Our Research

Dr. Frias-Lopez’s lab studies the ecology of the human microbiome, focusing on the oral microbial community. We mainly study the functional changes in the complete microbiome — metatranscriptomic analysis — under health and disease conditions.

To reach our goal of studying microbial gene expression, we use metatranscriptomic analysis techniques, cutting edge RNA sequencing technology and bioinformatic tools.

The oral microbiome composition is well studied and its complexity is also known. We have developed and adapted specific lab and bioinformatic tools to analyze the metatranscriptome of the oral microbiome with a database representing more than 500 species of oral bacteria.

We focus on the study of periodontal disease as a model for microbiome studies.

  1. The goal of this research program is to identify the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis by which the oral microbiome, and its associated host response contribute to the initiation and progression of periodontal disease. Integrating gene expression of both the pathogen biofilm and the host, along with clinical parameters, is essential to understanding the dynamics of periodontal disease progression.
  2. The second program in the lab involves the role of the oral microbiome on oral squamous carcinoma cells, or OSCC.
  3. The third project is the role of CRISPR-Cas proteins in the virulence of periodontal pathogens.