Kesavalu Lakshmyya, B.V.Sc., M.Sc., S.C.C.

Department of Periodontology


University of Florida Term Professor
Adjunct Professor of Oral Biology, College of Dentistry
Member, Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, College of Medicine

Phone: 352-273-6500
Laboratory: 352-273-6515
Fax: 352-273-6192

Room D10-23
PO Box 100434
Gainesville, FL 32610-0434


  • B.V.Sc., Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, Madras University, 1971
  • S.C.C., Advanced Statistics, Institute of Agricultural Research Statistics, New Delhi, 1975
  • M.Sc., Medical Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, 1979

Previous Positions

  • Associate Professor, Department of Periodontology, College of Dentistry, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 2006-2019
  • Associate Research Professor, Department of Oral Health Science, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 2003-2006
  • Assistant Research Professor, Department of Oral Health Science, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 2000-2003
  • Assistant Research Professor, Department of Periodontics, College of Dentistry, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, TX 1999-2000

Postdoctoral Associate

Syam Jeepipalli, M.Sc., Ph.D.

Visiting Scholars

Eduardo Colella, B.D.S., M.S.

Lab Alumni

Ana Rafaela Luz de Aquino Martins, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D. (2023)

Aravindraja Chairmandurai, Ph.D., M.Phil., M.Sc.
Postdoctoral Associate (2017-2022)

Sakthivel Ravi, M.Sc., Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Associate (2018-2020)

Toru Kariu, Ph.D.
Visiting Scholar (2019-2020)

Preethi Sudhakara, M. Tech.
Visiting Scholar (2019-2020)

Monique Maria Melo Mouchrek D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Visiting Scholar (2019)

Veena Patnam, B.D.S., FICOI, R.D.H.
Volunteer (2019)

Sandhya Rani Nadakuditi, B.D.S., R.D.H.
Volunteer (2019-2024)

Sasanka Sekhar Chukkapalli, Ph.D., M.Sc.
Postdoctoral Associate (2011-2017)

Irina Velsko
Ph.D. Student (2011-2015)

Premakumari Venkatesh
Graduate Student (2012-2014)

Meena Easwaran
Graduate Student (2013-2014)

Mercedes Rivera, M.S.
Biological Scientist (2009-2013)

Nihal Sehkar Oktay, Ph.D.
Visiting Scholar

Active Grants

R01DE028536-01A1 Multi Principal Investigator: Kesavalu/Chan          12-01-2019 – 11-30-2024
NIH/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Dominant microRNAs as biomarkers in innate immunity and periodontitis

R21 NS102926-01      Principal Investigator: Kesavalu                                4-01-2018 – 3-31-2020
NIH/ National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Periodontal bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease.

8AZ15 Florida Department of Health – Principal Investigator: Kesavalu     02/21/2018 – 02/28/2020
Periodontal Bacteria Augment Progression of Abeta and Tau Pathology

R01DE023783            Principal Investigator: Ignacio Aguirre                     08/01/2014 – 07/31/2019
NIH/NIDCR. Role of Periodontitis in Osteonecrosis of the Jaw Pathophysiology in Rice Rats
Role: Co-Investigator.

1RO1DE020820-01A1 Principal Investigator: Kesavalu                          03-01-2011 – 02-28-2016 (NCE 5-31-2017)
NIH/ National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Periodontal Pathogens and Cardiovascular Disease.

Main Interests

  • Association between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease (Clinical study)
  • Association between periodontal pathogens and atherosclerosis  (Basic study)
  • Association between periodontal pathogens and Rheumatoid arthritis  (Basic study)
  • Association between periodontal pathogens and Alzheimer’s disease  (Basic study)
  • Role of microRNA in periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease
  • The link between periodontal pathogens, microRNA, and Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Pathogenesis of Osteonecrosis of Jaw (ONJ).

