Oral Mucosal Interactions: High Throughput Screening and Mechanisms


Oral health and disease depend on the interplay between the host and the oral microbiome. Commensal microorganisms usually co-exist peacefully with the host. They provide the host with essential nutrients, help maintain a functional immune system and prevent pathogenic microorganisms from attaching to and colonizing healthy tissue. However, when the balance between the microbiota and the host is lost, a subset of species can escape from the host restraint mechanisms and initiate disease. Dental caries and periodontal diseases are the most common oral infections. Apart from being detrimental for oral health, chronic oral infections favour the entry of bacteria into the submucosal connective tissues and the bloodstream. Associations have been established between chronic oral infections and heart and lung diseases, diabetes, stroke, atherosclerosis and pre-term low birth weight. The current approach to reduce the health burden of oral infections has been focused in slowing down the progression and treatment of oral disease. However, little is known on the biological processes involved in maintenance of good oral health. This project embark on a new approach where focus is given to understanding, maintaining and promoting the healthy status of the oral cavity, including the beneficial role of the oral microbiota, salivary components and dietary compounds. Understanding the molecular interactions of these components with oral cells will provide novel opportunities for several lines of industries to develop products that actively promote oral health.


1.    Screen representative oral microbial species and salivary components for their potential interaction with oral cells.
2.    Study the molecular mechanisms underlying the host-microbe interactions.
3.    To develop and validate in vitro screening technology.
Techniques and procedures you can get acquainted with:  

•    Cell culturing
•    Lentiviral System
•    Live cell imaging (BD Pathway)
•    Image analysis
•    Adhesion and invasion assays
•    Wound healing assays
•    Phagocytosis assays
•    Immunohistochemistry studies
•    Quantitative Real-time
•    Enzyme-linked immunoasorbent assay (ELISA)
•    Gene silencing via RNAi


For information contact Marcela Fernández (email: