Multiple postdoctoral positions are available in the Department of Oral Biology in the College of Dentistry. Applicants should have earned a Ph.D., or Ph.D. along with a D.M.D./D.D.S., M.D., or D.V.M. degree, by time of hire. For details on faculty mentors and projects, please visit our faculty research interests page online.
Dr. L. Jeannine Brady Laboratory
Work in the Brady Lab is directed at understanding mechanisms of membrane and cell surface biogenesis in the cariogenic pathogen Streptococcus mutans. The functional interactions and respective roles of components of the co-translational signal recognition particle (SRP) pathway and the YidC1 and YidC2 chaperone-insertases in membrane protein insertion are being evaluated with an emphasis on competence development and mutacin production. In addition, S. mutans has been found to produce functional amyloids that influence biofilm development and that can serve as targets for therapeutic amyloid-modifying compounds. Study is currently directed at elucidating the structural basis and environmental control of amyloid fibrillization in in vitro and in vivo systems. Furthermore, S. mutans is capable of releasing DNA into the extracellular environment via membrane vesicles. The contribution of vesicle-released eDNA to biofilm formation and its functional interactions with bacterial cells and extracellular matrix components are under study. Post-doctoral candidates will be considered to evaluate protein translocation systems in S. mutans as related to virulence attributes and potential therapeutic targets, or to evaluate development and stabilization of biofilm matrices related to amyloid formation. Candidates should have demonstrated expertise in standard molecular biology techniques, protein expression and purification methodologies, and characterization of protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid interactions, or in protein structure analysis (particularly by solid state NMR), and/or in electron and confocal microscopy.
Dr. Frank C. Gibson III Laboratory
The Gibson lab is interested in defining novel host pathogen interactions that influence the progression of anaerobic bacterial disease. Our lab has longstanding interest in defining host immunologic sensing of the periodontal disease pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis as a model organism from which to understand the chronic inflammation and tissue destruction that characterizes periodontal disease. We routinely combine immunologic, molecular, microbiologic, vaccine, and animal modeling approaches in our studies. New areas of interest in the laboratory include detailing the contribution of microbial sphingolipids in both cellular and oral infection.
Dr. Mary Ellen Davey Laboratory
The Davey lab uses a combination of genetics, bacterial physiology, and gene expression analysis (RNA-seq and qPCR) to study the interrelationship between biofilm development and the pathogenicity of the oral anaerobe, Porphyromonas gingivalis. In particular, we are focused on molecular mechanisms that control changes in expression of cell surface structures, including capsular polysaccharides, sphingolipids, and fimbriae; and the subsequent impact on the interaction of P. gingivalis with host cells. (Project numbers: 2 R01 DE019117 07; and 1 R01 DE024580 01A1)
Dr. Jose Lemos & Dr. Jacqueline Abranches Laboratory
The Lemos-Abranches lab uses genetics, biochemistry, transcriptomic and metabolomics approaches to characterize the molecular factors that mediate virulence in opportunistic Grampositive pathogens such as Streptococcus mutans and Enterococcus faecalis. In S. mutans, a major pathogen in dental caries and a leading causative agent of infective endocarditis, our current efforts focus on the characterization of the oxidative stress regulator Spx and its role in controlling stress responses and biofilm formation. The second S. mutans project focuses on the characterization of a collagen binding protein responsible for intracellular invasion of heart and oral tissues, a trait that is linked to increased virulence and, potentially, recurrent infection and chronic inflammation. The characterization of stress responses is also the theme of our research with E. faecalis, a leading cause of hospital-acquired infections. In this project, we are investigating the interplay between the stringent response, a major bacterial stress response mechanism for adaptation to changing environments, with other prominent stress regulators and how these interactions influence the ability of E. faecalis to survive antibiotic stress and other adverse conditions.
Dr. Luis Martinez Laboratory
The Martinez lab is interested in elucidating the mechanisms of central nervous system (CNS) invasion by the encapsulated and AIDS-associated fungus Cryptococcus neoformans and the interactions of the fungus with cells of the CNS including microglia, astrocytes, and neurons. We approach our research in an interdisciplinary manner, post-doctoral fellows that join the lab will be trained on basic microbiology, microscopy, immunological and tissue culture techniques, neuroscience and behavioral techniques, molecular biology, antimicrobial research, and animal models of infection. (Project number: R01 AI1455592)
Dr. Ann Progulske-Fox Laboratory
The Progulske-Fox lab is focused on the molecular mechanisms of the pathogenesis of Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis), an anaerobic bacterium that is associated with adult periodontitis and recently reported to be involved in various systemic diseases like cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, aspiration pneumonia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Bacterial species in general have evolved multiple mechanisms to survive ecological, nutritional and chemical stresses as well as host cell defenses. Among these is to enter a viable but non-culturable (VBNC) state. The ability of a bacterial species to enter the VBNC state and also resuscitation from this state is now recognized to be an important or even required mechanism for the survival and pathogenesis of several bacterial pathogens, especially those that are associated with chronic infections. Studies in the lab are designed to genetically and metabolically characterize the VBNC state and resuscitation from the VBNC state of the oral pathogen, P. gingivalis. (NIH award number: R01DE028656). Candidates should possess demonstrated expertise in molecular biology techniques such as cloning and the creation of mutants and should have experience using in vitro cell biological systems for the study of bacterial infections.