University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Yvonne Kapila, DDS, PhD

Yvonne Kapila, DDS, PhD

Professor, Vice-Chair Division of Periodontology, Dept. of Orofacial Sciences, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Cancer Immunology

Research Summary

Yvonne Kapila's research has focused on understanding the basic extracellular matrix (ECM) processes that govern head and neck cancer tumorigenesis and periodontal disease pathogenesis. She has made important discoveries on the cell and molecular biology mechanisms that regulate anoikis; programmed cell death or apoptosis triggered by loss of extracellular matrix contacts. Her work on anoikis has focused on identifying matrix components and novel receptors that mediate this process in head and neck cancer and in periodontal disease. Thus, her research focus in cancer biology and periodontal disease pathogenesis has been examined through the lens of the extracellular matrix. Recently, Yvonne has extended her area of research to biomarker discovery for aggressive head and neck cancer using metabolomic approaches. Her related work in sirtuin biology and oral cancer were seminal and showed that sirtuin 3, a metabolic enzyme, regulates and promotes oral cancer tumorigenesis. A high impact commissioned review written by her group further showcased the important role of sirtuin 3 in cancer biology, both as a tumor promoter and tumor suppressor. Other recently funded work in her lab has focused on host-microbial interactions as relate to the oral cavity. This research recently led to a trilogy of publications on the novel role of bacteriocins in biomedical applications, including as modulators of tumorigenesis and disease-associated biofilms.


Stanford University, BA, 1986, Human Biology
University of California, San Francisco, DDS, BS, 1990, Dentistry
University of California, San Francisco, Certificate, 1994, Periodontology
University of California, San Francisco, PhD, 1997, Oral Biology
University of California, San Francisco, Postdoc, 1997-1998, Cell Biology

Professional Experience

  • 1983-1986
    Lab Assistant, Stanford University/VA Hospital (Neuropathology, Dr. Lawrence Eng)
  • 1991-1993
    Postgraduate Research, Dept of Stomatology, Division of Periodontology, UCSF Dentistry
  • 1991-1994
    Dentist in private practice in San Francisco
  • 1993-1994
    Visiting Assistant Research, Dept of Stomatology, UCSF
  • 1994-1997
    Assistant Research, Dept of Stomatology, Division of Periodontology, UCSF
  • 1997-1999
    Assistant Adjunct Professor, Dept of Stomatology, Division of Periodontology UCSF
  • 1999-2004
    Assistant Professor, Dept of Stomatology, Division of Periodontology UCSF
  • 2004-2010
    Associate Professor, Dept of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, UM Dentistry
  • 2011-2016
    Professor, Dept of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, UM
  • 2011-2015
    Director, Global Oral Health Initiatives, UM
  • 2016-present
    Professor, Vice-Chair Division of Periodontology, Dept of Orofacial Sciences, UCSF

Honors & Awards

  • 2000
    UCSF Faculty Development Award
  • 2000
    American Dental Association Health Foundation New Dentist Scientist Award
  • 2000
    UCSF Dean’s Creativity Fund Award
  • 2002
    UCSF Hellman Family Award for Early Career Faculty
  • 2002
    Oral-B/Robert W. Hutson Faculty Prize in Periodontology
  • 2013
    International College of Dentists, Inducted as Fellow
  • 2014
    IADR/GSK Innovation in Oral Care Award
  • 2015
    UM MICHR Distinguished Clinical and Translational Research Mentor Award
  • 2016
    UCSF Chancellor’s Mid-Career Faculty Award
  • 2017
    AAP Sunstar Innovation Research Award
  • 2017
    ELAM Fellow

