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Aaron Weinberg, DMD, PhD

Aaron Weinberg, DMD, PhD

Associate Dean for Research, Professor and Chair 216.368.6729 (o)





BA, George Washington University
MA, DMD, PhD, Hebrew University, School of Medicine, Jerusalem
Post-doctoral Training, University of Texas Health Science Center

About Dr. Weinberg

Dr. Weinberg is a tenured professor in the School of Dental Medicine, chairs its Department of Biological Sciences, and is the School's Associate Dean for Research. He is secondarily appointed in the Department of Pathology and in the Proteomics and Bioinformatics Core in the School of Medicine. He teaches oral microbiology and immunology to dental students and residents. Dr. Weinberg mentors junior faculty and assists them in their research.

Research Summary

Dr. Weinberg's research focuses on innate immune responses of mucosal epithelium to bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Throughout his research career, Dr. Weinberg has combined his clinical background with cutting-edge molecular and cellular biological approaches to research oral diseases. His laboratory was instrumental in discovering host defense peptides in human oral mucosae that are both antimicrobial and immunoregulatory. Termed human beta defensins (hBDs), these epithelial cell-derived innate response elements were shown by him to have anti-HIV activity. In addition, Dr. Weinberg's laboratory is screening oral commensal bacteria that selectively induce the expression of the hBDs and other antimicrobial peptides in human epithelium to protect from microbial insult. Dr. Weinberg believes that novel AMP inducing factors could one day be used in prophylactic strategies to protect vulnerable mucosal body sites. Moreover, hBDs and/or their derivatives could potentially be sources for both novel anti-infectives and immune adjuvants. Ongoing NIH funding over the last 14 years has led to recent funding of a Program Project that he leads at CWRU investigating mucosal immune dysfunction in HIV+ individuals. Most recently, Dr. Weinberg has been collaborating with scientists in his department as well as with members of the CWRU/UH Cancer Center to investigate the involvement of specific defensins in the initiation and progression of oral cancer and other solid tumors.

Funderburg N, Lederman MML, Feng Z, Jadlowsky, J, Weinberg A, Sieg S. Human Beta-defensin 3 mediates signaling through toll-like receptors 1 and 2. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 104:18631-18635, 2007.

Jin G, Kawsar HI, Hirsch SA, Zeng C, Jia X, Feng Z, Ghosh SK, Zheng QY, Zhou A, McIntyre TM, Weinberg A. An antimicrobial peptide regulates tumor-associated macrophage trafficking via the chemokine receptor CCR2: A model for tumorigenesis. PloS ONE, 5(6): e10993, 2010.

Gupta S, Ghosh SK, Scott ME, Bainbridge B, Jiang B, Lamont RJ, McCormick TS, Weinberg A. Fusobacterium nucleatum associated beta defensin inducer (FAD-I): identification, isolation and functional evaluation. J. Biol Chem. 285:36523-36531, 2010.

Weinberg A, Jin G, Seig, S, McCormick T. The Yin and Yang of human beta-defensins in health and disease. Front Immunol. 3:294, 2012.

Ghosh S, McCormick T, Eapen B, Yohannes E, Chance MR, Weinberg A. Comparison of epigenetic profiles of human oral epithelial cells from HIV positive (on HAART) and HIV negative subjects. Epigenetics 8(7):703-709, 2013.

National Research Service Award Recipient from the NIH, 1988-1991

Second place in the post-doctoral category of the Edward H. Hatton competition at the International Association for Dental Research Meeting, Montreal, Canada, 1988

Voted into the Omicron Kappa Omicron National Honor Society (OKU) for outstanding contribution to the School of Dentistry, CWRU, February 15, 2002

Fusobacterial Associated Beta-Defensin Inducer (FADi) - R56
Role: Principal Investigator
Sponsor: NIH – NIDCR
Project Period: 09/01/2016 - 08/31/2017

HBDs: A novel early diagnostic biomarker for betel-nut associated OSCC
Role: Principal Investigator
Sponsor: Taipei Medical University/CWRU
Project Period: 01/01/2016 - 02/28/2017 

Ontogeny of oral epithelial antimicrobial peptides – R01 
Role: Principal Investigator
Sponsor: NIH – NIDCR
Project Period: 05/01/2007 – 04/30/2016

Oral mucosal immunity in vulnerable HIV infected populations – P01
Role: Principal Investigator
Sponsor: NIH – NIDCR
Project Period: 06/15/2009 – 04/30/2015

International Association for Dental Research
American Society for Microbiology
International Endotoxin Society
Anaerobe Society of the Americas
American Dental Education Association
American Association of Immunologists

Body as Host (HEWB 128)
Interdisciplinary Seminar (DENT 515)
Oral Microbiology and Immunology (DENT 516)