Projects Suitable For Study (MPhil/PhD)

There is a variety of research activity taking place at the Institute. Below is a list of research areas, each with details of project titles within that area suitable for study at MPhil/PhD level.

To discuss any potential MPhil/PhD further, please do not contact potential supervisors directly.  All enquiries should be directed to the Graduate Tutor: edi-phd@ucl.ac.uk

Antibiotic resistance

Supervisor: see below
Department / Unit:
Microbial Diseases

Project titles:

  • Macrolide resistance in the oral cavity: mechanisms and transfer
    Supervisor:
    Elaine Allan
  • Characterisation of mobile genetic elements
    transposon, plasmids, conjugation, transposition, transferSupervisor: Adam Roberts
  • Exploring gene transfer in the whole oral microbiota
    metagenomics, oral microbiota, mobile genetic elements
    Supervisor:
    Peter Mullany
  • Novel approaches to understanding how the important nosocomial pathogen Clostridium difficile causes disease
    Clostridium difficile, virulence, antimicrobial associated disease
    Supervisor:
    Peter Mullany
  • Understanding antibiotic resistance in human associated bacteria
    antibiotic resistance, resistance genes, mechanism of action, metagenomics
    Supervisor:
    Adam Roberts

Bacterial virulence

Supervisor: see below
Department / Unit:
Microbial Diseases

Project titles:

  • Identification of novel therapeutic targets in bacteria associated with healthcare infections such as staphylococcus aureus and 'superbugs' such as VRE and MRSA
    Staphylococcus aureus
    , MRSA, enterococci, VRE, virulence
    Supervisor:
    Sean Nair
  • Novel approaches to understanding how the important nosocomial pathogen Clostridium difficile causes disease
    Clostridium difficile
    , virulence, antimicrobial associated disease
    Supervisor:
    Peter Mullany
  • Signal transduction in bacterial virulence
    Supervisor: Elaine Allan
  • Virulence factor discovery in Clostridium difficile
    Clostridium difficile
    , virulence factor, genetics
    Supervisor:
    Adam Roberts

Biofilms

Department / Unit: Microbial Diseases

Project titles:

  • Constant depth film fermentor models of ginigivitis and periodontitis
    gingivitis, periodontitis, biofilms
    Supervisor:
    David Spratt
    (Due to over-subscription, projects in this area are not being offered in the 2012/13 academic year)
  • Development of new strategies for treating implant infections
    biofilms, enterococci, periodontal pathogens, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis
    Supervisor:
    Sean Nair
  • Molecular mechanisms of biofilm formation
    Staphylococcus aureus
    , MRSA, VRSA
    Supervisor:
    Sean Nair
  • Synthetic biology to develop agents for disrupting medically important biofilms
    molecular breeding, domain shuffling, enzymes
    Supervisor:
    Sean Nair
  • Understanding biofilm regulation in Campylobacter jejuni
    biofilms, signalling, virulence
    Supervisor:
    Elaine Allan
  • Factors affecting gene transfer in biofilms
    biofilms, gene transfer, transformation, transduction, conjugation
    Supervisor:
    Adam Roberts

Biomaterials and composites for matrix tissue engineering

Supervisor: Jonathan Knowles
Department / Unit: Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Project titles:

  • Catalyst free synthesis of polyesters for tissue engineering
  • Neurogenic and Osteogenic peptide delivery via polymer matrices
  • Development of Degradable Fibres for Hard and Soft Tissue Engineering
  • Silk fibroin and degradable polyurethane composites with improved mechanical properties

Caries microbiology

Supervisor: see below
Department / Unit:
Microbial Diseases

Project titles:

  • A synthetic biology approach to the development of phage therapy to bacterial diseases
    phage, oral acquisition microflora, caries
    Supervisor:
    Peter Mullany / Susan Parekh / Paul Ashley
  • Novel signal transduction mechanisms in Streptococcus mutans
    Supervisor:
    Elaine Allan
  • Synthetic biology to develop dental plaque disrupting agents
    molecular breeding, domain shuffling, enzymes
    Supervisor:
    Sean Nair

