Dr. Yvonne Hernandez-Kapila

Yvonne  Hernandez-Kapila D.D.S., Ph.D., F.A.C.D., F.I.C.D., E.L.A.M. Fellow

Associate Dean, Research
Felix and Mildred Yip Endowed Chair
(310) 206-3282
73-030 CHS | Lab Location: 73-078

UCLA School of Dentistry
10833 Le Conte Ave.
Box 951668
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1668

  • Full-Time Faculty
Academic Sections
  • Biosystems and Function
  • Periodontics

Dr. Yvonne L. Hernandez Kapila is a Professor of Dentistry in the Sections of Biosystems and Function and Periodontics, and the Felix and Mildred Yip Endowed Chair. She is also an Associate Dean of Research. 

Dr. Hernandez-Kapila received her DDS, Periodontology Residency training, PhD in Oral Biology, and Postdoctoral Fellowship from UCSF. Dr. Hernandez-Kapila is a clinician scientist, and academic and research leader with over 25 years of research, teaching/mentoring, clinical, and administrative experience. She started her academic career at UCSF and after seventeen years as a member of the UCSF community, she was recruited to the University of Michigan School of Dentistry where she rose through the academic ranks to Full Professor and became the inaugural Director of Global Health Initiatives at the School. UCSF recruited Dr. Hernandez-Kapila back in 2016 and she became the Chair of Periodontology and R. Earl Robinson Distinguished Professor of Periodontology. In 2022, she was recruited to the UCLA School of Dentistry where she has a significant focus on research and clinical teaching, patient care, and service in Periodontics.

Representative Publications
  • Gao L, Kang M, Zhang MJ, Reza Sailani M, Kuraji R, Martinez A, Ye C, Kamarajan P, Le C, Zhan L, Rangé H, Ho SP, Kapila YL. 2020. Polymicrobial periodontal disease triggers a wide radius of effect and unique virome. NPJ Biofilms Microbiomes 6(1):10. PMID: 32157085. PMCID: PMC7064479.
  • Radaic A, Joo NE, Jeong SH, Yoo SI, Kotov N, Kapila YL. Phosphatidylserine-Gold Nanoparticles (PS-AuNP) Induce Prostate and Breast Cancer Cell Apoptosis. Pharmaceutics. 2021 Jul 17;13(7):1094. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics13071094. PMID: 34371784; PMCID: PMC8309069.
  • Ganther S, Radaic A, Malone E, Kamarajan P, Chang NN, Tafolla C, Zhan L, Fenno JC, Kapila YL. Treponema denticola dentilisin triggered TLR2/MyD88 activation upregulates a tissue destructive program involving MMPs via Sp1 in human oral cells. PLoS Pathog. 2021 Jul 13;17(7):e1009311. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1009311. PMID: 34255809; PMCID: PMC8301614.
  • Kamarajan P, Ateia I, Shin JM, Fenno JC, Le C, Zhan L, Chang A, Darveau R, Kapila YL. Periodontal pathogens promote cancer aggressivity via TLR/MyD88 triggered activation of Integrin/FAK signaling that is therapeutically reversible by a probiotic bacteriocin. PLoS Pathog. 2020 Oct 1;16(10):e1008881. PMCID: PMC7529280.
  • Alhazzazi TY, Kamarajan P, Joo N, Huang JY, Verdin E, D'Silva NJ, Kapila YL. Sirtuin-3 (SIRT3), a novel potential therapeutic target for oral cancer. Cancer. 2011 Apr 15;117(8):1670-8. doi: 10.1002/cncr.25676. Epub 2010 Nov 29. PMID: 21472714; PMCID: PMC3117020.
Additional Information

During her years at Michigan and at UCSF, Dr. Hernandez-Kapila has worn many hats, including running her NIH funded research laboratory, teaching in the graduate and undergraduate Periodontology programs, providing patient care at the local community clinic or faculty practice, directing and overseeing PhD coursework and seminars, and serving on many local and national committees, including the school’s executive committee, campus wide global health committees, UC-Wide Cancer Coordinating Committee, UCSF RAP committee, several admissions committees, service at NIH and NCI as a grant reviewer and council member, and service on committees of the American Academy of Periodontology.

Over the course of her career, Dr. Kapila has mentored over 100 PhD, DDS, DDS/PhD, MD, Masters, and undergraduate students in either dissertation work, lab rotations, summer research projects, NIH fellowships, and global research projects. She has also mentored junior and visiting faculty on grant submissions, career development, and research projects. As a teacher and mentor, she has helped shaped the lives of many graduate students that have gone on to become faculty at academic institutions around the world.

Educational & Professional Background
  • BA, Stanford University, 1986
  • DDS and BS, UCSF, 1990
  • Periodontology Residency, UCSF, 1994
  • PhD, Oral Biology, UCSF, 1997
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship with Dr. Zena Werb, 1998; UCSF
Research & Interests

Dr. Hernandez-Kapila has made seminal discoveries centered around the cell and molecular biology mechanisms that govern periodontal disease pathogenesis and oral cancer carcinogenesis using in vitro and in vivo models, and human clinical studies. She has led basic and clinical research teams for over 25 years in studies related to Periodontal Disease, Oral Cancer, Caries assessment, Fluorosis assessment, and Oral Health and Pain research in the US and in Kenya.  She has been continuously funded by NIH for over 25 years via K and R mechanisms, as part of program projects, through foundation grants, and through industry sponsored innovation awards. She has also helped many trainees secure various fellowships and funding awards for their training and research.

Professional Memberships
  • Diplomate, American Board of Periodontology
  • Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Fellow
  • International College of Dentists Fellow
  • American College of Dentists Fellow
  • American Academy of Periodontology
  • California Society of Periodontology
  • American Association For The Advancement of Science
  • American Association For Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research
  • International Association of Dental Research
  • American Dental Association
  • California Dental Association
  • UM MICHR Distinguished Clinical and Translational Research Mentor Award, 2015
  • UCSF Chancellors Award for Mid-Career Faculty, 2016
  • American Academy of Periodontology Sunstar Innovation Award, 2017
  • Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Fellowship, 2017
  • American Association for Dental Research (AADR) Irwin D. Mandel Distinguished Mentoring Award, 2019
  • American Academy of Periodontology Distinguished Scientist Award, 2019
  • UCSF Annual Research and Clinical Excellence Day Research Lecture, 2019
  • American College of Dentists, Inducted as Fellow, 2019
  • UCSF Alumni Discovery Award, 2021
  • UCSF Alumni Medal of Honor Award, 2022