Selected Publications

  1. Garcia J, Dodge A, Luepke P, Wang HL, Kapila Y, Lin GH. Effect of membrane exposure on guided bone regeneration: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Oral Implants Res. 2018 Mar; 29(3):328-338.
    View on PubMed
  2. Ateia IM, Sutthiboonyapan P, Kamarajan P, Jin T, Godovikova V, Kapila YL, Fenno JC. Treponema denticola increases MMP-2 expression and activation in the periodontium via reversible DNA and histone modifications. Cell Microbiol. 2018 Apr; 20(4).
    View on PubMed
  3. Reddy RM, Weir WB, Barnett S, Heiden BT, Orringer MB, Lin J, Chang AC, Carrott PW, Lynch WR, Beer DG, Fenno JC, Kapila Y. Increased Variance in Oral and Gastric Microbiome Correlates With Esophagectomy Anastomotic Leak. Ann Thorac Surg. 2018 Mar; 105(3):865-870.
    View on PubMed
  4. Lin GH, Kapila Y, Wang HL. Parameters to Define Peri-Implantitis: A Review and a Proposed Multi-Domain Scale. J Oral Implantol. 2017 Dec; 43(6):491-496.
    View on PubMed
  5. Shin JM, Luo T, Kamarajan P, Fenno JC, Rickard AH, Kapila YL. Microbial Communities Associated with Primary and Metastatic Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma - A High Fusobacterial and Low Streptococcal Signature. Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 30; 7(1):9934.
    View on PubMed
  6. Kajwadkar R, Shin JM, Lin GH, Fenno JC, Rickard AH, Kapila YL. High-purity Nisin Alone or in Combination with Sodium Hypochlorite Is Effective against Planktonic and Biofilm Populations of Enterococcus faecalis. J Endod. 2017 Jun; 43(6):989-994.
    View on PubMed
  7. Kamarajan P, Rajendiran TM, Kinchen J, Bermúdez M, Danciu T, Kapila YL. Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Metabolism Draws on Glutaminolysis, and Stemness Is Specifically Regulated by Glutaminolysis via Aldehyde Dehydrogenase. J Proteome Res. 2017 03 03; 16(3):1315-1326.
    View on PubMed
  8. Maska B, Lin GH, Othman A, Behdin S, Travan S, Benavides E, Kapila Y. Dental implants and grafting success remain high despite large variations in maxillary sinus mucosal thickening. Int J Implant Dent. 2017 Dec; 3(1):1.
    View on PubMed
  9. Shin JM, Kamarajan P, Fenno JC, Rickard AH, Kapila YL. Metabolomics of Head and Neck Cancer: A Mini-Review. Front Physiol. 2016; 7:526.
    View on PubMed
  10. Dabiri D, Fontana M, Kapila Y, Eckert G, Sokal-Gutierrez K. Community-based assessment and intervention for early childhood caries in rural El Salvador. Int Dent J. 2016 Aug; 66(4):221-8.
    View on PubMed
  11. Shin JM, Gwak JW, Kamarajan P, Fenno JC, Rickard AH, Kapila YL. Biomedical applications of nisin. J Appl Microbiol. 2016 Jun; 120(6):1449-65.
    View on PubMed
  12. Alhazzazi TY, Kamarajan P, Xu Y, Ai T, Chen L, Verdin E, Kapila YL. A Novel Sirtuin-3 Inhibitor, LC-0296, Inhibits Cell Survival and Proliferation, and Promotes Apoptosis of Head and Neck Cancer Cells. Anticancer Res. 2016 Jan; 36(1):49-60.
    View on PubMed
  13. Godovikova V, Goetting-Minesky MP, Shin JM, Kapila YL, Rickard AH, Fenno JC. A Modified Shuttle Plasmid Facilitates Expression of a Flavin Mononucleotide-Based Fluorescent Protein in Treponema denticola ATCC 35405. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2015 Sep; 81(18):6496-504.
    View on PubMed
  14. Kamarajan P, Hayami T, Matte B, Liu Y, Danciu T, Ramamoorthy A, Worden F, Kapila S, Kapila Y. Nisin ZP, a Bacteriocin and Food Preservative, Inhibits Head and Neck Cancer Tumorigenesis and Prolongs Survival. PLoS One. 2015; 10(7):e0131008.
    View on PubMed
  15. Crouch S, Farkash J, Branch A, Vasconcellos L, Veronesi G, Kapila YL. To Brazil and Back: An International Dental Student Exchange Program. J Mich Dent Assoc. 2015 Jul; 97(7):40, 42-3.
    View on PubMed
  16. Shin JM, Ateia I, Paulus JR, Liu H, Fenno JC, Rickard AH, Kapila YL. Antimicrobial nisin acts against saliva derived multi-species biofilms without cytotoxicity to human oral cells. Front Microbiol. 2015; 6:617.
    View on PubMed
  17. Joo NE, Miao D, Bermúdez M, Stallcup WB, Kapila YL. Shedding of NG2 by MMP-13 attenuates anoikis. DNA Cell Biol. 2014 Dec; 33(12):854-62.
    View on PubMed
  18. Miao D, Godovikova V, Qian X, Seshadrinathan S, Kapila YL, Fenno JC. Treponema denticola upregulates MMP-2 activation in periodontal ligament cells: interplay between epigenetics and periodontal infection. Arch Oral Biol. 2014 Oct; 59(10):1056-64.
    View on PubMed
  19. Lesch A, Pisano J, Kapila YL. The student perspective: international exchange programs. J Mich Dent Assoc. 2014 Jun; 96(6):33-4.
    View on PubMed
  20. Tsai CY, Garaicoa-Pazmino C, Mori K, Benavides E, Kaigler D, Kapila Y. Implant success remains high despite grafting voids in the maxillary sinus. Clin Oral Implants Res. 2015 Apr; 26(4):447-53.
    View on PubMed

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