Francesco  Chiappelli, Ph.D.
Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Graduate Education
(310) 794-6625
UCLA School of Dentistry
10833 Le Conte Ave.
Box 951668
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1668
Office:  63-090 CHS


Francesco Chiappelli, Ph.D.; AAAS Fellow; Fulbright Alumnus, is a Professor in the Section of Oral Biology in the Division of Oral Biology and Medicine.

Educational & Professional Background

  • B.A., Neurobiology, Department of Biology, UCLA, 1975

  • M.A., Research Methodology & Statistics, Graduate School of Education, UCLA, 1981

  • Ph.D., Counseling Psychology, Graduate School of Education, UCLA, 1986

  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Psychoneuroimmunology; Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA, 1990

  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Fundamental and Clinical Immunology (NIAID/NIH AI07126), Department of Microbiology & Immunology, UCLA, 1990

  • Post-Graduate Coursework, Department of Psychology, California State University, Dominguez Hills, 1991

Research & Interests

Professor Chiappelli’s research interest for the last three decades has been mind-body interaction, and specifically the role of the psychoneuroendocrine system in regulating cellular immune surveillance. As a system biologist, he has focused on the role of stress on the responses of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, for example, and its modulatory effects on T cell activation, proliferation, regulation and function.   His fundamental hypothesis is that external stressors, such as pain, alcohol, nicotine or drugs of abuse, as well as perceived stress and anxiety put a serious load on the CD4+ T cells of the immune system, and prevent them from functioning well in the defense against infection and cancer.   Case in point, in the context of dental research, he has examined the role of mind-body interactions in “stress-related” oral ulcers, including canker sores (recurrent aphthous stomatis) and oral lichen planus. As the field of osteoimmunology emerged about 15 years ago, which establishes the intertwined relationships between cellular immune processes and bone metabolism (i.e., bone formation and bone resorption), Dr. Chiappelli launched a novel direction in his research interest that could be termed “osteo-psychoneuroendocrine-immunology”, which he described in his monograph “Osteoimmunopathology” (Springer, 2011).

Stemming from his graduate training in research methodology and biostatistics, Professor Chiappelli became interested and involved in the novel field of evidence-based dentistry (EBD) even before the American Dental Association (ADA) formerly defined it in 1999.  During the last fifteen years, Dr. Chiappelli has established himself as a national and an international recognized expert in the field.  He was named ADA “Champion” for EBD, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) with a special mention “for his contribution to the establishment of the field of evidence-based dentistry”, and is a Fulbright Specialist and Scholar in the broad field of evidence-based health care, and EBD specifically.  The focus of Professor Chiappelli’s research in EBD is the pursuit of excellence in the research methodology of this new science:  how can we truly obtain the “best available” evidence, how can we obtain reliable assessments and analyses of it, how can we best disseminate this information to the stakeholders, and how can we best integrate the “best available” evidence in evidence-based clinical decision-making, thus fully empowering patients and caregivers and ensuring increased health literacy, access to care and effectiveness. The fundamental hypothesis of his work in that domain, that evidence-based dentistry is patient-centered, effectiveness-focused and research-directed (i.e., follows the hypothesis-driven scientific process), has been described and discussed in depth in his several books (three monographs, three edited books) on the topic: Chiappelli F. The Science of Research Synthesis: A Manual of Evidence-Based Research for the Health Sciences – Implications and Applications in Dentistry  (NovaScience Publisher, 2008); Chiappelli F. Sustainable Evidence-Based Decision-Making. (NovaScience Publisher, 2010); Chiappelli F. et al. (co-Eds) Understanding Evidence-Based Practice:  Toward Optimizing Clinical Outcomes. (Springer–Verlag, Heidelberg, 2010); Rastogi S, Chiappelli F, et al. (co-Eds). Evidence based practice in complementary and alternative medicine: Protocols, problem and potential in Ayurveda. (Springer–Verlag, 2012); Chiappelli F et al. (co-Eds). Comparative Effectiveness and Efficacy Research and Analysis for Practice (CEERAP):  Applications for Treatment Options in Health Care. (Springer–Verlag, 2012); Chiappelli F. Fundamentals of Evidence-based Health Care and Translational Science. (Springer–Verlag, 2014).

