Brendaliz Santiago-Narvaez, PhD

Associate Professor

Dr. Santiago-Natvaez is a microbiologist whose work focuses in the area of oral microbiology. We have more than 700 bacterial species in our mouth! Out of all of them, she studies the etiological agent of human dental caries, Streptococcus mutans. S. mutans can form a thick acidic biofilm on the tooth surface, known as dental plaque. Its acid tolerance and biofilm formation are major virulence properties that enable it to colonize the oral cavity, even under fluctuating conditions (feast-famine!). This is, in part, the reason why we get cavities!

In her lab, students screen novel compounds for their ability to kill or inhibit the growth of S. mutans. You'll look at how these compounds inhibit or possibly prevent the formation of Biofilms using in- vitro assays. These antimicrobial assays help us determine the mode of action and the concentrations at which these compounds are most effective. By studying compounds that target S. mutans’ we can better develop ways to limit its growth and colonization in the oral cavity.

Other areas of interest in her research include the study of microorganisms found in unique locations like paintings and or living organisms.

Read more about Dr. Santiago-Narvaez in the American Society of Microbiology's article "Inclusive Mentoring: Spotlight on Brendaliz Santiago-Narvaez."


BS, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus
MS, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
PhD, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

Brendaliz Santiago-Narvaez portrait