Farah Bahrani-Mougeot, Ph.D.

Carolinas Medical Center - Cannon Research Center
Adjunct Associate Professor


Academic Degrees:

  • 1989 M.S. Biology/Bacteriology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • 1994 Ph.D. Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, University of Maryland, Baltimore

Professional Experience:

  • Senior Scientist and Research Group Director- Professor, Department of Oral Medicine and Microbiome Research Laboratory, Cannon Research Center, Carolinas Medical Center, Atrium Health (Charlotte, NC) 2002-present
  • Senior Scientist/ Group Leader, Prokaria, Ltd. (Reykjavik, Iceland) 2000-2002
  • NIAID/ National Research Service Award (NRSA) Fellowship in Vaccinology (Bethesda, MD) 1999-2000
  • Certificate in Epidemiology of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, WHO (Geneva, Switzerland) 1998
  • Research Fellow/ Bacterial Pathogenesis, Division of Infectious Diseases and Center for Vaccine Development, School of Medicine, University of Maryland (Baltimore, MD) 1997-2000
  • European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) Fellowship in Cellular Microbiology (Heidelberg, Germany) 1995-1996
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Pathogen-Host interaction, Pasteur Institute (Paris, France) 1995-1997
  • Research Assistant and Postdoctoral Fellow/ Molecular Medical Microbiology, Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, University of Maryland (Baltimore, MD) 1989-1995
  • Research and Teaching Assistant, University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Charlotte, NC) 1987-1989

Research Interests:

Dr. Bahrani-Mougeot’s research oral medicine research laboratory focuses on the discovery and characterization of both microbiomic and human genomic biomarkers for the understanding and diagnosis of several oral and systemic diseases/ pathological conditions including Sjögren’s syndrome, infective endocarditis, and cancer therapy associated oral complications such as oral mucositis, radiation caries and periodontal disease. The team has also initiated research projects to determine genetic risk factors associated with COVID-19 severity. The group utilizes next generation sequencing technology (targeted or genome-wide) for the analysis of microbial metagenome and human genetic polymorphisms using patient samples. We also use molecular techniques and cell culture models for the functional characterization of candidate biomarkers. In addition, we employ computational biology bioinformatics tools, including advanced text mining, to establish interactive knowledge-based databases. These databases will serve to characterize molecular interactions pertaining to disease pathophysiology and progression or interactions between the microbiome and the host. These areas of research are relevant to drug discovery or repurposing of drugs and to the development of diagnostic tools. Projects include microbiomics and genomics to understand cardiovascular disease and cancer; biomarker discovery for Sjogren's syndrome.


  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • We are investigating the conditions and mechanisms by which infective endocarditis (IE)-associated species within the microbial sub-communities in oral cavity promote bacteremia and hence increase the risk for IE. A better understanding of these mechanisms can be achieved in part by comparing patients who underwent antibiotic prophylaxis (AP) to those who did not. Ultimately, treatment strategies limiting the use of AP which may lead to the emergence of antibiotic resistance, including IE-associated species, may be developed.
  • We have also provided evidence that Porphyromonas gingivalis is the most abundant species detected in clinically healthy coronary and femoral arteries of patients with cardiovascular disease. The detection of 229 species besides P. gingivalis suggests the involvement of oral pathogens in predisposing to cardiovascular disease.
  • Oral microbiome and cancer therapy-associated oral complications
  • We have determined oral microbiome profile changes characterizing patients with hematological cancers undergoing conditioning therapy prior to hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) who developed oral mucositis following conditioning therapy. We showed that for patients who developed ulcerative oral mucositis, the average relative abundance decreased for Haemophilus parainfluenza in oral samples, a species known as mucosal surfaces protector, but increased for Escherichia-Shigella genera. Our study concluded that post-conditioning oral mucositis might contribute to long-term oral microbiome changes, mainly affecting Gammaproteobacteria, in HSCT patients.
  • In another study, we investigated caries-associated oral microbiome profiles in head and neck cancer irradiation patients. In patients who developed caries post-RT, the average relative abundance of Prevotella melaninogenica was elevated, compared to those who did not. Prevotella melaninogenica is a bacterial species often associated with severe caries in young children which develop on smooth dental surfaces normally refractory to caries, similar to radiation caries. The average relative abundance of the health-associated species, Abiotrophia defective, decreased in the group who did not develop caries, while levels of Streptococcus mutans were similar to those of patients who developed caries. Overall, the oral microbiome underwent significant changes in radiation treated HNC patients, whether they developed caries or not. Thus, patients who develop caries might be more susceptible to certain species associated with oral disease or have fewer potentially protective oral species.


