Jorge Frias-Lopez

Jorge Frias-Lopez, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department: DN-ORAL BIOLOGY
Business Email: jfrias-lopez@dental.ufl.edu

About Jorge Frias-Lopez

After obtaining my PhD in Microbiology I went to work as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where I worked in projects related to adquision of antibiotic resistance in members of the gut microbiome and on infectious polymicrobial disiease in corals. From there I moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where I developed a set of tools that facilitate the study of gene expression in whole microbial communities (metatranscriptome) and not just in one specific organism, thus opening the opportunity to better understand the role of microbes in health and disease as well as the way they communicate to each other and with their host. Before joining the University of Florida I worked at the Forsyth Institute (Cambridge, MA), where I was an Associate Member of the Staff at the Department of Microbiology and I served as its Vice-chair. Additionally I was a lecturer on Oral Medicine, Infection, and Immunity at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. Since August 2016 I am an Associate Professor at the Department of Oral Biology at the School of Dentistry.

Accomplishments

Vice-chair of the Department of Microbiology
2013-2016 · Forsyth Institute
John W. Hein Research Fellowship
2008-2010 · Forsyth Institute
Best poster presentation
2000 · Spanish Society of Periodontology
Especial award to the best Ph.D. thesis of the year
1993 · University of Barcelona
Fellowship from the Spanish Government, for the development of an apparatus to measure biodegradable dissolved organic matter in waters.
1992-1993 · Spanish Government
ERASMUS" Fellowship, N:PIC F-8256
1989 · The European Community for an internship at the Centre des Sciences de l´Environnement (Université de Metz, France)
Fellowship
1988 · The Regional Catalan Government, CIRIT
Undergraduate scholarship
1982-1987 · Spanish government

Research Profile

My research interests are concentrated on studying the ecology of the human microbiome focusing on the oral microbial community. I use oral polymicrobial diseases (periodontal disease) as a model to study and understand complex human microbial communities and the interactions among their members and with their host. Thus, the unifying theme of my work is to understand the role that microbial communities play in human health and disease. Periodontitis is a polymicrobial biofilm-induced inflammatory disease that occurs in moderate form in 30% to 50% of American adults and in severe form in 10% of adults and it is responsible for half of all tooth loss in adults. It is the sixth most prevalent health condition in the world affecting 743 million people worldwide. The total expenditure on treating and preventing periodontal diseases was estimated at $14B in the United States. In addition, recent studies have suggested that periodontal diseases can influence the risk for certain systemic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and can affect reproductive outcome. One main focus in my lab is using metatranscriptomic analysis to identify in situ gene expression of progressing and non-progressing periodontal sites to understand what causes the progression of the disease only in specific sites but not in others. The ultimate goal of this project is to define whether is the composition of the community or the metabolic activities of its components that ultimately cause disease progression. Although some organisms are highly associated with disease changes in composition alone do not explain disease progression. Another of my research interests is trying to understand how oral microbial communities are structured and what are the driving forces that shape them. Using system biology approaches (weighted correlation network analysis) we have identified bacterial modules in the pathogenic microbial community that were associated with disease. The use of these techniques facilitates the understanding of such a complex community as the oral microbial community. More importantly, within these modules we were able to single out organisms with high centrality (‘keystone’) within those modules. These organisms could act as ‘keystone’ species in the community. I have recently started a collaborative project to study the potential role that the oral microbiome plays in oral cancer. Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is the most common oral cancer. The two most well- established etiologic factors in cancers of the oral cavity are alcohol and tobacco exposures. However, there is a void in our knowledge regarding the role that other environmental factors may play in OSCC development. Among them, the contribution of the oral microbiome is clearly understudied. Although the relationship between microbial community composition and OSCC has been thoroughly investigated, no clear association between microbial profiles and cancer status has emerged. We use a metatranscriptomic approach to profile RNA expression in the entire oral microbiome in OSCC and reveal molecular functions that could be associated with disease.

