The impact of early life exposures on the developing human microbiota is a key theme of my research laboratory. Although it is well documented that HIV infection is associated with an increased risk of oral opportunistic infections and diseases, little is known about how the microbial profiles of HIV-infected or exposed individuals might impact oral health. A core component of my work as a Research Associate for the monitoring and evaluation component for the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) program was supporting HIV/AIDS treatment, care, and prevention to sub-Saharan African nations. As a result of an increased access to antiretroviral treatment in developing nations, there is need to study the effect of HIV exposure on oral microbiota in a growing population of children/adolescents who are perinatally exposed yet uninfected by HIV. Our work has reported differences in bacterial community composition in HIV infected children as well as those born to HIV infected mothers (perinatally exposed) but uninfected. We have also participated in investigating the effect of maternal and infant antibiotic use, early feeding practices, delivery mode and other environmental exposures on the developing human microbiota. By investigating shifts in the microbiome, my team and I hope to understand how microbiota modulation might present as an important therapeutic target for better long-term health outcomes particularly in young children. Building on my work on the microbiome, HIV and clinical expertise, I am currently focused on conducting large-scale human microbiome research in the context of longitudinal molecular epidemiology studies in young children. In addition, I am motivated by questions related to disease causality and the rigorous epidemiologic methods used to address them. Most recently, we have been involved in research related to SARS-CoV-2 epidemiology.


BDS, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

MPH , Johns Hopkins, Bloomberg School of Public Health, with a concentration in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

PhD, University of Maryland, Baltimore in 2010

Research Projects

  1. Dental Caries and its association with Oral Microbiomes and HIV in young children – Nigeria (DOMHaIN) cohort in Nigeria.

  2. Microbial colonization trajectories of the oral, gut, respiratory and vaginal microbiome in health and disease

  3. Use of novel bioinformatic approaches for utilizing and integrating metagenomic, metatranscriptomic and metabolomic characterizations

  4. Investigating the relationship between Oral Microbial Profiles and Weight Gain, Body Mass Index and Body Fat

  5. HIV Prevention, Care and Treatment Strategies In Pediatric Populations

  6. Emerging infectious disease epidemiology including the COVID-19 Pandemic

  7. Pragmatic Return To Effective Dental Infection Control Through Triage And Testing (PREDICT)


  1. Coker MO, Cairo C, Garzino-Demo A. HIV-Associated Interactions between Oral Microbiota and Mucosal Immune Cells: Knowledge Gaps and Future Directions. Provisionally Accepted Frontiers Immunology
  2. Coker MO, Laue HG, Hoen AG, Hilliard M, Dade E, Li Z, Palys T, Morrison H, Baker E, Karagas, Madan JC. Infant Feeding Alters the Longitudinal Impact of Birth Mode on the Development of the Gut Microbiota in the First Year of Life. Accepted Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.642197
  3. Coker M, Folayan MO, Michelow IC, Oladokun RE, Torbunde N, Sam-Agudu NA, 2020. Things must not fall apart: the ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children in sub-Saharan Africa. Pediatr Res (Epub). doi: 10.1038/s41390-020-01174-y.
  4. Aduh U., Folayan MO, Afe A, Onyeaghala AA, Ajayi IO, Coker M, Tebeje YK, & Ndembi N. (2020). Risk perception, public health interventions, and Covid-19 pandemic control in sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of Public Health in Africa.
  5. Coker M, Etiebet M, Chang H, Awwal G, Musa BM, Jumare J, Babashani M, Charurat M, Habib AG, Abimiku A, Blattner W, Eng M, Ndembi N. Socio-demographic and Adherence Factors Associated with Viral Load Suppression in HIV-infected Adults initiating therapy in Northern Nigeria: a Randomized Controlled Trial of a Peer Support Intervention. Curr HIV Res. 2015 Apr;13(4):279-85
  6. Coker MO, Mongodin EF, El-Kamary SS, et al. Immune status, and not HIV infection or exposure, drives the development of the oral microbiota. Sci Rep. 2020;10(1):10830. Published 2020 Jul 2. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-67487-4
  7. Coker M, Hoen AG, Lundgren S, Karagas MR, Madan J, Specific class of maternal intrapartum antibiotics relate to maturation of the infant gut microbiota. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. 2019.
  8. Singh S, Madan J, Coker M, Hoen A, Baker E, Karagas M, Mueller N. Does birth mode modify associations of maternal pre-pregnancy BMI and gestational weight gain with the infant gut microbiome? International Journal of Obesity. 2019 Feb 14;
  9. Coker M, El-Kamary S, Enwonwu C, Blattner W, Langenberg P, Mongodin E, Akhigbe P, Obuekwe O, Omoigberale A, Charurat M. Perinatal HIV Infection and Exposure and their Association with Dental Caries in Nigerian Children. Pediatr Inf. Dis J. 2018 Jan;37(1):59-65.
  10. Musa BM, Coker M, Galadanci NA. The global burden of pulmonary hypertension in sickle cell disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Hematol. 2016 Oct;95(11):1757–64