Virulence Mechanism of Periodontal Bacteria

Schematic representation of the periodontal tissues supporting the tooth.

Research focused on bacteria feasting below the gum line to uproot teeth.

Project description

The human oral cavity, which includes cheeks, tongue, palate, gums, and teeth, is a highly diverse ecosystem that harbors more than 700 bacterial species, including cultivable and non-cultivable organisms. Importantly, microbial imbalance known as dysbiosis due to colonization by pathogenic organisms in the subgingival niche (spaces between the gums and teeth) initiates a common disease in adults known as Periodontitis, a chronic condition that if untreated often leads to tooth loss and a contributing risk factor to the progression of many systemic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Colonization by a group of Gram-negative anaerobes Porphyromonas gingivalis, Tannerella forsythia and Treponema denticola - collectively known as the 'red-complex' - in the subgingival crevices is a major cause of periodontitis. Our research focuses on the components of red-complex bacteria that help bacteria to colonize or trigger an inflammatory response detrimental to the gums/tooth supporting tissues.

Project outcome

Projects will provide research experience in the area of microbiology/immunology related to dental diseases. There will be opportunities to present research work at scientific meetings or in journals. These projects will specially interest students interested in dental medicine.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment Negotiable
Start time Anytime
In-person, remote, or hybrid? In-person
Level of collaboration Small group project (2-3 students)
Benefits Academic credit, work study
Who is eligible All undergraduate students 

Project mentor

Ashu Sharma


Oral Biology

Phone: (716) 829-2759


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Preparation activities

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Virulence Mechanism of Periodontal Bacteria


Oral Biology