  • Genetic risk factors in cancer-therapy associated oral complications
  • Oral complications frequently occur in head and neck cancer patients treated with radiation therapy (RT). For example, we have identified SNPs in collagen gene sets explaining periodontal disease progression following RT in patients with head and neck cancer, using exome sequencing. Patients with pre-RT periodontal disease who exhibited post-RT periodontal disease progression were characterized by SNPs predicted to exert a detrimental effect, within a collagen interaction/regulation network. Instead, patients with pre-RT periodontal disease who showed no progression post-RT were mainly characterized by SNPs in collagen interaction/regulation network predicted to be beneficial.

Biomarker discovery and functional characterization

  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • By combining text mining and molecular pathway analysis tools, we have established a knowledge-based gene expression database for Sjögren’s syndrome and related rheumatic diseases and identified LEF-1 and ETS-1 as novel significant pathogenesis biomarkers. We confirmed the overexpression of LEF-1 and ETS-1 in labial salivary gland (LSGs) biopsies by qRT-PCR, Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry. In addition, we have demonstrated telomere instability in labial salivary glands and saliva DNA of Sjögren’s syndrome patients, possibly involving a mechanism mediated by LEF-1, the expression of which was highly correlated with that of the telomere maintenance gene ATM.



  • 1.     Mougeot J-LC, Beckman MF, Almon KG, Morton DS, von Bültzingslöwen I, Brennan MT, Mougeot FB. Lasting Gammaproteobacteria profile changes characterize hematological cancer patients who developed oral mucositis following conditioning therapy. Journal of Oral Microbiology 2020; May 13;12(1):1761135.
  • 2.     Mougeot JC, Stevens CB, Almon KG, Paster BJ, Lalla RV, Brennan MT, Mougeot FB.
  • Caries-associated oral microbiome in head and neck cancer radiation patients: a longitudinal study. Journal of Oral Microbiology 2019; Mar 8;11(1):1586421
  • 3.     Mougeot JC, Stevens CB, Morton DS, Brennan MT, Mougeot FB. Oral Microbiome and Cancer Therapy-Induced Oral Mucositis. Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs 2019; Aug 1;2019(53).
  • Mougeot JL, Stevens CB, Paster BJ, Brennan MT, Lockhart, PB, Mougeot FB. Porphyromonas gingivalis is the most abundant species detected in coronary and femoral arteries. Journal of Oral Microbiology 2017; 9(1):1281562.
  • Mougeot JL, Stevens CB, Cotton SL, Morton DS, Krishnan K, Brennan MT, Lockhart PB, Paster BJ, Mougeot FB. Concordance of HOMIM and HOMINGS technologies in the microbiome analysis of clinical samples. Journal of Oral Microbiology 2016; Apr 8;8:30379.
  • Mougeot FK, Saunders SE, Brennan MT, Lockhart PB.  Associations between bacteremia from oral sources and distant-site infections: tooth brushing versus single tooth extraction. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, and Oral Radiology 2015; Apr;119(4):430-5.
  • Lockhart PB, Mougeot FB, Saunders SE, Brennan MT. Response to letter by Friedlander et al. regarding “The effectiveness of antibiotic prophylaxis in preventing infective endocarditis is not easily dismissed”. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, and Oral Radiology 2015; Nov;120(5):661-2.
  • Hanna EM, Hamp TJ, McKillop IH, Bahrani-Mougeot F, Martinie JB, Horton JM, Sindram D, Gharaibeh RZ, Fodor AA, Iannitti DA.  Comparison of culture and molecular techniques for microbial community characterization in infected necrotizing pancreatitis. Journal of Surgical Research 2014; Oct;191(2):362-9.
  • Napeñas JJ, Brennan MT, Coleman S, Kent ML, Noll J, Frenette G, Nussbaum ML, Mougeot JL, Paster BJ, Lockhart PB, Bahrani-Mougeot FK. Molecular methodology to assess the impact of cancer chemotherapy on the oral bacterial flora: a pilot study. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, and Oral Radiology 2010; 10 (4): 554-60.
  • Lockhart PB, Brennan MT, Sasser HC, Fox PC, Paster BJ, Bahrani-Mougeot FK. Response to letter by Kaplan regarding ”Bacteremia associated with tooth brushing and dental extraction”. Circulation 2009; 119 (2): e14.

