Fata Moradali, PhD

Assistant Professor

ORCID ID:0000-0002-0230-5006

Research Interests:

A complex community of bacteria lives below the gum line in the sandwich environment between teeth and periodontal tissue.  This bacterial community, known as the periodontal microbiome, has a major influence on oral health and a range of inflammatory diseases. The host inflammatory response and the periodontal microbiome interact bidirectionally. Balanced interactions between inflammatory response and the periodontal microbiome are present in oral health, whereas imbalanced interactions are linked to inflammatory disease states.  My research interest is focused on studying, at molecular and cellular level, factors that influence the primary defense responses and immune homeostasis.  We examine the impact of immunostimulants and signaling components produced by the periodontal microbiome on the regulation and function of innate immune cells and non-immune cells. In addition, we study metabolic and genetic reprogramming of host cells and periodontal pathogens imposed by inflammation. The goal of our studies is to advance the identification of diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets and develop novel therapeutics to overcome chronic inflammations and infections.

Our research is interdisciplinary. It requires leveraging innovative system-based approaches and integrating the tools of molecular/cellular biology, microbiology, immunology, biochemistry, and bioengineering.

Our current projects focus on:

  1. Impact of LPS heterogeneity and secondary messengers on innate immune responses in the context of gum infections and inflammation
  2. Metabolic and genetic adaptations in the context of host-microbe interactions and chronic inflammation
  3. Key ecophysiological signals within subgingival niche promoting virulent bacterial community and pro-inflammatory responses
  4. Harnessing biosynthesis, modification, and regulation of biopolymers and self-assembly building blocks for developing novel antimicrobials and anti-inflammatory therapeutics

Selected Publications

  1. Atypical cyclic di-AMP signaling is essential for Porphyromonas gingivalis growth and regulation of cell envelope homeostasis and virulence. npj Biofilms and Microbiomes 8, 53 (2022)
  2. Metabolic plasticity enables lifestyle transitions of Porphyromonas gingivalis. npj Biofilms and Microbiomes, 7(1):46 (2021)
  3. Biopolymers for biomedical and biotechnological applications. John Wiley & Sons (2021)
  4. Microbial cell factories for biomanufacturing of polysaccharides. In: Biopolymers for biomedical and biotechnological applications. John Wiley & Sons. (2021)
  5. PPAD activity promotes outer membrane vesicle biogenesis and surface translocation by Porphyromonas gingivalis. Journal of Bacteriology, 203(4) (2020)
  6. Bacterial biopolymers: from pathogenesis to advanced materials.  Nature Reviews Microbiology, 18, 195–210 (2020)
  7. The regulation of alginate biosynthesis via cyclic di-GMP signaling. In: Microbial cyclic di-nucleotide signaling. Springer (2020)
  8. Amino acids as wetting agents: surface translocation by Porphyromonas gingivalis. The ISME Journal, 13: 1560–1574 (2019)
  9. The role of alginate in bacterial biofilm formation. In: Extracellular sugar-based biopolymers matrices. Biologically-inspired systems, vol 12. Springer (2019)
  10. Alginates and their biomedical applications. Springer. (2018)
  11. Activation mechanism and cellular localization of membrane-anchored alginate polymerase in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 83 (9) e03499-16. (2017) 
  12. Alginate polymerization and modification are linked in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. mBio, 6 (3) e00453-15 (2015)