Current Research

  • Periodontal pathogens invasion, proliferation, and dissemination to systemic tissues/cells.
  • Periodontal pathogens (polybacterial) infection and atherosclerosis.
  • Association between Periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Association between Periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Association between Periodontal disease and stroke.
  • Periodontal disease and Osteonecrosis of Jaw.
  • Role of microRNA in periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • Rokad, F., R. Moseley, R.S. Hardy, S. Chukkapalli, S. Crean, L. Kesavalu, S. K. Singhrao. 2017. Cerebral Oxidative Stress and Microvasculature Defects in TNF-α Expressing Transgenic and Porphyromonas gingivalis-Infected ApoE-/- mice. J. Alzheimer’s. Dis. Aug 8. doi: 10.3233/JAD-170304. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 28800332.
  • Premakumari V, S. Chukkapalli, Rivera, M, I. Velsko, J. Phillippi, T. Gleason, A. Lucas, R. Ghanta, T. Beaver, E.K.L. Chan, L. Kesavalu. 2017. MicroRNA Expression Signature in Human Thoracic and Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms. Int J Mol Sci. Apr 20:18(4). PMID: 28425970.
  • Chukkapalli, S., M. Easwaran, M. Rivera-Kweh, I. Velsko, D. Zheng, Jiayin Dai, H. Larjava, A. Lucas, L. Kesavalu. 2017. Sequential Colonization of Periodontal Pathogens in Induction of Periodontal disease and Atherosclerosis in LDLRnull mice. FEMS. Pathog. Dis. Jan 1;75(1). doi: 10.1093/femspd/ftx003. PMID: 28104616.
  • Singhrao S.K., S. Chukkapalli, S. Poole, I. Velsko, St John Crean, L. Kesavalu. 2017. Chronic Porphyromonas gingivalis infection accelerates the occurrence of age-related granules in ApoE-/- mice brains. J. Oral. Microbiol. Jan 17:9(1). PMID: 28326151.
  • Koutouzis, T., C. Eastman, S. Chukkapalli, H. Larjava, L. Kesavalu. 2017. A Novel rat model of polymicrobial peri-implantitis. J. Periodontol. Feb;88(2):e32-e41. PMID: 27786620. Editor selected as “Discovery SciencePreclinical Novel Peri-implant Model article.
  • Chukkapalli, S., M. Rivera-Kweh, P. Gehlot, I. Velsko, I. Bhattacharyya, S. J. Calise, M. Satoh, E. K. L. Chan, J. Holoshitz, and L. Kesavalu. 2016. Periodontal bacterial colonization in synovial tissues exacerbates collagen-induced arthritis in B10.RIII mice. Arthritis Res Ther. 2016 Jul 12;18(1):161. PMID: 27405639.
  • Chukkapalli SS, Velsko IM, Rivera-Kweh MF, Larjava H, Lucas AR, Kesavalu L. 2016. Global TLR2 and 4 Deficiency in mice impacts Bone resorption, Inflammatory Markers and Atherosclerosis to Polymicrobial Infection. Mol Oral Microbiol. May 25. doi: 10.1111/omi.12165. PMID: 27224005.
  • Sasanka S. Chukkapalli, Irina M. Velsko, Mercedes F. Rivera, Hao Chen, Dong Hong, Alexandra R. Lucas and L. Kesavalu. 2015. Polymicrobial oral infection with four periodontal bacteria orchestrates a distinct inflammatory response and atherosclerosis in ApoEnull mice. PLOS One. Nov 30:10(11):e0143291. PMID: 26619277.
  • Nayar, G., AE Gauna, S. Chukkapalli, I. Velsko, L. Kesavalu, S Cha. 2015. Polymicrobial infection alters inflammatory microRNA in rat salivary glands during periodontal disease. Anaerobe. Oct 22. 38:70-75. PMID: 26481834.
  • Velsko, I., S. S. Chukkapalli, M. F. Rivera, D. Zheng, A. R. Lucas, H. Larjava, Kesavalu L. 2015. Periodontal pathogens invade gingiva and aortic adventitia and elicit inflammasome activation in αvβ6 integrin-deficient mice. Infect. Immun. Dec: 83:4582-93. PMID: 26371120. ASM PRESS RELEASE.
  • Poole, S., S. K. Singhrao, S. Chukkapalli, M. Rivera, I. Velsko, T. R. Hughes, B. Paul Morgan, L. Kesavalu, StJohn Crean. 2015. Active invasion of Porphyromonas gingivalis and infection-induced complement activation in ApoE-/- mice brains. J. Alzheimer’s. Dis. 43:67-80. PMID: 25061055.
  • Velsko, I. M., M. F. Rivera, S. S. Chukkapalli, J-Y. Lee, H. Chen, I. Bhattacharyya, P. Gangula, A. R. Lucas, L. Kesavalu. 2014. Active invasion of oral and aortic tissues by P. gingivalis in mice casually links periodontitis and atherosclerosis. PLoS ONE. May 16;9(5):e97811. PMID: 24836175.
  • Chukkapalli, S.S, M. F. Rivera, I. M. Velsko, J. Y. Lee, H. Chen, D. Zheng, I. Bhattacharyya, P. Gangula, A. R. Lucas and Kesavalu L. 2014. Invasion of oral and aortic tissues by Oral Spirochete Treponema denticola in ApoEnull mice casually links periodontal disease and Atherosclerosis. Infect Immun. May. 82:1959-67. PMID: 24566627.
  • Poole, S., S. K. Singhrao, L. Kesavalu, M. A. Curtis, and StJohn Crean. 2013. Determining the presence of periodontopathic virulence factors in short-term postmortem Alzheimer’s disease brain tissue. J. Alzheimer’s. Dis. 1:36(4):665-677. PMID: 23666172. PRESS RELEASE
  • Rivera, M., Ju-Youn Lee, M. Aneja, V. Goswami, L. Liu, I. Velsko, S. Chukkapalli, I. Bhattacharyya, H. Chen, A. R. Lucas, and L. Kesavalu. 2013. Polymicrobial Infection induced periodontitis and atherosclerosis in ApoE-/- mice. PLoS One. February. 8(2):e57178. PMID: 23451182.
  • Nahid, M.A., B. Yao, P. R. Dominguez-Gutierrez, L. Kesavalu, M. Satoh, and E. K. L. Chan. 2013. Regulation of TLR2-mediated tolerance and cross-tolerance through IRAK4 modulation by miR-132 and miR-212. J. Immunol. February. 190:1250-63. PMID: 23264652.
  • Aguirre, J. I., M. P. Akhter, D. B. Kimmel, J. E. Pingel, A. Williams, M. Jorgensen, L. Kesavalu, and T. J. Wronski. 2012. Oncologic doses of Zoledronic acid induce osteonecrosis of jaw-like lesions in rice rats (oryzomys palustris) with periodontitis. J. Bone. Min. Res. October, 27(10):2130-43. PMID: 22623376.
  • Kesavalu, L.,* A. Lucas, R. K. Verma, L. Liu, E. Dai, and A. Fox. 2012. Increased atherogenesis during Streptococcus mutans OMZ175 infection in ApoEnull mice. J. Dent. Res. 91:255-260. PMID: 22262633.
  • Md, A. Nahid, M. Rivera, A. Lucas, E. K. L. Chan, and L. Kesavalu. 2011. Polymicrobial infection with periodontal pathogens specifically enhances the expression of miR-146a in ApoEnull mice. Infect. Immun. April. 79:1597-1605. “SPOTLIGHT” Article of Significant Interest. PMID: 21263019.
  • Bainbridge, B., R. K. Verma, C. Eastman, B. Yehia, M. Rivera, K. Mofatt, I. Bhattacharyya, R. J. Lamont and L. Kesavalu. 2010. Role of Porphyromonas gingivalis phosphoserine phosphatase enzyme SerB in infection, inflammation, immune response and induction of alveolar bone resorption in rats. Infect. Immun. 78:4560-4569. PMID: 20805334.
  • Ebersole, J. L., S. Michelle, S. C. Holt, L. Kesavalu, L. Chu, and D. Cappelli. 2010. Systemic inflammatory responses in progressing periodontitis during pregnancy in a baboon model. Clin. Experimental. Immunol. 162:550-559. PMID: 21070210.

