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What we are interested in

Dr. Özlem Yilmaz' laboratory's major emphasis has been on the cell biology of opportunistic infections and the microbial effectors that contribute to  chronic infection in the oral mucosa. Our studies currently focus on understanding the host danger molecule signaling (e.g. ATP and Adenosine) as critical modulators of oral epithelial cell response during bacterial colonization, growth and survival. The specific areas we study include modulation of epithelial oxidative stress, cellular inflammation as well as intracellular bacterial trafficking, cellular sensing and autophagy.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal diesease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects 47.2% of American Adults. This disease can cause severe tissue destruction and bone degradation if left untreated. Our research focuses on how pathogens within the oral cavity invade the gingiva and evade host immune response leading to chronic periodontitis 


Our research focuses on how pathogens exploit cell pathways to modulate immune response and disrupt the symbiotic balance of the oral microbes. Our research helps provide a better understanding of the early progression of periodontitis and could potentially lead to new targets for treatment.

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