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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:

  • Antibiotic resistance in the oral cavity
    metagenomics
    Supervisor: Elaine Allan
  • Characterisation of mobile genetic elements
    transposon, plasmids, conjugation, transposition, transfer
    Supervisor: 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
  • Role of signal transduction in regulating the virulence of Streptococcus mutans, the causative agent of dental caries
    caries, virulence, signal transduction systems, serine threonine kinases
    Supervisor:
    Elaine Allan
  • Understanding biofilm regulation in Campylobacter jejuni
    biofilms, signalling, virulence
    Supervisor:
    Elaine Allan
  • Virulence factor discovery in Clostridium difficile
    Clostridium difficile
    , virulence factor, genetics
    Supervisor:
    Adam Roberts

Biofilms

Supervisor: see below
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

Bone remodelling in health and disease

Supervisor: Sajeda Meghji
Department / Unit: Microbial Diseases

Project titles:

  • The effect of therapeutic ultrasound on osteoblasts differentiation from mesenchymal stem cells: possible therapeutic use in implant dentistry and periodontology
    ulltrasound, osteoblasts, osteoclasts, bone remodelling
  • Heat shock as a non-invasive means to influence mesenchymal stem cell fate, stimulating bone and inhibiting the fat phenotype
    cellular stress, heat shock proteins, bone remodelling
  • Pathogenesis of chemically induced osteonecrosis of the jaw and possible therapeutic interventions
    bone, osteoblasts, osteoclasts osteonecrosis, haematopoetic stems cells, mesenchymal stem cells
  • The potential of effective tissue engineering using dental pulp stem cells, odontoblasts, and periosteal cells for regenerative endodontics
    pulp cells, cellular stress, matrix remodelling

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
  • Role of signal transduction in regulating the virulence of Streptococcus mutans, the causative agent of dental caries
    caries, virulence, signal transduction systems, serine threonine kinases
    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
  • Role of signal transduction in regulating the virulence of Streptococcus mutans, the causative agent of dental caries
    caries, virulence, signal transduction systems, serine threonine kinases
    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:

  • Degradable bone adhesive development
    calcium phosphate, degradable methacrylates, bone cement, drug release
    Supervisor:
    Anne Young / Vehid Salih
  • Re-mineralising, antibacterial dental restorative materials
    calcium phosphate, methacrylate chemistry, dental restoration, antibacterial release / action
    Supervisor:
    Anne Young / Laurent Bozec
  • Replacement of PMMA bone cement with a modified dental composite
    polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), bone cement, dental composite, strength, antibacterial
    Supervisor:
    Anne Young

Matrix development for tissue engineering

Supervisor: Vehid Salih
Department / Unit: Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Project titles:

  • Development and Characterisation of collagen-based matrices/cellular constructs using osteoblasts and chondrocytes for studying the effects of ultrasound therapy
    biomaterials & tissue engineering, biology, biophysics, engineering
  • The Development and Evaluation of natural hydrated 3D matrices for cartilage tissue engineering applications
    biomaterials & tissue engineering, biology, biophysics, engineering
  • Development of a natural matrix/HA composite for hard tissue engineering applications (incl. models of bone cancer and normal tissue interactions)
    biomaterials & tissue engineering, biology, biophysics, engineering

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
Department / Unit: 
Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Project titles:

  • In-situ nanoscale orientation of collagen matrices for tissue repair
    collagen scaffold, microfluidics, molecular orientation
  • Nanoscale infrared spectroscopy for assessing collagen degradation
    atomic force microscopy, collagen scaffold, infrared spectrocopy, biophysics
  • Implication of excessive crosslinking on collagen biomechanics
    collagen crosslinking, atomic force microscopy, biophysics
  • Collagen in ageing - what is the molecular source of ageing in collagen
    aged collagen, atomic force microscopy, nanothermal analysis, biophysics

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

Orthodontics

Supervisor: Nigel Hunt / Risma Shah
Department / Unit: Orthodontics

Project titles:

  • Enhancing orthognathic surgical outcomes
    muscle adaptation, biomaterial scaffolds, growth factors, surgical techniques
  • Tissue engineering techniques for the restoration of craniofacial muscle defects
    biomaterial scaffolds, growth factors, genetic modification
  • Development of novel orthodontic / orthopaedic techniques for the management of facial deformity
    muscle adaptation, growth factors, tissue engineering, biomaterial scaffolds
  • Investigations into limb and craniofacial skeletal muscle adaptation
    exercise, repair, regeneration, growth factors

Paediatric dentistry

Supervisor: see below
Department/Unit: Paediatric Dentistry

Project titles:

  • Hypodontia: genotype/phenotype
    genetics of oral diseases and its influence to therapy
    Supervisor:
    Susan Parekh
  • Investigations of the effectiveness of remineralising composites as a restorative material in children
    pain management,paediatric dentistry, sedation, anxiety management
    Supervisor:
    Paul Ashley / Susan Parekh / Heather Buchanan
  • Acquisition of oral microflora and novel strategies for caries prevention
    oral acquisition of microflora
    Supervisor:
    Paul Ashley / Dave Spratt

Patient-centred outcomes in relation to oral diseases

Supervisor: Susan Cunningham
Department / Unit: Orthodontics

Project titles:

  • Outcomes of orthodontic treatment
    Patient-centred outcomes in relation to oral diseases

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 / Nikolaos Donos
    (Due to over-subscription, projects in this area are not being offered in the 2012/13 academic year)
  • Identification of natural antimicrobial agents for the treatment of periodontal disease
    periodontal pathogens, natural antimicrobials
    Supervisor:
    Sean Nair / Nikolaos Donos
  • The role of biofilms in infections of titanium surfaces
    periodontal pathogens, implants, titanium
    Supervisor:
    Sean Nair / Nikolaos Donos

Periodontology

Supervisor: Nikolaos Donos
Department / Unit: Periodontology

Project titles:

  • The effect of diabetic metabolic control on guided tissue regeneration.
  • The effect of osteoporosis in Guided Bone Regeneration and osseointegration.
  • The effect of biofilm in infection of titanium surfaces.
  • The effect of the SLActive surface on the potential for new bone formation in experimental diabetes.
  • Correlation of histological and molecular mechanisms during the early stages of osseointegration
  • Treatment modalities for ridge preservation procedures
  • Use of novel synthetic peptides for osteogenesis and angiogenesis

Supervisor: Ian Needleman
Department / Unit: Periodontology

Project titles:

  • Periodontal health and quality of life
    Health-related quality of life, clinical research, periodontal diseases, chronic diseases, long-term conditions
  • Effect of oral health and athletic performanceOral health, sports medicine, athletic performance, physical endurance, outcome studies

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: Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering / Prosthodontics

Project titles:

  • The effect of different implant-abutment connection geometry and abutment alloy on corrosion product release
    prosthetic abutment, corrosion, connection geometry, alloy
    Supervisor:
    Lambis Petridis / Jonathan Knowles
  • Antimicrobial coatings for removable prostheses
    removable prostheses, Candida, MRSA, antibacterial, coatings
    Supervisor:
    Lambis Petridis / Steven Soo

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

More information about postgraduate research degrees


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