Florida. He attended the University of Florida for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, prior to becoming a student at UF’s College of Dentistry class of 2015.

As an undergraduate, he began his journey in dental research working in Dr. Özlem Yilmaz’s laboratory for the Department of Periodontology. Initially, he provided support to other laboratory members. Once Ralee began his graduate studies he was able to start designing and conducting his own experiments. The focus of his graduate studies project was the interaction between human gingival epithelial cells and the periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis. As a result of his efforts, he was able to author and contribute to publications and present research at the International Association of Dental Research (IADR) and American Association of Dental Research (AADR) meetings.


The summer prior to entering dental school, Ralee was a participant in the Summer Research Program; his project: “Antioxidant response of gingival epithelial cells to Porphyromonas infection.” Ralee was fortunate to present the findings of this project at the 2012 AADR meeting in Tampa, Florida, and at the UF College of Dentistry’s Spring Synergy Research Day, taking 1st place in the D.M.D. poster category.

During his time at UFCD, he has remained actively involved in Dr. Yilmaz’s periodontal research laboratory. Ralee presented his work at the 2013 IADR meeting in Seattle, Washington, and the 2015 IADR meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. He plans to publish the results of his most recent project “Assessment of metabolically active periodontal pathogens in patients with chronic periodontitis” in summer 2015.

Ralee is a member of the AADR National Student Research Group, Academy of General Dentistry, and serves as the Class of 2015 Student Affairs Committee representative. In 2014, he was awarded the Excellence in Clinical Periodontology Award and Retired Uniformed Services Scholarship, and founding President of the Military Dental Club. As a United States Navy Health Professions Scholarship Program participant, he will enter active duty service in the Navy upon graduation in May. Ultimately, Ralee would like to attend a periodontics residency program and develop the skills necessary to become a successful clinical researcher and instructor in dental education. In 2013 he married Whitney; they have two dogs (Lexi and Lily) and three cats (Leo, Lucy, and Oliver).

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