  • Bahrani-Mougeot FK, Scobey, MW, Sansonetti, PJ. Enteropathogenic infections. In Encyclopedia of Microbiology (Schaechter M ed). Academic Press. Oxford 2009

  • Lockhart PB, Brennan MT, Thornhill M, Michalowicz B, Noll J, Bahrani-Mougeot FK, Sasser HC. Poor oral hygiene as a risk factor for infective endocarditis-related bacteremia. Journal of the American Dental Association 2009; 140: 1238-1244.

  • Bahrani-Mougeot FK, Paster BJ, Coleman S, Ashar J, Knost, S, Sautter RL, Lockhart PB. Identification of oral bacteria in blood cultures by conventional versus molecular methods. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, and Oral Radiology and Endodontology 2008; 105 (6): 720-724.

  • Lockhart PB, Brennan MT, Sasser HC, Fox PC, Paster BJ, Bahrani-Mougeot FK. Bacteremia associated with tooth brushing and dental extraction. Circulation 2008; 117:3118-3125.

  • Bahrani-Mougeot FK, Thornhill M, Sasser H, Marriott I, Brennan MT, Papagerakis S, Coleman S, Fox PC, Lockhart PB. Systemic host immuno-inflammatory response to dental extractions and periodontitis. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, and Oral Radiology and Endodontology 2008; 106(4):534-41.

  • Napeñas, JJ, Brennan MT, Bahrani-Mougeot FK, Fox PC, Lockhart PB. Relationship Between Mucositis and Changes in Oral Microflora during Cancer Chemotherapy. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, and Oral Radiology and Endodontology 2007; 103(1):48-59

  • Bahrani-Mougeot FK, Paster BJ, Coleman S, Barbuto S, Brennan MT, Noll J, Kennedy T, Fox PC, Lockhart PB. Molecular analysis of oral and respiratory bacterial species associated with ventilator-associated pneumonia. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2007; 45(5): 1588-1593.

  • Hobel CFV, Hreggvidsson GO, Marteinsson VT, Bahrani-Mougeot F, Einarsson JM, Kristjansson JK. Cloning, expression and characterization of a highly thermostable family 18 chitinase from Rhodothermus marinus. Extremophiles 2005; Feb;9(1):53-64.

  • Brennan M, Bahrani-Mougeot F, Fox PC, Kennedy TP, Hopkins S, Boucher R, Lockhart PB. The role of oral microbial colonization in Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, and Oral Radiology and Endodontology 2004; Dec;98(6):665-72.

  • Birgisson H, Fridjonsson O, Bahrani-Mougeot FK, Hreggvidsson GO, Kristjansson JK, Mattiasson BO. 2004. A new thermostable a-L-arabinofuranosidase from a novel thermophilic bacterium. Biotechnology letters 2004; 26:1347-1341.

