Cristina Villar, D.D.S., Ph.D.
ssistant Professor of Research Department of Periodontics
Dr. Cristina Villar received her Doctor of Dental Surgery and Master of Dental Surgery degrees from the University of Campinas, Brazil. She continued her studies at the University of Connecticut Heath Center, where she completed a combined post- graduate program in Periodontology and a Ph.D. in Oral Biology. Dr. Villar held a faculty position in the Department of Periodontics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where she cur- rently serves as an adjunct faculty. Her research inter- ests focus primarily on oral mucosal infection and immunity.
Dr. Cristina Villar's field of interest lies in Oropharyngeal candidiasis--the most common opportunistic fungal infection in bone marrow transplant, hematopoietic stem cell transplant, solid organ transplant and HIV-infected populations, occurring in as many as 90% of these patients. Despite significant advances in transplant and HIV anti-retroviral therapy, Candidal infections remain a major concern due to their impact on the overall quality of life of patients and associated risk for systemic spread. Dr. Villar’s laboratory investigates the mechanisms by which C. albicans escapes the classic endocytic trafficking pathway after its internalization by oral epithelial cells to survive and stimulate epithelial signaling pathways that promote host cell death. In these studies we use a human oral epithelial cell-C. albicans co-culture system to model host-pathogen interactions. The results of these studies will improve our understanding of how C. albicans survives and triggers extensive epithelial cell damage during oropharyngeal infections and will provide the basis for future studies focusing on the generation of novel drugs for the treatment of symptomatic oropharyngeal infection.
Scroll table right to view more
Ph.D., Periodontology, University of Connecticut Health Center
D.D.S., University of Campinas, Brazil
M.S. University of Campinas, Brazil