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WEBINAR SERIESUnlocking the Oral Microbiome


A wide variety of sites in the mouth are colonized by complex, diverse and site-specific microbial communities that form through sequential and specific interactions, with populations shaped by the source of colonising organisms and by host-microbe as well as microbe-microbe interactions.

Application of “omics” technologies has enabled comprehensive characterization of these communities and their collective genomes, the oral microbiome, in health and disease.  The most common oral diseases are consequences of a shift from a balanced, homeostatic microbial community (normobiosis) to a dysbiotic community characterized by an increase in abundance of pathogenic species that are otherwise found in low numbers in health.

Oral biofilms are the best characterized (and accessible) complex biofilms of relevance to human health and disease, and numerous models exist for their in vitro and in situ study.  Caries and periodontal disease are amongst the most common human infectious diseases, with significant impacts on quality of life and huge economic cost worldwide. Periodontitis has also been linked to systemic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

In this webinar, you will get an introduction to the oral microbiome, considerations for metagenomics in oral microbiome studies and two real-world case studies :

Case study 1: Modelling and modulating the oral microbiome: Temple’s subgingival microbiome model.

Case study 2: The oral microbiome in health and disease: the oral microbiome associated with risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Highlighted below, we are joined by three experts in their chosen fields to talk about how to bring oral microbiome science into the 21st Century.

Professor Deirdre Devine, Chair of Oral Microbiology, School of Dentistry, University of Leeds

Deirdre Devine, PhD: Having joined the University of Leeds in 1995 as a Lecturer, I was appointed in 2009 as Professor of Oral Microbiology in the School of Dentistry. I came to Leeds via the Universities of Reading (BSc, 1982), London (PhD, 1988), Manchester (1987-1989) and Bradford (1989-1995). I am currently the Faculty of Medicine and Health Lead for Research Quality and Impact (REF), Lead for the School of Dentistry Microbiology and Cell Biology Research Theme and the Deputy Head of the Division of Oral Biology. In 2019 I became an elected Member of the Microbiology Society Council. I have published >75 papers and two books and been involved in £7M worth of research grants as PI/Co. My research currently focusses on resident biofilms and host responses, to understand: (a) biofilm-related diseases and maintenance of health and homeostasis, e.g. multi-species and complex in vitro models to explore the development of dysbiotic oral biofilms and to understand the roles of immunomodulatory commensal bacteria in biofilm-host interactions; (b) the links between oral and systemic disease, particularly studies of oral dysbiosis and periodontal disease as potential triggers for the development of rheumatoid arthritis, working with the NIHR Leeds Biomedical Research Centre; (c) development of novel approaches to control biofilm-related diseases, including collaborations with colleagues in Computing, Design, Physics, and Food Science to, e.g. use in silico models to support ecological approaches to regulate biofilm development and behaviour, develop novel antimicrobial materials and wound dressings, explore microbubbles and quorum sensing analogues as anti-biofilm agents.

Dr. Nezar-Al-Hebshi, Associate Professor & Co-Director, Oral Microbiome Laboratory, Temple University School of Dentistry

Nezar Al-hebshi, PhD, is currently an Associate Professor of Oral Microbiology at the Kornberg School of Dentistry, Temple University, where he codirects the Oral Microbiome Research Laboratory. He is also a primary member of the Fox Chase Cancer Center. He obtained his PhD from the University of Bergen, Norway (2005), and his Bachelor degree in Dental Surgery from the University of Science and Technology (UST), Yemen (1999). Before moving to the USA, he held faculty and research positions in Yemen and Saudi Arabia between 2006 and 2015. Dr. Al- hebshi has more than 40 publications and an extensive network of collaborators from different parts of the world, and has been involved as a PI in more than a million dollars’ worth of research funding, primarily from the National Institutes of Health and Pennsylvania Department of Health. His current research focuses on: 1) charactering the oral microbiome associated with health and disease employing targeted, metagenomic and metatranscriptomic sequencing; 2) exploring the anticancer properties of health-associated oral bacteria; and 3) developing an in vitro model of subgingival microbiome optimized for screening of microbiome modulates.

Presenter: Dr. Arne Materna - Vice President, Product

A microbiologist & molecular biologist by training, Dr Materna received his doctoral degree from the University of Konstanz & his post-doc training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Arne later joined Pacific Biosciences as systems architect of a new Next-generation Sequencing device. In 2012, Arne joined CLC bio, acquired by QIAGEN in 2013. Arne directed QIAGEN’s portfolio of bioinformatics solutions prior to joining CosmosID in 2018.