Maria Febbraio

Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Dentistry Dept


Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Dentistry Dept
(780) 492-3066
7020M Katz Group Centre For Research
11315 - 87 Ave NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H5


Area of Study / Keywords

atherosclerosis macrophage epigenetics mouse models of disease cardiovascular disease periodontal disease innate immune signaling CD36 loricrin fatty acid uptake


Dr. Maria Febbraio received her Ph.D. from Cornell University Medical College-Graduate School of Medical Sciences in New York City.  Her thesis involved the cloning and characterization of two lysosomal glycoproteins (LAMP-1 and LAMP-2) that upon activation, translocate to the platelet surface.  This was followed by post doctoral appointments at Rockefeller University and then Cornell, where her projects involved manipulation of the mouse genome to create transgenics to probe regulation of liver genes and generation of a knock-out to better understand the biology of the macrophage scavenger receptor, CD36. Research on CD36 expanded to the platelet, endothelial cell, brain, muscle and fat, as phenotypes were uncovered in the KO. Dr. Febbraio made her way through the ranks at Cornell, from Instructor to Associate Professor, in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology.  In 2004, she moved her lab to the Cleveland Clinic, Lerner Research Institute, Departments of Cell Biology and Molecular Cardiology.  In 2013, she relocated to the University of Alberta, Department of Dentistry.

Through the study of CD36, research in the lab centers around the more global themes of inflammation, innate immunity, fatty acid uptake and metabolism, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  This work is facilitated by the use of mouse models, and the continued development of tools for CD36 in vivo research on disease and maintenance of homeostasis.  Animal models also allow translational approaches to be tested. Currently, focus on CD36 in FA uptake, and the impact of tissue specific CD36 expression on metabolism, atherosclerosis and diabetes.  A major emphasis is on mechanistic insight by probing cell signaling pathways, protein-protein interactions, and changes in gene expression/regulation.

Another major focus in the lab is periodontal disease and the role of epidermal corneral envelope proteins. Using in vitro and in vivo mouse models, we are exploring the impact of a compromised barrier in disease. Finally, we are also exploring how periodontal disease increases cardiovascular risk, by altering stem cells.

Dr. Febbraio has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, mentored trainees at all levels, and is an active and engaged member of the scientific community.  She has served on numerous grant review committees, reviewed articles for many journals in her field, and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Lipid Research.  She is a member of the Canadian/International Association for Dental Research, the American Heart Association, the Canadian Society of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, and the North American Vascular Biology Organization.

Clinical Interests

Periodontal diseases

Metabolic diseasess

Cardiovascular disease


  • Role of loricrin in periodontal disease
  • Role of endothelial cell CD36 in atherosclerosis 
  • Tissue-specific role of CD36 in metabolism
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis mediated stem cell changes


Biochemistry for Dental Hygiene, DDS and graduate students

Basic cariology, fluoride action, plaque, metabolism, interaction between oral and systemic diseases

Critical evaluation of literature 

Introduction to research


DENT 635 - Seminars in Oral Health Sciences I

Seminars will focus on the major areas of research of Oral Health Sciences. Students must present one seminar on topics related to their field of research.

DENT 636 - Seminars in Oral Health Sciences II

Seminars will focus on the major areas of research of Oral Health Sciences. Students must present one seminar on topics related to their field of research. Prerequisite DENT 635 or with the permission of the Program Director.

Browse more courses taught by Maria Febbraio

Featured Publications

Glinton K.E., Ma W., Lantz C., Grigoryeva L.S., DeBerge M., Liu X., Febbraio M., Kahn M., Oliver G., Thorp E.B.

Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2022 May; 132 (9) 10.1172/JCI140685

Febbraio M., Roy C.B., Levin L.

International Dental Journal. 2022 February; 72 (1):37-51 10.1016/j.identj.2021.07.006

Rekhi, U.R., Omar, M., Alexiou, M., Delyea, C., Immaraj, L., Elahi, S., Febbraio, M

Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine. 2021 November; 8 10.3389/fcvm.2021.768481

Daquinag A.C., Gao Z., Fussell C., Immaraj L., Pasqualini R., Arap W., Akimzhanov A.M., Febbraio M., Kolonin M.G.

JCI Insight. 2021 September; 6 (17) 10.1172/jci.insight.147057

Catunda R.Q., Ho K.K.Y., Patel S., Febbraio M.

Imaging Science in Dentistry. 2021 August; 51 10.5624/isd.20210058

Rekhi U.R., Catunda R.Q., Alexiou M., Sharma M., Fong A., Febbraio M.

ARCHIVES OF ORAL BIOLOGY. 2021 June; 126 10.1016/j.archoralbio.2021.105129

Biswas S., Gao D., Altemus J.B., Rekhi U.R., Chang E., Febbraio M., Byzova T.V., Podrez E.A.

Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 2021 May; 168 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2021.03.004

Aburima A., Berger M., Spurgeon B.E.J., Webb B.A., Wraith K.S., Febbraio M., Poole A.W., Naseem K.M.

Blood. 2021 February; 137 (5):678-689 10.1182/blood.2020005382

Trites M.J., Febbraio M., Clugston R.D.

Scientific Reports. 2020 December; 10 (1) 10.1038/s41598-020-77411-5