ogonz2's picture

Octavio A. Gonzalez, DDS MS PhD

Associate Professor

Department: Center for Oral Health Research

  • Office:HSRB Room # 401
    Lexington, Kentucky 40536
  • Phone:859-323-0125
  • Other Phone:
  • Email:ogonz2@email.uky.edu


  • DDS, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, College of Dentistry, Bogot√°, Colombia
  • MS, Microbiology, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia
  • PhD, Microbiology, University of Kentucky College of Medicine


  • Oral Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
  • Oral Microbiology, University of Southern California, School of Dentistry, Los Angeles, CA
  • (A) Effects of aging on the innate immune responses in the oral mucosa.
  • (B) The role of Oral bacteria-epithelial cells interactions in the pathogenesis of periodontal disease.
  • Project 1: Role of Notch-1/PLA2-IIA in oral dysbiosis, inflammation, and periodontal disease. This project seeks to validate in vivo the role of a new oral epithelial molecular pathway (identified in our lab) that is specifically activated by an oral pathogen (P. gingivalis) to induce oral dysbiosis and periodontal disease. For this purpose, mice models of P. gingivalis-induced periodontitis will be used to characterize early gingival antimicrobial responses that could be eliciting oral dysbiosis even before periodontal tissue destruction occurs.
  • Project 2: Development of small molecules targeting Porphyromonas gingivalis. In collaboration with the College of Pharmacy we have synthesized analogues of the anti-asthma drug zafirlukast with potent and specific antimicrobial effect against the oral pathogen P. gingivalis and better biosafety profile than the parent drug. This project aims to optimize a new generation of zafirlukast analogues and identify the antibacterial mechanisms involved in P. gingivalis killing. (Pending R21 review/ NIDCR funding).
  • Project 3: Modulation of innate epithelial cell responses by oral commensal bacteria. The main goals of this project were to determine chemokine responses of oral epithelial cells in response to oral commensal bacteria and the potential role of miRNAs regulating these responses.
  • Project 4: Ontogeny of innate immune responses at mucosal surfaces. The main goal of this project was to determine the oral mucosa molecular changes of the innate immune response related to aging during health and periodontitis using the non-human primate model. (We are still analyzing data generated in these R01 studies).
  • Project 5: Ontogenetic Programming of Gingival Tissues and Risk of Periodontitis. This project is a collaborative and multi-disciplinary work that seeks to determine the impact of the characteristics of the early-acquired oral microbiome on gingival innate immune responses that are associated with resistance or susceptibility to periodontal disease. For this, a well established non-human primate model of periodontal disease will be used. (R56 NIH/NIDCR Funded).
  • Project 6: Effect of Aging on gingival gamma-delta T cells. An essential component of the innate immunity at mucosal surfaces, including the oral epithelium, are gamma-delta T cells, which have been shown to change in number and function with aging in several tissues increasing the risk for chronic inflammation. In collaboration with the College of Medicine, this project seeks to determine the effect of aging on the number, cytokine production, and senescence of gamma-delta T cells in gingival tissues using mice models. (NIH/NIDCR COBRE pilot grant funded).
  • Ebersole JL, Kirakodu S, Chen J, Gonzalez OA. Oral Microbiome and Gingival Transcriptome Profiles of ligature-induced Periodontitis in Nonhuman Primates. J Dent Res 2020 (accepted-PMID: 32075482)
  • Chandrika NT, Fosso MY, Alimova Y, May A, Gonzalez OA, Garneau-Tsodikova S. Novel zafirlukast derivatives exhibit selective antibacterial activity against P. gingivalis. MedChemCom 2019 Jun 10;10(6):926-933.
  • IKirakodu S, Chen J, Gonzalez-Martinez J, Gonzalez OA, Ebersole JL. Microbiome profiles of ligature-induced periodontitis in non-human primates across the life span. Infection and Immunity 2019 May 21; 87(6)..
  • Al-Attar A, Alimova Y, Kirakodu S, Kozal A, Novak MJ, Stromberg AJ, Orraca L, Gonzalez-Martinez J, Martinez M, Ebersole JL, Gonzalez OA. Activation of Notch-1 in oral epithelial cells by P. gingivalis triggers the expression of the antimicrobial protein PLA2-IIA. Mucosal Immunology 2018 Jul; 11(4):1047-1059.
  • Ebersole JL, Dawson D 3rd, Emecen-Huja P, Nagarajan R, Howard K, Grady ME, Thompson K, Peyyala R, Al-Attar A, Lethbridge K, Kirakodu S, Gonzalez OA. The periodontal war: microbes and immunity. Periodontol 2000. 2017. Oct;75(1):52-115.
  • Ebersole JL, Kirakodu SS, Novak MJ, Orraca L, Gonzalez-Martinez J, Cunningham LL, Thomas MV, Stromberg A, Pandruvada S, and Gonzalez OA. Transcriptome Analysis of B-cell Immune Functions in Periodontitis: Mucosal Tissue Responses to Oral Microbiome in Aging. Front. Immunol 2016 Jul 18;7:272.
  • Aging, inflammation, immunity and Periodontal Disease. Ebersole JL, Graves CL, Gonzalez OA, Dawson D III, Morford LA, Huja PE, Hartsfield JK Jr, Huja SS, Pandruvada S, Wallet SM. Periodontology 2000 (2016) Oct;72(1):54-75.
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