Banquet Dinner with Nobel Laureate

Nobel Laureate in Medicine Dr. Ferid Murad MD., PhD, 1998. Nitric Oxide and Cell Signaling. Toronto, Canada. Friday, June 8, 2007.

Meeting with Nobel Laureate

Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Sir Harold W. Kroto FRS, 1996. Discovery of buckminister fullerenes, Gainesville, University of Florida. April 22, 2007.


Potential Link Between Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease:

The University of Central Lancashire, Preston, United Kingdom issued a PRESS RELEASE to national media outlets of our joint seminal study published in Journal of Alzheimer’s disease.

Poole, S., S. K. Singhrao, L. Kesavalu, M. A. Curtis, and StJohn Crean. 2013. Determining the presence of periodontopathic virulence factors in short-term postmortem Alzheimer’s disease brain tissue. J. Alzheimer’s. Dis. 1:36(4):665-677. PMID: 23666172.

The University of Florida also issued a PRESS RELEASE to Associate Press and national media outlets and TV interview of our seminal study published in Journal of Alzheimer’s disease. This news was published by more than 75 organizations, websites, and newspapers in US and other countries including American Association of Dental Research (AADR) and International Association of Dental Research (IADR).

UF College of Dentistry:

AADR: Science Advocate October 10, 2013.

IADR: Global Research Update, October 17, 2013.

Gum disease can lead to Heart Disease:

PhD graduate student abstract was selected for “PRESS COVERAGE” by American Society for Microbiology (ASM), Boston, MA, May 17-20th, 2014.

Irina M. Velsko, Sasanka S. Chukkapalli, Mercedes F. Rivera, Donghang Zheng, Alexandra R. Lucas, Hannu Larjava, Lakshmyya Kesavalu. 2014. Oral polymicrobial infection of integrin β6-/- mice demonstrates a causal association with arterial infection and inflammation. 114th General Meeting, ASM, May 17-20th, Boston, MA. Abstract # 1562.

AADR Strides in Science August 2014.

AADR Strides in Science is a monthly feature highlighting an AADR member’s accomplishments and comments on how his/her involvement with AADR has been an important part of his/her career in research.