School of Dental Medicine

Faculty and Staff

Isabel C. Gay, DDS, MS

Division Director Periodontology
Clinical Associate Professor

Faculty Practice 252-737-7122
Office 252-737-7152
Ledyard E. Ross Hall

Clinical Interests
Dr. Isabel Gay’s clinical interests include oral heath disparities groups with special emphasis in type 2 diabetes mellitus improvements in Hispanic populations by the implementation of non-surgical periodontal therapy. Other clinical interests include tissue regeneration by using stem cell therapies and bimolecular signaling in stem cell differentiation. 

Board Certifications
Diplomate of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP); Fellow, Tissue Engineering and Genetic Diseases at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Advanced Cardiac life Support and Basic Life Support (American Heart Association)

Periodontics – Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
Masters in Dentistry – Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
Periodontics - University of Alabama at Birmingham
MS – University of Alabama at Birmingham

Society Memberships
American Association for Dental Research (AADR)
American Association for Dental Research, Houston Chapter
    •Secretary/Treasurer, 2010 - 2012
Greater Houston Society of Periodontics,
    •Secretary Treasurer, 2010 – 2012
    •President, 2012 - 2015
American Academy of Periodontology (AAP)
American Academy of Osseointegration
American Dental Education Association

May 2013  AAP Award for Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring in Periodontics
May 2010  AADR William B. Clark Fellowship in Clinical Research Award
June 2008  2nd Place, Billy M. Pennel Research Competition, Southern Academy of Periodontology Annual Meeting, Sarasota, FL
May 2007  Finalist, Volpe Prize Competition, The Ohio State University, Division of Periodontology
May 2006  2nd Place, Postdoctoral Basic Science Research Presentation, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry
March 2006  AADR Hatton Finalist, American Association for Dental Research
April 2005  First Place, Postdoctoral Basic Science Research Presentation, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry
Sept 2005  The Tarrson Regeneration Award, The American Academy of Periodontics
May 2005  American Association of Implant Dentistry Research Foundation (AAIDRF) Grant for Research
March 2005  First Place, Postdoctoral Poster Presentation, Dental School Science Symposium, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
March, 2004 Block Travel Award for Scientific Merit, American Association for Dental Research (AADR), Hawaii 1997  Gabino Barreda Medal, Consejo Universitario de la Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. Excellence awarded to valedictorian, UNAM, Postgraduate Studies and Investigation Division
1993  Best Oral Presentation, VI National Congress of Dentistry Postgraduate Alumni, UNAM
1980  High honors recognition, UNAM, Dentistry Faculty

Biographical Information
Dr. Gay serves as the division director of periodontics in the Department of Surgical Sciences at the ECU School of Dental Medicine. She earned her DDS in Mexico City followed by a periodontics certificate and a master’s in dentistry.

After several years in private practice and compelled to learn research activities, she moved to the US in 1999 to work at the laboratory of Dr. Barbara Boyan and later at the laboratory of Dr. Mary MacDougall.

In the pursuit of clinical research, she obtained a periodontics specialty certificate and a master’s of science degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Dr. Gay previously served as an associate professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Dentistry, (UTHSOD) Department of Periodontics, where she taught periodontics residents and undergraduate students on the treatment of periodontal disease. She has mentored several students on their research activities towards the acquisition of their MS degree at UTHSOD.

Since her arrival in the US, Dr Gay has shown strong commitment to academia and research, which is evident by her awards and research funding.