  • Buckles EL, Bahrani-Mougeot FK, Molina A, Lockatell CV, Johnson DE, Drachenberg CB, V. Burland V, Blattner FR, Donnenberg MS. Identification and characterization of a novel uropathogenic Escherichia coli-associated fimbrial gene cluster. Infection and Immunity 2004; 72 (7): 3890-3901.

  • Bahrani-Mougeot FK, Gunther IV NW, Donnenberg MS, Mobley HLT. Uropathogenic E. coli. In Escherichia coli: virulence mechanisms of a versatile pathogen. (Donnenberg MS, ed.) Academic press. USA 2002.

  • Bahrani-Mougeot FK, Buckles EL, Lockatell CV, Hebel JR, Johnson DE, Tang CM, Donnenberg MS. Type 1 fimbriae and extracellular polysaccharides are preeminent uropathogenic Escherichia coli virulence determinants in the murine urinary tract. Molecular Microbiology 2002; 45(4), 1079-1093.

  • Bahrani-Mougeot FK, Donnenberg MS. Enteropathogenic bacteria. In Encyclopedia of Microbiology (Lederberg J, ed.) Academic Press. San Diego 2002.


  • Talevi V, Wen J, LalIa RV, Brennan MT, Bahrani Mougeot F, Mougeot JC. Identification of SNPs associated with periodontal disease in head and neck cancer irradiation patients by exome sequencing. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, and Oral Radiology 2020; Jul;130(1):32-42.e4.

  • Mougeot JC, Noll B, Bahrani-Mougeot FK. Sjögren's Syndrome X-chromosome dose effect: an epigenetic perspective. Oral Diseases 2019; Mar;25(2):372-384.

  • Mougeot JL, Bahrani-Mougeot FK, Padilla RJ, Brennan MT, Lockhart PB. Use of archived biopsy specimens to study gene expression in oral mucosa from chemotherapy-treated cancer patients. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, and Oral Radiology 2013; May;115(5):630-7.
  • Mougeot JL, Bahrani-Mougeot F, Lockhart PB, Brennan MT. Microarray analyses of oral punch-biopsies from AML patients suggest immune deregulation and DNA damage as a likely prerequisite for chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, and Oral Radiology 2011; 112(4):446-52.
  • Napeñas JJ, Brennan MT, Coleman S, Kent, ML, Noll, J, Frenette G, Fox PC, Mougeot, J-L, Paster BJ, Lockhart PB, Bahrani-Mougeot FK. Molecular methodology to assess the impact of cancer chemotherapy on the oral bacterial flora: A pilot study. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, and Oral Radiology and Endodontology 2010; 109: 554-560.

Biomarker discovery and functional characterization

  • Noll B, Bahrani Mougeot F, Brennan MT, Mougeot JC. Telomere erosion in Sjögren's Syndrome: A multi-tissue comparative analysis. Journal of Oral Pathology & Medicine 2019; Jan;49(1):63-71.
  • Shah NR, Noll B, Padilla RJ, Brennan MT, Mougeot FKB, Mougeot JL. Expression of ETS1 and LEF1 in salivary glands of Sjögren’s Syndrome patients. Oral Diseases 2019; Jan;25(1):164-173.
  • Kirk J, Shah N, Noll B, Stevens CB, Lawler M, Mougeot FB, Mougeot JC. Text mining-based in silico drug discovery in oral mucositis caused by high-dose cancer therapy. Supportive Care in Cancer 2018; Aug;26(8):2695-2705.
  • Shah NR, Noll BD, Stevens CB, Brennan MT, Mougeot FB, Mougeot JL. Biosemantics guided gene expression profiling of Sjögren’s Syndrome: A comparative analysis with systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Research and Therapy 2017; 19(1):192.
  • Mougeot JL, Hirsch MA, Stevens CB, Mougeot FB. Oral biomarkers in exercise-induced neuroplasticity in Parkinson’s disease. Oral Diseases 2016; Nov;22(8):745-753.