Marcelo Freire, DDS, PhD, DMSc

Associate Professor

Marcelo Freire is an associate professor in the Genomic Medicine and Infectious Disease Department at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). Prior to joining JCVI, Dr. Freire was an assistant faculty member at The Forsyth Institute and Harvard University (Division of Oral Medicine, Infection and Immunity). Early in his career, he worked on tissue biology of infectious diseases, biofilm-induced bone diseases and antibody engineering. As a dual-scientist and clinician, Dr. Freire’s initial training provided insights in human physiology and unmet clinical needs. As a current president of the Clinical and Translational Science Network (IADR), Dr. Freire is focused on applications of scientific innovations to health care. His research focuses on investigating biological deficiencies in chronic diseases.

Dr. Freire has extensive experience in host response, inflammation biology, transcriptomics and antibody engineering. Inflammation is a fundamental physiological process of normal and pathological conditions. He has led studies that developed novel therapeutics in control of chronic diseases. At JCVI, Dr. Freire is working on investigating links integrating microbiome, metabolism and immune response. In particular his lab is studying mechanisms controlling innate recognition, phagocytosis and activation signals of adaptive immune responses.

Dr. Freire received a DDS from College of Dentistry, Campos, Rio de Janeiro, a PhD in Craniofacial Molecular Biology from University of Southern California, and DMedSc in Oral Medicine and Infectious Diseases from Harvard University.  

Research Priorities

Inflammation Biology
  • Basic physiology of inflammatory response, with specific interest on neutrophils and granulocytes.
  • Chronic inflammation pathology including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and periodontal diseases.
  • Activation of Phagocytosis
  • G-protein receptors regulation of inflammatory response.
  • Resolution of inflammation and tissue response.
  • Single cell heterogeneity.
Drug Discovery
  • Monoclonal antibody development.
  • Genomic and transcriptomic studies of novel biomarkers.
  • Engineering of agonist, antagonist and tethering therapeutics to host/microbial antigens.
  • Biomaterial and surface modification with biologics.
  • Phagocytosis of biomaterials.
Integration of Microbiome-Metabolism-Immune Systems
  • Host microbial interactions, including communications inducing metainflammation.
  • Evolution of immune sensing and responsiveness.
  • Transcriptional response regulation of cell plasticity.
  • Dietary perturbation of human/microbial biology.
  • Cell fate decisions in heterogeneous micro-environments.


Oral Microbial Species and Virulence Factors Associated with Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
Microbial ecology. 2021-11-01; 82.4: 1030-1046.
PMID: 33155101
Correction to: Oral Microbial Species and Virulence Factors Associated with Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
Microbial ecology. 2021-11-01; 82.4: 1047.
PMID: 33219400
Coral microbiome manipulation elicits metabolic and genetic restructuring to mitigate heat stress and evade mortality.
Science advances. 2021-08-13; 7.33:
PMID: 34389536
Transcriptomics of type 2 diabetic and healthy human neutrophils.
BMC immunology. 2021-06-16; 22.1: 37.
PMID: 34134627
Is the oral microbiome a source to enhance mucosal immunity against infectious diseases?
NPJ vaccines. 2021-06-02; 6.1: 80.
PMID: 34078913
The Oral Host-Microbial Interactome: An Ecological Chronometer of Health?
Trends in microbiology. 2021-06-01; 29.6: 551-561.
PMID: 33279381
The Human Salivary Proteome Wiki: A Community-Driven Research Platform.
Journal of dental research. 2021-05-25; 220345211014432.
PMID: 34032471
The Impact of Oral-Gut Inflammation in Cerebral Palsy.
Frontiers in immunology. 2021-02-25; 12.619262.
PMID: 33717115
Impaired host response and the presence of Acinetobacter baumannii in the serum microbiome of type-II diabetic patients.
iScience. 2021-01-22; 24.1: 101941.
PMID: 33426512
Inflammatory Networks Linking Oral Microbiome with Systemic Health and Disease.
Journal of dental research. 2020-09-01; 99.10: 1131-1139.
PMID: 32459164
Longitudinal Study of Oral Microbiome Variation in Twins.
Scientific reports. 2020-05-14; 10.1: 7954.
PMID: 32409670
Host-Microbial Interactions in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Periodontitis.
Frontiers in immunology. 2019-11-12; 10.2602.
PMID: 31781106
Self-Assembled STrap for Global Proteomics and Salivary Biomarker Discovery.
Journal of proteome research. 2019-04-05; 18.4: 1907-1915.
PMID: 30848925
ERV1 Overexpression in Myeloid Cells Protects against High Fat Diet Induced Obesity and Glucose Intolerance.
Scientific reports. 2017-10-09; 7.1: 12848.
PMID: 28993702
A bacterial-biofilm-induced oral osteolytic infection can be successfully treated by immuno-targeting an extracellular nucleoid-associated protein.
Molecular oral microbiology. 2017-02-01; 32.1: 74-88.
PMID: 26931773
Neutrophil Resolvin E1 Receptor Expression and Function in Type 2 Diabetes.
Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). 2017-01-15; 198.2: 718-728.
PMID: 27994073
Staphylococcus aureus Shifts toward Commensalism in Response to Corynebacterium Species.
Frontiers in microbiology. 2016-01-01; 7.1230.
PMID: 27582729
Impact of resolvin E1 on murine neutrophil phagocytosis in type 2 diabetes.
Infection and immunity. 2015-02-01; 83.2: 792-801.
PMID: 25486994
Antibody-mediated osseous regeneration: a novel strategy for bioengineering bone by immobilized anti-bone morphogenetic protein-2 antibodies.
Tissue engineering. Part A. 2011-12-01; 17.23-24: 2911-8.
PMID: 21870943
Development of an animal model for Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans biofilm-mediated oral osteolytic infection: a preliminary study.
Journal of periodontology. 2011-05-01; 82.5: 778-89.
PMID: 21222546

Inflammation: Friend or Foe?

JCVI Associate Professor, Marcelo Freire, DDS, PhD, DMSc, continues to lead the field as he investigates the critical role the human microbiome plays in inflammation as the pathway to chronic disease.


Coronavirus Research

Overview of various projects related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.


Saliva Proteome Database

The Human Salivary Proteome (HSP) Wiki as a public data portal for searching and retrieving custom-curated information about the proteome of human saliva.
Innovative Research Programs - Inflammation: Friend or Foe

Top scientists join forces to study leading theory behind long COVID

Several JCVI scientists will be contributing to the newly launched Long Covid Research Initiative — a collaboration of researchers, clinicians, and patients working to rapidly study and treat long Covid.

Collaborator Release

New wiki on salivary proteins may transform diagnostic testing and personalized medicine

Database curates info on inner workings of saliva, an attractive tool for noninvasive diagnostics and precision medicine

Collaborator Release

Study reveals mouth as primary source of COVID-19 infection, spread

UNC-Chapel Hill, NIH identify sites in the oral cavity where coronavirus can take hold

Workshop Alert

JCVI/AADR Fall Focused Symposium

Integrating Omic Datasets Towards Translation