Appointments, Faculty and Staff, Periodontology

Flavia and Ricardo Teles Begin Periodontology Appointments

Officially effective on August 15, Drs. Flavia Teles and Ricardo Teles have joined the Department of Periodontology faculty.

Dr. Steven Offenbacher, chair of the Department of Periodontology, said the department is looking forward to working with Drs. Teles. “Both Ricardo and Flavia are experienced periodontists who practiced in Boston for many years and will be joining our faculty practice here at UNC,” he explained.

As a research associate professor at UNC, Dr. Flavia Teles will establish her laboratory and continue to pursue her interests in oral microbiology. Her responsibilities will include teaching and mentoring pre-doctoral and post-doctoral students in periodontology and oral biology, as well as the supervision of clinical activities.

“We are thrilled to have Flavia join our department,” said Offenbacher. “She is a dynamic and engaging teacher and periodontal educator. Flavia is also an outstanding microbiological scientist with unparalleled expertise in cultivable and molecular microbial analyses. Overall she is a delightful, friendly person who brings tremendous strengths to our school. We look forward to her participation at all educational and research levels in our institution.”

Dr. Flavia Teles received her dental degree in 1997 from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 2000, she received her certificate in periodontology from the Pontifical Catholic University, followed by a Master in Science in periodontology from the State University of Rio de Janeiro in 2004. She received a Doctor of Medical Sciences in oral biology from Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) in 2007. She became a faculty member at the Forsyth Institute and HSDM in 2009. Most recently, she served as an assistant member of the staff at Forsyth and as the director of the predoctoral oral microbiology and immunology course at HSDM.

Dr. Flavia Teles’ research is primarily dedicated to oral microbiology and to better understand how microorganisms contribute to the pathogenesis of periodontal diseases. She is particularly interested in the uncultivated and unrecognized segment of the oral microbiome, which was the focus of a recently completed NIH grant. The study of these new bacterial species may unravel new metabolic pathways and foster the development of better strategies for prevention and treatment of periodontal diseases. Her research 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, it is possible that the oral microbiome might contribute to the development of head and neck cancer. Funded by the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, Dr. Flavia Teles investigates the oral microbiome, along with the oral inflammatory and metabolic profiles of children with Fanconi Anemia (FA), a rare genetic disorder that leads to increased oral cancer predisposition due to hypersensitivity to DNA damage. She anticipates that the study of determinants of oral carcinogenesis in FA may also provide key insights into mechanisms of oral cancer in the general population.

“It is with great enthusiasm that I join the Department of Periodontology of UNC School of Dentistry,” said Dr. Flavia Teles. “The department is well-known in the U.S. and abroad for its cutting-edge clinical and basic research in different aspects of periodontal diseases. In addition, its interdisciplinary approach to investigating oral-systemic connections have brought many contributions to the field and highlighted the importance of oral health to clinicians and patients alike. I look forward to working with its team of knowledgeable and highly skilled faculty and contribute to further enhancing the department’s impeccable reputation in teaching, research, patient care and service.”

Dr. Ricardo Teles joins the department as the OraPharma Distinguished Professor. As a member of the department, he will establish his laboratory and continue to pursue his research interests. He will also be involved in teaching different aspects of periodontology to graduate and post-graduate students. Additional activities will include direct supervision of clinical work, participation in case review seminars and research mentorship of students.

“Ricardo joins us as a distinguished professor who brings periodontal expertise in microbiology and immunology,” said Offenbacher. “His large, multi-centered NIDCR grant will provide important new diagnostic and therapeutic insights into periodontal disease and places him nationally at the forefront of clinical periodontal disease research. His work is translational in nature and represents an example of applied systems biology to help us identify patients at risk and to provide better care. Ricardo will be involved in our resident training and our PhD and post-doctoral programs.”

He received his dental degree in 1988 from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After obtaining his certificate in periodontology and a Doctor of Medical Sciences in oral biology from HSDM in 1996, he returned to Brazil to take a position as chair of the periodontology department at the Estacio de Sa University School of Dentistry in Rio de Janeiro, rising to school dean. In 2003, he returned to Boston to take a position as assistant member of the staff in the Department of Periodontology at the Forsyth Institute and as clinical instructor in periodontology at HSDM. He was promoted to associate member of the staff in 2008 and to the tenured position of senior member of the staff in 2011.

The focus of his research is to examine in vivo the interplay between subgingival polymicrobial biofilms and mediators of the immuno-inflammatory host response. In 2010, he was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study biomarkers of periodontal disease progression. This ongoing project involves four clinical centers in the U.S. which monitor 500 subjects for 12 months without intervention. Subjects are monitored for changes in clinical, immunological and microbiological parameters on a bimonthly basis using state of the art technology. Dr. Ricardo Teles is an ad-hoc reviewer to many scientific journals and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Periodontology. He has authored/co-authored more than 60 peer reviewed manuscripts and book chapters.

“I am very excited to join the prestigious Department of Periodontology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,” said Dr. Ricardo Teles. “Throughout my academic career I have been influenced by the literature generated in this institution. It is quite an honor to be able to work close to a world renowned team of researchers and clinicians. This is a particular exciting time to join the department with its young vibrant faculty dedicated to educate the next generations of leaders in periodontology. My goal is to contribute to make UNC also a reference in the fields of oral microbiology and oral Immunology.”