Professional Memberships

Dr. Chiappelli is an active member of AAAS, IADR/AADR, the Tuscan Academy of Dentistry, the Brazilian Society of Evidence-Based Decisions and Comparative Effectiveness Research (of which he is the honorary lifetime President), the Network of Italian Scholar Association, the International Forum for Evidence-Based Decisions & Comparative Effectiveness Research, and the Fulbright Association;  and a formerly active  member of the nternational Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society (PNIRS) and the International Statistical Institute (ISI), the Club of Rome (US Division), and several other organizations in his fields.

Dr. Chiappelli has served as the elected President of the American Association of Oral Biologists (2011-2013); elected President of the Southern California Division: American Association for Dental Research (AADR – SoCal) (2010-2011, 2012-2013); elected President of American Association for the Advancement of Science-Pacific Division (2013), and elected President of the Fulbright Association, Greater Los Angeles Chapter (2013-2014).


  • “Champion” for EBD, American Dental Association

  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

  • Fulbright Specialist and peer-reviewed Fulbright Scholar

Representative Publications

Peer-Reviewed Research Papers (92)

de Resende M, Vieira S, Chinen LTD, Chiappelli F, da Fonseca FP, Guimarães GC, Soares FA, Neves I, Pagotty S, Pellionisz PA, Barkhordarian A, Brant XM,  Malagoli Rocha R. Prognostication of prostate cancer based on TOP2A protein and gene assessment. Journal of Translational Medicine 2013 11:36-45

Peer-Reviewed Review Papers (71)

de Almeida Moura J, Carvalho Costa B,  Delbone de Faria RM, Figueiredo Soares T,  Perlatto Moura E, Chiappelli F. Improving communication skill training in patient centered medical practice for enhancing  rational use of laboratory tests: The core of bioinformation for leveraging stakeholder engagement in regulatory science. Bioinformation 2013 9: 718-20. PMCID:PMC3746094

Peer-Reviewed & Invited Editorials (9)

Chiappelli F, Arora R, Barkhordarian B, Ramchandani M.  Evidence-Based Clinical Research: Toward a New Conceptualization of the Level and the Quality of the Evidence. Annals of Ayurvedic Medicine 2012 1:60-4.

Book Chapters (44)

Barkhordarian A, Chiappelli, F, Demerjian G. Neuroimmune Biomarkers of the Temporomandibular Joint and its Disorders. In G. Demerjian, A. Barkhordarian, F. Chiappelli, co-Eds. Local and Systemic Manifestations of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders. Springer-Verlag, 2014 (In Press). Chiappelli, F. Fundamentals in Evidence-Based Health Care and Translational Science. Springer-Verlag, 2014.

Research Abstracts (posters, conference presentations, proceedings) (219)

Phi L, Barkhordarian A, Dousti M, Demerjian G, Chiappelli F. Neuro-Immune activation in temporo-mandibular joint disorder. District 11 ASDA Meeting, Irvine California; 11 October 2013


Additional Information

Courses Taught

Dr. Chiappelli has taught evidence-based dentistry to first and second year dental students, as well as to residents, and as CE courses since the mid 1990’s.  In the graduate oral biology program, Professor Chiappelli teaches biostatistics and research methodology, bone biology & ontogeny, and several advanced seminars in fundamental cellular immunology, clinical lymphology, neuroendocrine-immune interactions, osteoimmunology, evidence-based dentistry, and comparative effectiveness research.

In the past, Dr. Chiappelli participated in the teaching of human gross anatomy to first year dental students, and of human immunology to dental students and graduate students.