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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)

Honors and Professional Activities (Most Recent)

2014:  University of Florida Research Foundation Professor

2013 – 2019:  Member of NIH Oral, Dental and Craniofacial Diseases (ODCS) Study Panel

2013: Fellow, CTSI Academy of Research Excellence in Human Subjects, University of Florida, College of Medicine

2012: Fellow, Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM), Drexel College of Medicine

2012 to present: Academic Editor, PLOS ONE

2013 to present: Associate Editor, Molecular Oral Microbiology

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 (from over 30)

  • Spooner R, DeGuzman JV, Lee KL, and Yilmaz O (2014) Danger Signal Adenosine Stimulates Growth of Porphyromonas gingivalis in Primary Gingival Epithelial Cells Molecular Oral Microbiol 29: 67-78.
  • Choi CH, Spooner R, DeGuzman JV, Koutouzis T, Ojcius DM, and Yilmaz O (2013) P. gingivalis- Nucleoside-diphosphate-kinase Inhibits ATP Induced Reactive-Oxygen-Species via P2X7 Receptor/NADPH- Oxidase Signaling and Contributes to Persistence Cell Microbiol, Jun;15(6):961-76
  • Choi CH, DeGuzman J V, 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
  • Yilmaz O, Sater AA, Yao L, Koutouzis T, Pettengill M, and Ojcius DM (2010) ATP-Dependent Activation of An Inflammasome In Primary Gingival Epithelial Cells Infected By Porphyromonas gingivalis. Cell Microbiol 12(2), 188–198
  • Yao L,Jermanus C, Barbetta B, Choi CH, 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., Yao, L., Maeda, K., Rose, T.M., LewisE.L., Duman, M., Lamont, R.J., and Ojcius, D.M (2008)   ATP Scavenging by the Intracellular Pathogen Porphyromonas 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., and Yilmaz, O (2008)P. gingivalis accelerates gingival epithelial cell progression through the cell cycle. Microbes Infect 10 (2): 122-8
  • Yilmaz, O., Verbeke, P., Lamont, R.J., Ojcius,D.M. (2006) Intercellular spreading of Porphyromonas gingivalis infection in primary gingival epithelial cells. Infect Immun 74703-71
  • 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
  • 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

Review Articles and Book Chapters

  • Atanasova K R, Yilmaz, O (2014), “Looking in the Porphyromonas gingivalis Cabinet of Curiosities: The Microbium, the Host and Cancer Association”, Molecular Oral Microbiol 29: 55-66.
  • Lee KL, Yilmaz, O (2014), ” The Inflammasome and Danger Molecule Signaling: At the Crossroads of Inflammation and Pathogen Persistence in the Oral Cavity”, Invited Review (Submitted Perio 2000)
  • Spooner R., and Yilmaz, O (2012) “Nucleoside-diphosphate-kinase: a pleiotropic effector in microbial colonization under interdisciplinary characterization”, Microbes Infect   Mar; 14(3):228-37
  • Yilmaz, O (2011) Chapter “Interactions of Porphyromonas gingivalis with Human Gingival Epithelium” in “Oral Microbial Communities: Genomic Inquiry and Interspecies Communication” Edited by Paul E Kolenbrander, American Society of Microbiology
  • 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
  • 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
  • Yilmaz, O (2008)The chronicles of Porphyromonas gingivalis: the microbium, the human epithelium, and their interplay”, Microbiology154 (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