Areas of Interest
  • Metatranscriptome
  • Microbiome
  • Oral cancer
  • Periodontal disease
  • Systems biology

Publications

2021
Genetic and Biochemical Characterization of the Na+/H+ Antiporters of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Journal of bacteriology. 203(18) [DOI] 10.1128/JB.00284-21. [PMID] 34280000.
2020
A priori estimation of sequencing effort in complex microbial metatranscriptomes.
Ecology and evolution. 10(23):13382-13394 [DOI] 10.1002/ece3.6941. [PMID] 33304545.
2020
The Oral Microbiome and Cancer.
Frontiers in immunology. 11 [DOI] 10.3389/fimmu.2020.591088. [PMID] 33193429.
2020
Virulence of the Pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis Is Controlled by the CRISPR-Cas Protein Cas3.
mSystems. 5(5) [DOI] 10.1128/mSystems.00852-20. [PMID] 32994292.
2019
The Oral Mouse Microbiome Promotes Tumorigenesis in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
mSystems. 4(4) [DOI] 10.1128/mSystems.00323-19. [PMID] 31387932.
2018
Functional profiles of coronal and dentin caries in children.
Journal of oral microbiology. 10(1) [DOI] 10.1080/20002297.2018.1495976. [PMID] 30034639.
2018
Increased virulence of the oral microbiome in oral squamous cell carcinoma revealed by metatranscriptome analyses.
International journal of oral science. 10(4) [DOI] 10.1038/s41368-018-0037-7. [PMID] 30420594.
2018
Metatranscriptome of the Oral Microbiome in Health and Disease.
Journal of dental research. 97(5):492-500 [DOI] 10.1177/0022034518761644. [PMID] 29518346.
2018
The effect of the stress hormone cortisol on the metatranscriptome of the oral microbiome.
NPJ biofilms and microbiomes. 4 [DOI] 10.1038/s41522-018-0068-z. [PMID] 30345066.
2017
Potassium is a key signal in host-microbiome dysbiosis in periodontitis.
PLoS pathogens. 13(6) [DOI] 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006457. [PMID] 28632755.
2015
Beyond microbial community composition: functional activities of the oral microbiome in health and disease.
Microbes and infection. 17(7):505-16 [DOI] 10.1016/j.micinf.2015.03.014. [PMID] 25862077.
2015
Erratum to: Functional signatures of oral dysbiosis during periodontitis progression revealed by microbial metatranscriptome analysis.
Genome medicine. 7(1) [DOI] 10.1186/s13073-015-0231-6. [PMID] 26507874.
2015
Functional signatures of oral dysbiosis during periodontitis progression revealed by microbial metatranscriptome analysis.
Genome medicine. 7(1) [DOI] 10.1186/s13073-015-0153-3. [PMID] 25918553.
2015
Small RNA Transcriptome of the Oral Microbiome during Periodontitis Progression.
Applied and environmental microbiology. 81(19):6688-99 [DOI] 10.1128/AEM.01782-15. [PMID] 26187962.
2015
Targeting specific bacteria in the oral microbiome.
Trends in microbiology. 23(9):527-8 [DOI] 10.1016/j.tim.2015.07.004. [PMID] 26215711.
2014
Community-wide transcriptome of the oral microbiome in subjects with and without periodontitis.
The ISME journal. 8(8):1659-72 [DOI] 10.1038/ismej.2014.23. [PMID] 24599074.
2014
The periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis induces expression of transposases and cell death of Streptococcus mitis in a biofilm model.
Infection and immunity. 82(8):3374-82 [DOI] 10.1128/IAI.01976-14. [PMID] 24866802.
2013
Lessons learned and unlearned in periodontal microbiology.
Periodontology 2000. 62(1):95-162 [DOI] 10.1111/prd.12010. [PMID] 23574465.
2013
Transplantation-associated long-term immunosuppression promotes oral colonization by potentially opportunistic pathogens without impacting other members of the salivary bacteriome.
Clinical and vaccine immunology : CVI. 20(6):920-30 [DOI] 10.1128/CVI.00734-12. [PMID] 23616410.
2012
Effect of periodontal pathogens on the metatranscriptome of a healthy multispecies biofilm model.
Journal of bacteriology. 194(8):2082-95 [DOI] 10.1128/JB.06328-11. [PMID] 22328675.
2011
Correlation network analysis applied to complex biofilm communities.
PloS one. 6(12) [DOI] 10.1371/journal.pone.0028438. [PMID] 22163302.
2010
Temporal dynamics of Prochlorococcus ecotypes in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
The ISME journal. 4(10):1252-64 [DOI] 10.1038/ismej.2010.60. [PMID] 20463762.
2010
UV hyper-resistance in Prochlorococcus MED4 results from a single base pair deletion just upstream of an operon encoding nudix hydrolase and photolyase.
Environmental microbiology. 12(7):1978-88 [DOI] 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2010.02203.x. [PMID] 20345942.
2009
Use of stable isotope-labelled cells to identify active grazers of picocyanobacteria in ocean surface waters.
Environmental microbiology. 11(2):512-25 [DOI] 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2008.01793.x. [PMID] 19196281.
2008
Microbial community gene expression in ocean surface waters.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 105(10):3805-10 [DOI] 10.1073/pnas.0708897105. [PMID] 18316740.
2004
Bacterial community associated with black band disease in corals.
Applied and environmental microbiology. 70(10):5955-62 [PMID] 15466538.
View on: PubMed
2004
Identification of differential gene expression in bacteria associated with coral black band disease by using RNA-arbitrarily primed PCR.
Applied and environmental microbiology. 70(6):3687-94 [PMID] 15184174.
View on: PubMed
2003
Cyanobacteria associated with coral black band disease in Caribbean and Indo-Pacific Reefs.
Applied and environmental microbiology. 69(4):2409-13 [PMID] 12676731.
View on: PubMed
2002
Partitioning of bacterial communities between seawater and healthy, black band diseased, and dead coral surfaces.
Applied and environmental microbiology. 68(5):2214-28 [PMID] 11976091.
View on: PubMed
2001
Identification of cell wall proteins of Bacteroides fragilis to which bacteriophage B40-8 binds specifically.
Microbiology (Reading, England). 147(Pt 2):281-288 [DOI] 10.1099/00221287-147-2-281. [PMID] 11158345.