Development of novel antimicrobial therapies

Supervisor: see below
Department / Unit: Microbial Diseases

Project titles:

  • A synthetic biology approach to the development of phage therapy to bacterial diseases
    phage, oral acquisition microflora, caries
    Supervisor:
    Peter Mullany / Susan Parekh / Paul Ashley
  • Identification of novel therapeutic targets in bacteria associated with healthcare infections such as staphylococcus aureus and 'superbugs' such as VRE and MRSA
    Staphylococcus aureus
    , MRSA, enterococcus, VRE, virulence
    Supervisor:
    Sean Nair
  • Development of novel antimicrobial agents and identification of antimicrobial agents produced by microorganisms novel antimicrobials, metagenomics, antimicrobial peptides, bacteriocins
    Supervisor:
    Sean Nair
  • Metagenomics for natural product discovery
    Supervisor:
    Elaine Allan
  • Biofilm disruption activities in natural environments
    Supervisor: Elaine Allan
  • Targeted photodynamic therapy for bacterial infections
    photosensitizers, singlet oxygen, targeting molecules, MRSA, staphylococcus
    Supervisor:
    Sean Nair

Endodontal microbiology

Supervisor: see below
Department / Unit: Microbial Diseases/ Periodontology

Project titles:

  • Constant depth film fermentor models of endodontal infections
    Supervisor:
    David Spratt
    (Due to over-subscription, projects in this area are not being offered in the 2012/13 academic year)
  • Molecular mechanisms of enterococcal resistance to root canal treatments and host defences
    Supervisor:
    Sean Nair

Implant surface effects on human cells

Supervisor: Peter Brett
Department / Unit:
Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Project titles:

  • The selection and expansion of osteogenic stem cell populations using novel surfaces
    manipulation of cell populations to select and enrich for stem cells with an osteogenic potential
  • The manipulation of osteogenic stem cells using the Axl/Gas6 receptor pathway
    manipulation of the Axl receptor pathway in adult stem cells in order to change/alter cells behaviour
  • Synthesis of hydrophilic Ti oxides for the manipulation of human bone marrow stem cells
    implants, surfaces, TiO2 coatings, stem cell behaviour, differentiation
  • The development of TiO2 coated surfaces for the expansion of stem cell populations in bioreactors
    stem cells, selection, expansion, cell therapy

Injectable, antibacterial, remineralising materials for tooth and bone repair

Supervisor: see below
Department / Unit: Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Project titles:

  • Self adhesive, re-mineralising, antibacterial dental restorative materials
    dental restoration,  methacrylate, calcium phosphate, antibacterial release / action
    Supervisor: Anne Young / Paul Ashley
  • Replacement of PMMA bone cement with a modified dental composite
    polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), bone cement, dental composite, strength, antibacterial
    Supervisor: Anne Young / Lambis Petridis
  • Degradable composite bone cement development
    calcium phosphate, degradable polymers, bone cement, drug release
    Supervisor: Anne Young

Mucosal immunity

Supervisor: Andrew Smith
Department / Unit:
Microbial Diseases

Project titles:

  • Mucosal immune response in health and disease
    innate, adaptive, immunity, inflammation, macrophage, Toll-like receptors
  • Transcriptomic analysis of  oral inflammatory disease
    transcriptomics, inflammation, human disease, next generation sequencing, bioinformatics

Nanoscale properties of collagen in health, ageing and disease

Supervisor: Laurent Bozec, Susan Parekh

Department / Unit: Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Project titles:

  • Collagen in ageing - what is the molecular source of ageing in collagen
  • Nano-Histology of connective and mineralised tissues affected by rare collagen syndromes or disorders
  • In-situ nanoscale orientation of collagen matrices for tissue repair
  • Impact of Advanced Glycation End products on the phyiscal and mechanical properties of collagen tissues (human and model) at the nanoscale

Oral medicine

Supervisor: Stefano Fedele
Department / Unit: Oral Medicine And Special Care Dentistry

Project titles:

