Research Summary

Dr. Alessandro Villa is the Chief of Oral Medicine, Oral Oncology and Dentistry at Miami Cancer Institute. He was previously chief of oral medicine at UCSF and program director for the oral medicine residency. Dr. Villa is board certified in Oral Medicine. After graduating with a DDS from the University of Milano, Italy, he obtained his Master of Public Health from AT Still University, MO and earned a PhD from the University of Sassari, Italy. He also served as a post-doctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute, NIH where he studied the oral HPV prevalence in a large population and methods of early detection of oral cancer. Dr. Villa earned his Certificate in Oral Medicine from Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Brigham and Women's Hospital and served as the Program Director for the Oral Medicine Program there before coming to UCSF.

Dr. Villa's research interests are focused primarily on the management of oral potentially malignant disorders and oral complications from cancer treatment. In addition, he is working to reduce the burden of HPV associated oropharyngeal cancers through educational campaigns. Dr. Villa has contributed to the oral medicine literature with numerous journal articles and book chapters and is a peer reviewer for several professional journals. His clinical interests include treatment of oral mucosal diseases, salivary gland disorders and oral complications from cancer therapy. Dr. Villa teaches in the clinic as well as in the classroom.


University of Milano, Italy, DDS, 2008, Dentistry
National Cancer Institute NIH, Bethesda MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2010, Epidemiology
AT Still University, School of Health Management, Kirksville MO, MPH, 2011, Public Health
University of Sassari, Italy, PhD, 2013, Public Health and Epidemiology
Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston MA, Research Fellow, 2013, Oral Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston MA, Resident, 2013, Oral Medicine

Honors & Awards

  • 2011
    Certificate of Excellence in Oral Medicine, American Academy of Oral Medicine
  • 2012
    Case Report Award, American Academy of Oral Medicine
  • 2013
    Best Poster Case Report/Series Award, Italian Society of Oral Medicine and Pathology
  • 2017
    Certificate of Merit, Massachusetts Dental Society
  • 2018
    Certificate of Appreciation, K.M. Shah Dental College, Sumandeep Vidyapeeth Deemed Univeristy, Vadodara, India
  • 2019
    Certificate of Appreciation, Ministry of Defense, Medical Services Prince Abdulrahman Advance Dental Institute Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • 2019
    Certificate of Merit Award, American Academy of Oral Medicine
  • 2019
    Certificate of Appreciation, Harvard School of Dental Medicine
  • 2019
    Certificate of Appreciation, Indian Health Services

Selected Publications

  1. Emperumal CP, Weller B, Okane S, Joseph R, Kharbanda S, Ling Z, Villa A. Oral complications in a paediatric graft versus host disease (GVHD) clinic: a retrospective study. Oral Dis. 2023 Feb 14.  View on PubMed
  2. Warren BR, Gillette-Walch H, Adler J, Arias R, Klausner JD, Ashing KT, Villa A. Assessment of human papillomavirus vaccination rates of adolescents in California, 2018-2019. Prev Med Rep. 2023 Apr; 32:102144.  View on PubMed
  3. Sandhu S, Alsafwani Z, Sankar V, Handa S, Villa A. Burnout in oral medicine and orofacial pain residents. J Am Dent Assoc. 2023 Jan 21.  View on PubMed
  4. Sonis S, Saunders D, Villa A. Quantifying Costs Associated With Survival Among Patients With Head and Neck Cancer. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2023 Jan 19.  View on PubMed
  5. Alsafwani Z, Aljishi M, Shiboski C, Jordan R, Villa A. Oral manifestations of delusional infestation: a case series. BMC Oral Health. 2022 12 29; 22(1):652.  View on PubMed
  6. Casey SM, Paiva T, Perkins RB, Villa A, Murray EJ. Could oral health care professionals help increase human papillomavirus vaccination rates by engaging patients in discussions? J Am Dent Assoc. 2023 01; 154(1):10-23.e17.  View on PubMed
  7. Thanasuwat B, Leung SOA, Welch K, Duffey-Lind E, Pena N, Feldman S, Villa A. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Education and Knowledge Among Medical and Dental Trainees. J Cancer Educ. 2022 Aug 25.  View on PubMed
  8. Klein BA, Shazib MA, Villa A, de Abreu Alves F, Vacharotayangul P, Sonis S, Fedele S, Treister NS. Immune checkpoint inhibitors in cancer therapy: Review of orofacial adverse events and role of the oral healthcare provider. Front Oral Health. 2022; 3:968157.  View on PubMed
  9. Pham D, Shukla A, Welch K, Villa A. Assessing knowledge of human papillomavirus among men who have sex with men (MSM) using targeted dating applications. Vaccine. 2022 08 26; 40(36):5376-5383.  View on PubMed
  10. Vistoso Monreal A, Polonsky G, Shiboski C, Sankar V, Villa A. Salivary Gland Dysfunction Secondary to Cancer Treatment. Front Oral Health. 2022; 3:907778.  View on PubMed
  11. Shukla A, Welch K, Villa A. Assessment of the willingness of dentists in the state of Indiana to administer vaccines. PLoS One. 2022; 17(4):e0267167.  View on PubMed
  12. Alsafwani Z, Shiboski C, Villa A. The role of telemedicine for symptoms management in oral medicine: a retrospective observational study. BMC Oral Health. 2022 03 27; 22(1):92.  View on PubMed
  13. Shukla A, Chintapalli A, Ahmed MKAB, Welch K, Villa A. Assessing the Effectiveness of Web-Based Modules on Human Papillomavirus Among Dental and Dental Hygiene Students. J Cancer Educ. 2022 Mar 17.  View on PubMed
  14. Chirravur P, Sroussi H, Villa A. Caphosol tolerability in oral mucositis patients induced by bone marrow transplantation. Oral Dis. 2022 Feb 23.  View on PubMed
  15. Choi SE, Choudhary A, Huang J, Sonis S, Giuliano AR, Villa A. Increasing HPV vaccination coverage to prevent oropharyngeal cancer: A cost-effectiveness analysis. Tumour Virus Res. 2022 06; 13:200234.  View on PubMed
  16. Warren BR, Grandis JR, Johnson DE, Villa A. Head and Neck Cancer among American Indian and Alaska Native Populations in California, 2009-2018. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Oct 16; 13(20).  View on PubMed
  17. Sandhu S, Sankar V, Sroussi HY, Villa A. Effect of COVID-19 on training and mental health of oral medicine residents in North America. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2022 01; 133(1):34-41.  View on PubMed
  18. Klein BA, Alves FA, de Santana Rodrigues Velho J, Vacharotayangul P, Hanna GJ, LeBoeuf NR, Shazib MA, Villa A, Woo SB, Sroussi H, Sonis S, Treister NS. Oral manifestations of immune-related adverse events in cancer patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors. Oral Dis. 2022 Jan; 28(1):9-22.  View on PubMed
  19. Wilson Westmark NL, Sroussi H, Tamayo I, Villa A. Vitamin D status in patients with oropharyngeal cancer: Association with HPV status and prognosis. Oral Dis. 2023 Mar; 29(2):542-546.  View on PubMed
  20. Sonis S, Villa A, Epstein J. Exceptional toxicity resistance. Support Care Cancer. 2021 May; 29(5):2263-2264.  View on PubMed

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