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PhD opportunities

PhD projects in the Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences become available all year round. You can browse through the current opportunities in each of our research centres below, alongside faculty projects offered through funded studentship schemes.

When you find a project of interest, your first step is to contact the first supervisor named in the project description by email to discuss before submitting an application. Deadlines and full details of how to apply are specified in the project descriptions.

NEW: Fully-funded MRC postgraduate research studentships in Biomedical and Translational Science for September 2022 entry: apply by 18 November 2021. Find out more >>>

NEW: Fully-funded MRC iCASE (Industrial Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering) postgraduate research studentships in Biomedical and Translational Science for September 2022 entry: apply by 18 November 2021. Find out more >>>

Projects: Craniofacial & Regenerative Biology

Projects: Host-Microbiome Interactions

Projects: Dental Education

Projects: Oral, Clinical & Translational Sciences


PhD opportunities with the Centre for Craniofacial & Regenerative Biology

Sense organs are essential for communication with our environment providing visual, auditory and olfactory input. Among the most common birth defects, are craniofacial malformations often associated with sensory defects, while age-related loss of vision, smell and hearing is increasingly common in the ageing population.

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There are three unique features common to all vertebrates: the vertebral column, the brain as part of the nervous system and a complex head where sense organs became concentrated.

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One of the key questions in biology is to uncover how cells with the same genomic information become different from each other. This is not only important to understand embryo development, but also to determine what goes wrong in disease, how we can use this information to promote tissues regeneration or to reprogram cells for stem cell-based therapies.

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The evolution of the incredibly complex jaw apparatus of snakes allows many species to consume prey much larger than themselves. This study explores the development, structure and function of two lower jaw specialisations unique to most snake species, namely the free mandibular symphysis and the intramandibular hinge joint.

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Hearing as one of the five human senses plays a crucial role in our quality of life and integration into society, impacting on speech and language skills. Congenital hearing loss has been estimated to occur at an incidence of 1 in 1000 births, and as such has a major impact on the life of many children.

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When dentine and underlying odontoblasts are damaged, a repair process is initiated that involves the recruitment of cells from the pulp. We have identified a specific cell homing process whereby the progeny of mesenchymal stem cells migrate towards sites of tooth damage.

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The project involves a collaboration with Todd Streelman (Geogia Tech, USA) who uses genetic analysis to identify gene loci involved in tooth replacement in Lake Malawi cichlid fishes.

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PhD opportunities with the Centre for Host-Microbiome Interactions

There is no doubt that the majority of disabled people are, and should be, receiving dental treatment in the community within general dental practices. A small, but significant, number of patients are still referred regularly for specialist care from Special Care Dentistry Teams, however, and this study sets out to examine who these special care patients are and what it is that makes them special.

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The aim of this study is to undertake qualitative interviews to develop an understanding of the impact of TMJ on the daily lives of people living with atypical facial pain.

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This research will explore the experiences of dental students and practicing dentists self-identifying as having a disability with a focus on identifying barriers to successful practice and the ways these are, or should be, being negotiated.

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There is wide recognition that dentistry is changing and that skills and knowledge needed are also changing. A growing body of researchers are now looking at workforce planning and shaping the workforce of the future with a focus on the mix of skills and professions needed within the dental team (see for example Wanyonyi et al. 2014). What kinds of dentists are we trying to create?

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Erosive tooth wear is a common clinical condition that can result in destruction of tooth tissue (1). This PhD will investigate the role of proteases on the salivary pellicle in the protection of enamel from erosion and abrasion.

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PhD opportunities with the Centre for Dental Education

Dental professionals and students have a responsibility to behave professionally both online and offline.

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Learning in the digital age gives educational institutions opportunities to gather rich data which could be used for inferring the progress of learners in learning technologies and environments. However, while large amounts of data are available, little interpretation about them is being made.

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Simulation of dental caries has always been a challenge to truly replicate the texture, softness and colour for haptically enabled virtual simulators. This research project will explore the 1. variations between clinicians on acceptable amounts of caries to leave in a HDVRS 2. develop more realistic caries representations 3. assess student performance in caries removal on the new models

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PhD opportunities with the Centre for Oral, Clinical & Translational Sciences

Oral cancer has good prognosis when detected at an early stage. However, up to half of patients are diagnosed with advanced lesions, when 5-year survival rates are as low as 20%. This project will focus on the development and evaluation of initiatives to encourage timely presentation of symptoms of oral cancer. The project will involve developing an evidence-based online training package for the dental team, testing the feasibility of delivering this intervention and assessing the impact on patients and the dental team.

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This project focuses on the process and content of communication between dentists and dental patients. Specifically, the project will investigate how dentists discover patient's information needs and check patient's understanding of information during routine dental consultations, investigate patient preferences, and determine the impact of differing methods of communication.

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Prognosis for head and neck cancer is dependent on timely diagnosis and prompt treatment. However, some patients face difficulties in accessing, attending or completing treatment due to ongoing issues with addiction or their mental health. The focus of this doctoral research will be to assess the impact of a new community support service for patients with addiction and/or mental health issues.

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Dental implants are used for treating either partial or complete edentulous patients. Despite their good survival rate, there is a still high prevalence of peri-implant diseases. This is classified as peri-implant mucositis which is reversible inflammation of the soft tissues around an implant and peri-implantitis which involves inflammation leading to loss of supporting bone around an implant. This project will provide novel insights into the role of host responses related to peri-implantitis in predisposing to CVD risk.

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