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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

2015: Guest Editor, Microbes and Infection

Main Interests

Our laboratory focuses on oral opportunistic pathogens and oral epithelial cell interaction, in particular, the mechanisms of bacterial colonization, trafficking, persistence. In addition, we study oral microbes and their relation to the oral and systemic chronic diseases.

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 Microbiology 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 Cellular Microbiology, 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 Infection & Immunity 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. Cellular Microbiology 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 Microbiology 25(2) 89-101
  • 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 Pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis Inhibits P2X7-mediated Host-Cell Apoptosis. Cellular Microbiology 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 & Infection 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. Infection & Immunity 74 703-71
  • 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. Infection & Immunity 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. Cellular Microbiology 4 (5) 305-314

Review Articles and Book Chapters

  • Atanasova K R and Yilmaz O (2015), “Prelude to Oral Microbes and Chronic Diseases: Past, Present and Future”, In Press, (Microbes & Infection, Special Issue on Oral Microbes).
  • Lee KL, Yilmaz O (2015), ” The Inflammasome and Danger Molecule Signaling: At the Crossroads of Inflammation and Pathogen Persistence in the Oral Cavity”, Invited Review (In Press, Periodontology 2000).
  • Atanasova K R, Yilmaz O (2014), “Looking in the Porphyromonas gingivalis Cabinet of Curiosities: The Microbium, the Host and Cancer Association”, Molecular Oral Microbiology 29: 55-66.
  • Spooner R., and Yilmaz O (2012) “Nucleoside-diphosphate-kinase: a pleiotropic effector in microbial colonization under interdisciplinary characterization”, Microbes & Infection   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” Chapter 14, 207-219, 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”, 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