Sumant Puri is an associate professor at the Kornberg School of Dentistry and co-director of the Oral Microbiome Research Laboratory. He earned his master’s in microbiology from Delhi University in 2001, followed by a PhD in biochemistry from University at Buffalo (UB) in 2010. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Northeastern University in Boston from 2010–2011. In 2011, he started as a postdoctoral fellow in the Oral Biology Department at the Dental School at UB. There, he studied the role of salivary iron on Candida albicans, the causative agent of OPC/thrush and denture stomatitis. He was promoted to research scientist and research assistant professor at UB before joining Kornberg. 

Dr. Puri has co-authored 22 publications—including reviews and book chapters—in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals and books, and he is an invited reviewer for research articles in the field of oral microbiome and iron. His current research focuses on how changes in host iron levels affect fungal pathogenesis and the oral microbiome.

Recent Funding

National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, R01
Role of Environmental Iron in Candida albicans Cell Wall Remodeling and its Effect on Host-pathogen Interaction During Oropharyngeal Candidiasis
July 2021 - June 2026
Role: PI Sumant Puri
Amount: $1,882,190

Office of the Vice President for Research 2020 Bridge Research Program
“Effect of Iron on Fungal Pathogenesis”
July 2020 - Aug 2020
Role: PI Sumant Puri
Amount: $18,000

National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, R03
“Role of host iron in Candida albicans oral commensal carriage and oropharyngeal candidiasis”
April 2017–March 2019
Role: PI Sumant Puri
Amount: $237,750

Selected Publications

Tripathi A, Nahar A, Sharma R, Kanaskie T, Al-Hebshi NN, Puri S. High Iron-mediated Increased Oral Fungal Burden, Oral-to-gut transmission, and Changes to Pathogenicity of Candida albicans in Oropharyngeal Candidiasis. J Oral Microbiol. 2022; 14(1): 2044110.

Montoya C, Kurylec J, Baraniya D, Tripathi A, Puri S*, Orrego S*. Antifungal Effect of Piezoelectric Charges on PMMA Dentures. ACS Biomater Sci Eng. 2021 11;7(10):4838-4846.
* Co-corresponding authors.

Tripathi A, Liverani E, Tsygankov AY, Puri S. Iron Alters the Cell Wall Composition and Intracellular Lactate to Affect Candida albicans Susceptibility to Antifungals and Host Immune Response. J Biol Chem. 2020;295(29):10032-10044.

Baraniya D, Chen T, Nahar A, Alakwaa F, Hill J, Tellez M, Ismail A, Puri S*, Al-hebshi NN*. Supragingival mycobiome and inter-kingdom interactions in dental caries. J Oral Microbiol. 2020, 12(1): 1729305.
* Co-corresponding authors.

Puri S, Kumar R, Rojas I, Salvatori O, Edgerton M. Iron Chelator Deferasirox Reduces Candida albicans Invasion of Oral Epithelial Cells and Infection Levels in Murine Oropharyngeal Candidiasis. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2019 Mar 27;63(4).

Norris HL, Friedman J, Chen Z, Puri S, Wilding G, Edgerton M. Salivary Metals, Age, and Gender Correlate with Cultivable Oral Candida Carriage Levels. J Oral Microbiol. 2018 Mar; 10 (1): 1447216.  

Du H,  Puri S, McCall A , Norris H, Russo T, Edgerton M. Human Salivary Protein Histatin 5 has Potent Bactericidal Activity Against ESKAPE Pathogens. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2017 Feb 15;7:41.

Salvatori O, Puri S, Tati S, Edgerton M. Innate Immunity and Saliva in Candida albicans-mediated Oral Diseases. J Dent Res. 2016 Apr; 95(4):365-71. 

Puri S, Friedman J, Saraswat D, Kumar R, Li R, Ruszaj D, Edgerton M. Candida albicans Shed Msb2 and Host Mucins Affect the Candidacidal Activity of Salivary Hst 5.  Pathogens. 2015 Oct; 4(4):752-63. 

Puri S, Li R, Ruszaj D, Tati S, Edgerton M. Iron binding modulates candidacidal properties of salivary histatin 5.  J Dent Res. 2015 Jan; 94(1):201-8.

Puri S, Li R, Edgerton M. How Does it Kill?: Understanding the Candidacidal Mechanism of Salivary Histatin 5. Eukaryot Cell. 2014 Aug; 13(8): 958-64. 

Puri S, Lai WK, Rizzo JM, Buck MJ, Edgerton M. Iron-responsive Chromatin Remodeling and MAPK Signaling Enhance Adhesion in Candida albicans. Mol Microbiol. 2014 Jul; 93(2): 291-305.