  1. Duong T. Tran,  Isabel Gay, Xianglin L. Du, Yunxin Fu, Richard D. Bebermeyer, Ana S. Neumann, Charles Streckfus, Wenyaw Chan,  Muhammad F. Walji.  Assessment of partial-mouth periodontal examination protocols for periodontitis surveillance. Journal of Clinical Periodontology 2014 Sept;41(9):846-52. DOI: 10.1111/jcpe.12285.
  2. Isabel C. Gay,  Duong T. Tran, Adriana C. Cavender, Robin Weltman, Jennifer Chang Estelle Luckenbach, Gena D. Tribble The effect of periodontal therapy on glycaemic control in a Hispanic population with type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Periodontology 2014; 41 (7):673-80 DOI: 10.1111/jcpe.12268
  3. Jennifer E. Kerr, Jared R. Abramian, Doan-Hieu V. Dao, Todd W. Rigney, Jamie Fritz,Tan Pham, Isabel Gay, Kavitha Parthsarathy, Bing-yan Wang, Wenjian Zhang, Gena D. Tribble. Genetic Exchange of Fimbrial Alleles Exemplifies the Adaptive Virulence Strategy of Porphyromonas gingivalis. PLOS ONE 2014, Accepted [PONE-D-13-02096R2].
  4. Alkan Ozera, Guohua Yuan, Guobin Yang, Feng Wang, Wentong Li, Yuan Yang, Feng, Qingping Gao, Lisa Shoffa, Zhi Chen, Isabel C Gay, Kevin J Donly, Mary MacDougall, Shuo Chen. Domain of dentine sialoprotein mediates proliferation and differentiation of human periodontal ligament stem cells. PLOS ONE 2013, PONE-D-13-21064R3.
  5. Duong T Tran, Isabel Gay, Xianglin L Du, Yunxin Fu, Richard D Bebermeyer, Ana  S Neumann,  Charles Streckfus, Wenyaw Chan, Muhammad F Walji Assessing Periodontitis in Populations: A Systematic Review of the Validity of Partial Mouth Examination Protocols. Journal of Clinical Periodontology ID CPE- 2013 Dec;40(12):1064-71. doi: 10.1111/jcpe.12165. Oct 8.PMID:24192071
  6. Yue JJK, Cavender A and Gay I.  Alveolar Bone Stem Cells: An Isolation, Characterization, and Differentiation Approach.  FORUM for Dental Student Research and Innovation. 1(2): 20-28, 2013.
  7. Gay I, Cavender A, Peto D, Sun Z, Speer A, Cao H, and Amendt BA.  Differentiation of Human Dental Stem Cells Reveal a Role for microRNA-218.  J Periodontal Res., 2013,  doi:10.0000/jre.12086.
  8. Isabel GC, Kavitha P, Gena T.   Oral Probiotics- Over the Counter Periodontal Therapy, Myth or Reality? Dentistry 2:e104. 2012. doi:10.4172/2161- 1122.1000e104
  9. Chen S, Gluhak-Heirich J, Wang Y, Wu Y, Chuang HH, Chen L, Yuan G, Dong J, Gay I, and MacDougall M.  Runx2, Osx and Dspp in Tooth Development.  J Dent Res. 88(10):904 – 909, 2009.  PMID: 19783797
  10. Chen S, Gluhak-Heinrich J, Martinez M, Li T, Wu Y, Chuang HH, Chen L, Dong J, Gay I, and MacDougall M. Bone Morphogenetic Protein 2 Mediates Dentin Sialophosphoprotein Expression and Odontoblast Differentiation via NF-Y Signaling.  J Biol Chem. 283(28): 19359-19370, 2008.  PMID: 18424784
  11. Gay IC, Chen S, MacDougall M.  Isolation and characterization of multipotent human periodontal ligament stem cells. Orthod Craniofac Res. 10(3):149-160, 2007.  PMID: 17651131
  12. 12. Chen S, Santos L, Wu Y, Vuong R, Gay I, Schulze J, Chuang HH, and  MacDougall M.  Altered Gene Expression in Human Cleidocranial Dysplasia Dental Pulp Cells.  Arch Oral Biol. 50(2):227-236, 2005.  PMID: 15721154
  13. 13. Schwartz Z, Graham EJ, Wang L, Lossdörfer S, Gay I, Johnson-Pais TL, Carnes DL, Sylvia VL, and Boyan BD.  Phospholipase A2 Activating Protein (PLAA) is Required for 1?,25(OH)2D3 Signaling in Growth Plate Chondrocytes.  J Cell Physiol. 203(1):54-70, 2005.  PMID: 15368540
  14. 14. Gay I, Schwartz Z, Sylvia VL, and Boyan BD.  Lysophospholipid regulates release and activation of latent TGF-?1 from chondrocyte extracellular matrix. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1684(1-3):18-28, 2004.  PMID: 15450206
  15. 15. Sylvia VL, Gay I, Hardin R, Dean DD, Boyan BD; Schwartz Z:  Rat costochondral chondrocytes produce 17?-estradiol and regulate its production by 1?,25(OH)2D3.  Bone. 30(1):57-63, 2002.  PMID: 11792565
  16. 16. Maeda S, Dean DD, Gay I, Schwartz Z, and Boyan BD. Activation of latent transforming growth factor ?1 by stromelysin 1 in extracts of growth plate chondrocyte-derived matrix vesicles.  J Bone Miner Res. 16(7):1281-1290, 2001. PMID: 11450704


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