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Özlem Yilmaz, D.D.S., Ph.D.

Departments of Periodontology & Oral Biology

Özlem Yilmaz, D.D.S., Ph.D.Associate Professor

Phone: 352-273-8003
Office: Room D10-23
Address: P.O Box 100434, Gainesville FL 32610-0434


  • Ph.D., University of Washington, Oral Biology, 2002
  • D.D.S., Istanbul University

Professional Experience

2010–present: Associate Professor, University of Florida

2006-2010: Assistant Professor, University of Florida

2002-2006: Post Doctoral Senior Fellow, University of Washington, School of Public Health & Community Medicine

2003: Visiting Scholar, Biologie Moléculaire du Géne, Institut Pasteur (2003)

Main Interests

Porphyromonas gingivalis, a gram (-) anaerobe and a prominent member of oral flora, is one of the major etiological agent in the development of severe adult periodontitis. A complex interplay between the microorganism and host appear to be critical for the progression of the disease. P. gingivalis and host cells represent a highly structured and regulated dynamic interaction, the outcomes of which depend upon the properties of the organism and host. Our laboratory mainly focuses on the interface between P. gingivalis and gingival epithelium, and facilitation of the bacterial colonization by studying the molecular mechanisms of gingival epithelial cell invasion, trafficking, survival/persistence, and dissemination strategies employed by the organism.

Selected Publications

  • Choi C, DeGuzman J, Lamont RJ, and Yilmaz O (2011) Genetic Transformation of an Obligate Anaerobe, Porphyromonas gingivalis for the FMN- Green Fluorescent Protein Expression in Studying Host Microbe Interaction PLoS ONE 15;6(4):e18499
  • McMahon L, Schwartz K, Yilmaz O, Brown E, and Gill Diamond (2011) Vitamin D-mediated induction of innate immunity in gingival epithelial cells Infect Immun 79 (6) 2250-2256
  • Yao L, Jermanus C, Barbetta B, Choi C, Verbeke P, Ojcius D M, and Yilmaz O(2010) Porphyromonas gingivalis infection sequesters pro-apoptotic Bad through Akt in primary gingival epithelial cells. Molecular Oral Microbiol 25(2) 89-101
  • Yilmaz O, Sater AA, Yao L, Koutouzis T, Pettengill M, and Ojcius DM (2010) Activation of An Inflammasome In Gingival Epithelial Cells Infected ByPorphyromonas gingivalis. Cell Microbiol 12(2), 188–198
  • Yilmaz, O., Yao, L., Maeda, K., Rose, T.M., Lewis E.L., Duman, M., Lamont, R.J., and Ojcius, D.M (2008) ATP Scavenging by the Intracellular PathogenPorphyromonas gingivalis Inhibits P2X7-mediated Host-Cell Apoptosis. Cell Microbiol 10 (4) 863-875
  • Kuboniwa, M, Hasegawa Y., Mao,S., Shizukuishi, S., Amano, A., Lamont R.J, andYilmaz, O (2008) P. gingivalis accelerates gingival epithelial cell progression through the cell cycle. Microbes Infect 10 (2): 122-8
  • Mao, S., Park, Y., Hasegawa, Y., Tribble, G.D., James, C.E., Handfield, M., Stavropoulos, F., Yilmaz, O., and Lamont, R.J. (2007) Intrinsic apoptotic pathways of gingival epithelial cells modulated by Porphyromonas gingivalis. Cell Microbiol 9 (8) 1997-2007
  • Yilmaz, O., Verbeke , P., Lamont, R.J., Ojcius,D.M. (2006) Intercellular spreading of Porphyromonas gingivalis infection in primary gingival epithelial cells. Infect Immun 74 703-710
  • Yilmaz, O., Jungas, T., Verbeke, P., Ojcius, D.M. (2004) Activation of the phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase/Akt pathway contributes to survival of primary epithelial cells infected with the periodontal pathogen, Porphyromonas gingivalis. Infect Immun 72 3743-3751
  • Zhang, Y., Wang, T., Chen, W., Yilmaz, O., Park, Y., Jung, I.Y., Hackett, M., Lamont, R.J. (2005) Differential Protein Expression by Porphyromonas gingivalisin Response to Secreted Epithelial Cell Components. Proteomics 1 198-211
  • Park, Y., Yilmaz, O., Jung, I.Y., Lamont, R.J. (2004) Identification of P. gingivalisGenes Specifically Expressed in Human Gingival Epithelial Cells using Differential Display RT-PCR. Infect Immun 72 3752-3758
  • Yilmaz, O., Young, P.A., Lamont, R.J., Kenny, G.E. (2003). Gingival epithelial signaling and cytoskeletal responses to P. gingivalis invasion. Microbiology 149 2417-26
  • Yilmaz, O., Watanabe, K., and Lamont R.J. (2002) Involvement of integrins in fimbriae mediated binding and invasion by P. gingivalis. Cell Microbiol 4 (5) 305-314
  • Watanabe, K., Yilmaz, O., Nakhjiri, S.F., Belton, C.M., and Lamont, R.J. (2001) Association of mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways with gingival epithelial cell responses to Porphyromonas gingivalis Infection. Infect Immun 69 6731-6737
Review Articles & Book Chapters
  • Spooner R., and Yilmaz, O (2011) “The Role of Reactive-Oxygen-Species in Microbial Persistence and Inflammation” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Special Issue: Advances in Molecular Recognition 12(1):334-352
  • Yilmaz, O. (2011) Chapter “Gingival cell response to Porphyromonas gingivalis” in “Oral Microbial Communities: Genomic Inquiry and Interspecies Communication” Edited by Paul E Kolenbrander, American Society of Microbiology
  • Avila M., Ojcius DM., and Yilmaz O (2009) “Oral microbiota: Living with a Permanent Guest” DNA and Cell Biology, Special Issue: Symbioses 28 (8) 405-411
  • Abdul-Sater A, Said N, David Ojcius, Yilmaz O, and Kelly K (2009) “Inflammasomes bridge signalling between pathogen identification and the immune response”. Drugs Today (Barc) Nov;45 Suppl B:105-12.
  • Yilmaz, O. (2008) “The chronicles of Porphyromonas gingivalis: the microbium, the human epithelium, and their interplay”, Microbiology 154 (10) 2897-2903
  • Yilmaz, O., Lamont, R.J. (2004) Chapter “Invasion by P. gingivalis“, in “Bacterial Invasion of Host Cells”, Chapter 10, 295-315, Cambridge University Press
  • Lamont, R.J., and Yilmaz, O. (2002) “In or Out: the invasiveness of oral bacteria”, Perio 2000. 30 61-69