  • Development of patient-related outcomes (PRO) measures in oral mucosal diseases
  • Innate Immunity defects in oral mucosal disease
  • Efficacy of antibiotic prophylaxis in reducing the risk of jaw osteonecrosis in individuals exposed to bisphosphonates who undergo dental extractions

Oral health and performance

Effect of oral health and athletic performance
Oral health, sports medicine, athletic performance, physical endurance, outcome studies
Supervisor: Ian Needleman

Paediatric dentistry

Department/Unit: Paediatric Dentistry

Project titles:

  • Investigations of the effectiveness of remineralising composites as a restorative material in children
    pain management,paediatric dentistry, sedation, anxiety management
    Supervisor:
    Anne Young

Periodontal microbiology

Supervisor: see below
Department / Unit: Microbial Diseases / Periodontology

Project titles:

  • Constant depth film fermentor models of ginigivitis and periodontitis gingivitis, periodontitis, biofilms
    Supervisor:
    David Spratt
  • Identification of natural antimicrobial agents for the treatment of periodontal disease
    periodontal pathogens, natural antimicrobials
    Supervisor:
    Sean Nair
  • The role of biofilms in infections of titanium surfaces
    periodontal pathogens, implants, titanium
    Supervisor:
    Sean Nair

Periodontology

Supervisor: Francesco D'Aiuto
Department / Unit: Periodontology

Project titles:

  • The effect of treatment of periodontal disease on metabolic control of diabetic patients.
  • Intervention study exploring the relationship between periodontitis and cardiovascular disease.
  • Genetic influences on acute inflammation using a periodontal therapy model.

Photodynamic therapy and photochemical internalisation

Supervisor: James Phillips
Department / Unit: Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Project titles:

  • Investigating the effect of photodynamic therapy on the nervous system
    Foscan, cancer therapy, peripheral nerves, CNS
  • Investigating neurobiological effects of photochemical internalisation in order to minimise nerve damage
    cancer therapy, PCI, cell biology, electrophysiology, cell culture

Prosthodontics

Supervisor: see below
Department / Unit: Prosthodontics / Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering / Microbial Diseases

Project titles:

  • The influence of implant-abutment corrosion products on cell metabolic pathways implant abutment, dental implants, corrosion, peri-implantitis, bone loss
    Supervisor: Lambis Petridis / Jonathan Knowles / Peter Brett

  • Antimicrobial coatings for intraoral prostheses
    intraoral prostheses, Candida, MRSA, antibacterial, coatings
    Supervisor: Lambis Petridis

Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine

Supervisor: James Phillips
Department / Unit: Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Project titles:

  • Construction of artificial nervous system tissue for peripheral nerve repair
    engineered neural tissue, stem cells, Schwann cells, hydrogels
  • Controlling stem cell differentiation for the development of neural cell therapies
    neurons, glial cells, hydrogels, CNS, PNS, cell culture
  • Engineered tissue for modelling nervous system damage and disease
    neurodegeneration, neuropathy, pharmacology, electrophysiology, glial cells, myelin, neurons
  • Development of biohybrid interfaces between implantable electrodes and nerves
    tissue engineering, medical physics, motor and sensory nerves

Understanding tooth behaviour in health, ageing and disease

Supervisor: Laurent Bozec / Ailbhe McDonald
Department / Unit: Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Project titles:

  • Age related characterisation of dental cavities and cracks at the nanoscale
    enamel crack, penetration depth, biomechanics
  • Ageing and teeth – mapping teeth mechanical variability as a function of ageing and structural loss
    ageing, atomic force microscopy, speckle interferometry

Novel diagnostics for oral tissue defects and loss

Supervisors: Laurent Bozec, Susan Parekh, Francesco D’Aiuto
Department/Unit: Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, Paeds and Perio
Project titles:


  • Nano-Histology of collagen tissues affected by rare syndromes using atomic force microscopy
  • Evaluation of Optical Coherence Tomography as a diagnostics tool for dentistry and its applications to enamel and soft tissues  defects or loss

More information about postgraduate research degrees