Flavia  Teles

Flavia Teles, DDS, MS, DMSc

Associate Professor
Department of Basic & Translational Sciences
Levy 246 (office), 235 & 245 (labs)
Email: fteles@dental.upenn.edu
Professional Biography

Dr. Teles’ interests include the study of the oral microbiome in health, disease initiation, progression and in response to periodontal treatment and implant placement as well as the investigation of the microbial ecology of the oral cavity. For the past ten years, her research activities in the have been supported by grants from NIH/NIDCR, industry and foundations.

Dr. Teles’ main line of research is dedicated to the identification and cultivation of new periodontal pathogens using state-of-the-art cultivation and molecular approaches. Even though uncultivated/unrecognized organisms comprise 50% of the oral microbiome, their role in periodontal health and disease is unknown and will only be fully realized once they are cultivated and characterized. In addition, the study of these new bacterial species may lead to the discovery of new compounds and metabolic pathways, which can foster the development of better strategies for prevention and treatment of periodontal diseases as well as other oral conditions. Our lab developed in vitro and ex vivo (i.e., obtained from patient samples) biofilm models that give us the ability to foster the cultivation of difficult to grow microorganisms and to test new antimicrobials and the antimicrobial mechanisms of anti-infective periodontal therapies.

Dr. Teles research program also explores the association between the oral microbiome and carcinogenesis. Since several bacterial species can synthesize carcinogenic compounds and the oral cavity harbors a diverse and complex microbiota, the oral microbiome might contribute to the development of head and neck cancers. Thus, as part of a grant awarded by the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, Dr. Teles have been investigating the oral microbiome, as well as the oral inflammatory and metabolic profiles of children and young adults with Fanconi Anemia (FA). FA is a rare genetic disorder that leads to increased oral cancer predisposition (as well other malignancies) due to hypersensitivity to DNA damage. Thus, the identification of the determinants of oral carcinogenesis in this population may provide key insights into mechanisms of oral cancer development in FA patients as well as in the general population.

For Dr. Teles, this is a particularly exciting time to be a microbiologist, as cutting-edge, high-throughput sequencing technologies and bioinformatics tools are becoming increasingly available. However, new technologies also bring challenges and new platforms need to be validated. In the past two years, the Teles lab have been conducting validation studies using a mock community of 40 bacterial reference strains to assess the precision and accuracy of several aspects of 16S rRNA sequencing and metagenomics, including the use of different primers ad sequencing cores, and the associated analytical tools.

In the next phase of Dr. Teles’ research program, she will explore new and affordable periodontal therapies and to expand my work her work on oral carcinogenesis to include mechanistic projects as well as clinical longitudinal studies of populations at risk for oral cancer.

Academic Appointments
  • Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, 2017-Present
  • Research Associate Professor, Department of Periodontology, School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, 2014-2017
  • Associate Research Investigator, Department of Applied Oral Sciences, The Forsyth Institute, Cambridge, MA, 2014-Present
  • Assistant Member of the Staff, Department of Applied Oral Sciences, Center for Periodontology, The Forsyth Institute, Cambridge, MA, 2011-2014
  • Staff Scientist, Department of Periodontology, The Forsyth Institute, Cambridge, MA, 2009-2011
  • Instructor, Department of Oral Medicine, Infection and Immunity, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA, 2009-Present
  • Adjunct Faculty in Periodontology, Dental Hygiene Program, School of Business, Mount Ida College, Newton, MA, 2007-2010
  • Assistant Professor, Dept. of Periodontology, Estácio de Sá University School of Dentistry, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2002.
  • Assistant Professor, Dept. of Periodontology, Pontificia Universidade Catolica Dental Institute (PUC), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2000-2003
Peer Review Journals and Editorial Boards
  • Editorial Board Member: Journal of Dental Research, 2017-Present
  • Editorial Board (Review Editor), Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 2017-Present
  • Ad hoc reviewer for Journal of Proteome,2017-Present
  • Ad hoc reviewer for Scientific Reports, 2016-Present
  • Ad hoc reviewer for Oral Diseases, 2015-Present
  • Ad hoc reviewer for PLoS One, 2015-Present
  • Ad hoc reviewer for the Journal of the International Academy of Periodontology, 2013-Present
  • Ad hoc reviewer for the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 2011-Present
  • Ad hoc reviewer for the Journal Periodontal Research, 2011-Present
  • Ad hoc reviewer for FEMS Microbiology Letters, 2011-Present
  • Ad hoc reviewer for the Journal of Dental Research, 2010-Present
  • Ad hoc reviewer for the Journal of Periodontology, 2007-Present
Society Memberships
  • International Metagenomics and Microbiome Standards Alliance, 2016-Present
  • IADR/AADR Women in Science Network Group, 2012-Present
  • IADR/AADR Periodontal Research Group, 2008-Present
  • ADEA, American Dental Education Association, 2006-Present
  • AADR, American Association for Dental Research, 2004-Present
Honors / Credentials
  • IADR Women in Science Award for Distinguished Research, 2017
  • NIH Ad hoc reviewer: Oral, Dental and Craniofacial Sciences (ODCS) Study Section , 2017
  • NIH Ad hoc reviewer and Chair: Special Emphasis Panel/Scientific Review Group ZRG1 MOSS-S (02) Study Section, 2017
  • 2017-2018 AADR Edward H. Hatton Awards Committee Member, 2017
  • IADR/AADR Group Program Chair, Women in Science Network Group, 2017
  • NIH Ad hoc reviewer: Special Emphasis Panel/Scientific Review Group ZRG1 MOSS-S (02), 2016
  • Initiation, fundraising and endowment of the “AADR Anne D. Haffajee Fellowship for Women in Oral Research
  • President-North Carolina Section of the American Association of Dental Research, 2015-2016
  • Krakow Harvard/Forsyth Endowed Endodontic Research Fund Award (Mentor), 2014
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Program Award, 2012-2013
  • IADR Travel Grant for Young Investigators, 2012
  • Eleanor and Miles Shore 50th Anniversary Fellowship Program for Scholars in Medicine – The Forsyth Institute/Harvard Medical School, 2009-2011
  • PCIR Junior Investigator Laboratory Support Award, Harvard University, 2010
  • Member of Forsyth’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), 2011-2014
  • Ad hoc abstract reviewer for the IADR/AADR, Periodontal Research Group, 2010-Present
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Program Award, 2007-2012
  • Training grant sponsored by the Coordination of Perfectioning of Staff of Superior Level (Capes), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil, 2002-2004″
Selected Publications
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  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Oral Microbiology, The Forsyth Institute, 2009
  • Doctor of Medical Sciences (DMSc), Oral Biology, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, 2007
  • Master of Sciences, Periodontology, State University of Rio de Janeiro, 2004
  • Certificate in Periodontology, Pontificia Universidade Catolica (PUC), 2000
  • DDS, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, 1997