As an oral microbiologist, my overall research objectives are to reveal the means by which bacterial inhabitants of the oral cavity can transition from a commensal relationship with the host to exhibiting pathogenicity. My research program at the University of Texas School of Dentistry focuses on the polymicrobial biofilm organisms linked to diseases of the periodontium, with a specific focus on the pathogenic mechanisms of Porphyromonas gingivalis. I am currently funded by the NIDCR to identify the molecular mechanisms of horizontal gene transfer in this gram-negative oral anaerobe, and previously was funded to investigate transfer of antibiotic resistance genes in the oral flora. I am also involved in collaborations with investigators in which I provide expertise in anaerobic and oral microbiology. I have multiple publications in leading journals related to biofilm formation, inter-species interactions, and mechanisms of virulence regulation in the oral flora.