Grants

Jul 2021 ACTIVE
A novel mechanism of virulence control in Porphyromonas gingivalis
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: NATL INST OF HLTH NIDCR
Jul 2021 ACTIVE
Microbial sphingolipids and suppression of host inflammation in periodontal disease
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding: NATL INST OF HLTH NIDCR
Apr 2021 ACTIVE
Oral Disease and Disorders Research
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE RES FOU via NATL INST OF HLTH NIDCR
Jul 2020 – Mar 2021
Metatranscriptome of the oral community of 25 samples from biofilms form on retainers
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: COLGATE-PALMOLIVE CO
Dec 2019 ACTIVE
Investigating the viable but not culturable (VBNC) state in P. gingivalis
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding: NATL INST OF HLTH NIDCR
Jul 2019 ACTIVE
Role of the oral microbiome in oral squamous cell carcinoma progression
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: BOSTON UNIV via NATL INST OF HLTH NIDCR
Apr 2018 – Mar 2019
Training on Data Analysis Methodologies for Human and Bacterial Transcriptomics
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: COLGATE-PALMOLIVE CO
Sep 2017 – Dec 2018
Targeted Cultivation of New Periodontal Pathogens
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: UNIV OF PENNSYLVANIA via NATL INST OF HLTH NIDCR
Sep 2016 – Aug 2017
Targeted Cultivation of New Periodontal Pathogens
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: UNIV OF NORTH CAROLINA CHAPEL HILL via NATL INST OF HLTH NIDCR
Mar 2016 ACTIVE
Dysbiosis of the subgingival microbiome: host-microbial metatranscriptomic analysis during periodontal disease progression and post periodontal treatment
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: NATL INST OF HLTH NIDCR

Patents

Published October 2017
Compositions and Methods for Detecting and Treating Periodontal Disease
#US-2018-0110795-A1

Education

Agricultural Engineer
1998 · Polytechnic University of Catalonia. (Spain)
Ph. D. – Microbiology
1992 · University of Barcelona. (Spain)
B.Sc. – Biology
1987 · University of Barcelona (Spain)

Teaching Profile

Courses Taught
2017-2021
DEN5127 Infectious Diseases
2019-2021
GMS6121 Infectious Diseases
2018,2021
GMS5905 Special Topics in Biomedical Sciences
2021
DEN6680 Principles and Craniofacial Biology and Emerging Therapies
2022
DEN6681 Craniofacial Pathobiology

Contact Details

Emails: