Oral Microbiome Research Laboratory


Nezar Al-hebshi, BDS, PhD
Associate Research Professor
Department of Pediatrics and Community Oral Health Sciences
Phone: 215-707-2091
Email: alhebshi@temple.edu
  Sumant Puri, MSc, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics and Community Oral Health Sciences
Phone: 215-707-5984
Email: sumantpuri@temple.edu


Room: 411, 725 square feet

The Laboratory is equipped for cultivating bacteria and fungi, growing multispecies biofilms, performing DNA extraction and quantification, conventional and real-time PCR and next generation sequencing and immunoblotting; as well as for carrying out pre- and post-processing of murine models of oral diseases and processing human oral samples.

Research Focus

The Oral Microbiome Research Laboratory focuses on the following areas:

  1. Characterization of a high resolution core oral bacteriome in health in different populations and exploring the possibility of existence of universal and ethnicity-specific core species
  2. Identification of the compositional and functional microbial shifts associated with transition from health to disease (periodontitis, dental caries and oral cancer)
  3. Establishing an in vitro model of subgingival microbiome for screening of microbiome modulators
  4. Studying the role of host iron in oropharyngeal candidiasis
  5. Testing iron chelators as potential therapeutics against oral microorganisms in mixed biofilms and murine models of co-infection
  6. Using mice models of diabetes and iron overload to understand the mechanisms leading to changes in the oral microbiome resulting from chronic diseases


  • Dr. Nezar Al-hebshi, Associate Research Professor
  • Dr. Sumant Puri, Assistant Professor

Representative Publications

  1. Al-hebshi NN, Abdulhaq A, Albarrag A, Basode VK, Chen T. Species-level core oral bacteriome identified by 16S rRNA pyrosequencing in a healthy young Arab population. Journal of oral microbiology. 2016;8:31444.
  2. Al-hebshi NN, Nasher AT, Idris AM, Chen T. Robust species taxonomy assignment algorithm for 16S rRNA NGS reads: application to oral carcinoma samples. Journal of oral microbiology. 2015;7:28934.
  3. Al-Hebshi NN, Alharbi FA, Mahri M, Chen T. Differences in the Bacteriome of Smokeless Tobacco Products with Different Oral Carcinogenicity: Compositional and Predicted Functional Analysis. Genes (Basel) 2017; 8. doi: 10.3390/genes8040106.
  4. Al-hebshi NN, Nasher AT, Maryoud YM, Homeida HE, Chen T, Idris AM, Johnson NW. Inflammatory Bacteriome Featuring Fusobacterium nucleatum and Pseudomonas aeruginosa Identified in Association with Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Preprints 2017, 2017030024. doi: 10.20944/preprints201703.0024.v1.
  5. Perera M, Al-hebshi NN, Perera I, Ipe D, Ulett GC, Speicher DJ, Chen T, Johnson NW. A Dysbiotic Mycobiome Dominated by Candida albicans is Identified within Oral Squamous Cell Carcinomas. Preprints 2017, 2017030216. doi: 10.20944/preprints201703.0216.v1.
  6. 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. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2017.00041. eCollection 2017.
  7. 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. Pubmed PMID: 26747422.
  8. 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. Pubmed PMID:    26529023.
  9. Li R, Puri S, Tati S, Cullen PJ, Edgerton M. Candida albicans Cek1 mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling enhances fungicidal activity of salivary histatin 5. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2015 Mar; 59(6): 3460-8. Pubmed PMID: 25824232.
  10. 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. Pubmed PMID: 24951439.
  11. 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. Pubmed PMID: 24889932.


Role of host iron in Candida albicans oral commensal carriage and oropharyngeal candidiasis; NIH NIDCR R03 (April 2017 – March 2019); PI Sumant Puri

In Vitro Effects of Commensal Oral Bacteria on Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cell Lines; PDH (June 2017-June 2019); PI Nezar Al-hebshi