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Niki Moutsopoulos, D.D.S., Ph.D.

Niki Moutsopoulos, D.D.S., Ph.D.Tenure Track Clinical Investigator
Oral Immunity and Infection Unit

BETHESDA MD 20892-4320

Phone: (301) 435-7182

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Moutsopoulos is a clinician-scientist working in the field of immunology. She received a DDS degree from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki/Greece in 1998, completed her specialization in Periodontology at University of Maryland in 2003 and obtained a PhD in Immunology in 2007 working in the laboratory of Dr. Sharon Wahl at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. She subsequently worked as a clinical fellow at the NIH under the mentorship of Dr. Steven Holland (LCID/NIAID). Since 2010 Dr. Moutsopoulos has been an Independent Investigator and has built a unique clinical and translational program focused on basic oral immunology and susceptibility to the common human inflammatory disease periodontitis through the study of patients with monogenic immune defects.​

Research Interests/Scientific Focus

Our program is focused on oral-barrier immunity. Our studies implement a bedside-to-bench approach and aim to understand the molecular and cellular basis of oral immunity in health and in the common inflammatory disease, periodontitis. Periodontitis is a one of the most common inflammatory diseases in humans, affecting close to half of the American population and occurring in its severe forms in close to 10% of the general population. Consequences of periodontitis are destruction of supporting structures around the tooth (connective tissue and bone) and severe cases tooth loss, linked to significant impairment of quality of life and health care costs. Furthermore, periodontal inflammation/dysbiosis is associated with the presence of distal or systemic inflammatory conditions, underscoring possible common mechanisms of susceptibility and/or disease triggering. Therefore, understanding mechanisms involved in the susceptibility and pathogenesis of periodontitis is not only critical for understanding the disease itself but may provide insights into shared mechanisms involved in inflammatory diseases. In periodontitis, the microbiome is a key disease trigger, but it is also well documented that disease occurs and progresses more rapidly in susceptible individuals. Understanding the mechanisms by which microbial triggers and host elements regulate oral immunity in health and disease is the focus of our research program.  Our ongoing studies fall under three main projects: 


  • Project #1: Microbiome and local cues regulating oral/periodontal (Th17) immunity
  • Project #2: Host elements regulating oral/periodontal (Th17) immunity
  • Project #3: Therapeutic targeting of aberrant Th17 inflammatory responses 



Selected Publications


  1. Dutzan N.,  Abusleme L., Bridgeman H., Greenwell-Wild T, Fife M., Bouladoux N., Hong B-Y., Break T.J., Bowdish D.M.E., Lionakis M.S., Trinchieri G., Diaz P.I., Belkaid Y., Konkel J.E., and Moutsopoulos, N.M. 2017. Unique, tissue-specific requirements shape Th17 homeostatic responses at the oral barrier. Immunity, 46(1):133-147.
  2. Konig M.F., Abusleme L., Reinholdt J.,  Palmer R.J., Kevon A.R., Sampson P.A., Nigrovic J., Sokolove J., Giles J.T., Moutsopoulos N.M., and Adrade F. 2016. Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans-induced hypercitrullination links periodontal infection to autoimmunity in rheumatoid arthritis. Sci Transl. Med. 14;8(369):369ra176. 
  3. Abusleme L and Moutsopoulos N.M. 2016. IL-17; overview and role in oral immunity and microbiome. Oral Diseases. Oct 20. [Epub ahead of print] 
  4. Dutzan N., Konkel J.E., Wild T., Moutsopoulos N.M. 2016. Characterization of the human immune cell network at the gingival barrier. Mucosal Immunology. 9 (5):1163-72
  5. Dutzan N., Abusleme L., Konkel J.E., Moutsopoulos N.M. 2016. Isolation, characterization and functional examination of the gingival immune cell network. Journal of Visualized Experiments. Feb 16;(108). 
  6. Hajishengallis G, Moutsopoulos N.M., Hajishengallis E, Chavakis T. 2016. Immune and regulatory functions of neutrophils in inflammatory bone loss. Semin Immunol. 28(2): p. 146-58.​
  7. Moutsopoulos N.M., Lionakis M.S., Hajishengallis G. 2015. Inborn errors in Immunity; unique natural models to dissect oral immunity. J Dent Res.;94(6):753-8​.
  8. Moutsopoulos NM, Chalmers NI,  Barb J., Abusleme L, Greenwell-Wild T, Dutzan N, Paster BJ , Munson PJ, Fine DH, Uzel G, Holland SM.: 2015. Subgingival Microbial Communities in Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency and their Relationship with Local Immunopathology. PLoS Pathog.5;11(3):e1004698. 
  9. Moutsopoulos N.M., Lionakis M.S., Hajishengallis G. 2015. Inborn errors in Immunity; unique natural models to Moutsopoulos NM, Konkel J, Sarmadi M, Eskan MA, Wild T, Dutzan N, Abusleme L, Zenobia C, Hosur KB, Abe T, Uzel G, Chen W, Chavakis T, Holland SM, Hajishengallis G.: 2014. Defective neutrophil recruitment in leukocyte adhesion deficiency type I disease causes local IL-17–driven inflammatory bone loss. Sci. Transl. Med. 6, 229ra40. 
  10. Moutsopoulos NM, Kling HM, Angelov N, Jin W, Palmer RJ, Nares S, Osorio M, Wahl SM. 2012 . Porphyromonas gingivalis promotes Th17 inducing pathways in chronic periodontitis. J Autoimmun. 2012 May 3.


Clinical Studies

Oral Microbial and Immunological Characterization of Patients with Immune Dysfunction (NCT01568697)



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This page last updated: February 12, 2017