Skip to main content

Weller Lab

Oral Infectious Disease Research

The Weller Lab studies the oral microbiome, including viruses and bacteria, that contribute to oral and systemic disease. 

Dr. Weller's Publications


Melodie L. Weller, PhD directs a research team working to define the oral microbiome associated with oral disease, including viral and bacterial profiles. The aim is to understand how pathogens within salivary gland tissue can trigger the development of systemic disease and impact long-term immunity. Through this research, a unique Hepatitis Delta Virus (HDV) profile was discovered in patients with Sjogren's Syndrome, including viral sequence and antigens. Subsequent in vivo studies demonstrated the ability of HDV antigens to trigger a complete disease phenotype in vivo. Dr. Weller's research focuses on identifying the underlying mechanisms of HDV-mediated oral disease, how patients are being exposed to this unique pathogen, and the development of targeted therapies for HDV-mediated Sjogren's Syndrome. 

Transitioning the knowledge of RNA viruses in oral health to other systemic diseases, Dr. Weller's research team is also evaluating mechanisms of oral disease post-COVID-19 infection. Approximately 30 percent of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC). PASC is also known as Long COVID-19 (or Long Haulers). Relative to oral disease post-COVID-19 infection, PASC patients report xerostomia, receding or bleeding gums, and oral or jaw pain, among other symptoms. The underlying cause(s) of PASC are currently undefined, and no curative therapies are available. 

Dr. Weller's research team and clinical colleagues are working to further clarify PASC Oral Disease (PASC-OD) through the initiation of laboratory and clinical studies in the University of Utah School of Dentistry. 

Melodie Weller

Melodie Weller, PhD

Assistant Professor


    "HDV Reflex Testing and Linkage to Care in the Utah Population"

    2023 - 2024

    "Role of Salivary Gland Localized SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Oral Tolerance & Immunization Efficacy"

    2021 - 2024