Eastman Dental Institute


Latest PhD Awards

17 May 2016


Dr. Nick Walters has been awarded a PhD in Biomaterials, following his viva in November 2015.

His thesis, entitled Remineralising composites with improved cytocompatibility and containing antimicrobial agents for conservative treatment of caries, resulted in the publication of an article in Dental Materials, as well as eight conference proceedings.

Together with other colleagues from Prof. Anne Young’s group, his research also contributed towards a pending patent application and the product development of an innovative commercial dental composite.

Professor Young said: “Nick was a very supportive member of our team keeping labs tidy, meetings well organised and coordinating purchase of various key pieces of equipment.

“In his PhD thesis Nick made several key innovative steps in the development of a composite material that will enable a less invasive and much simpler approach to tooth restoration.

“His work also contributed to a patent that is now licensed and a recent £1 million NIHR grant to optimise, manufacture and CE mark a material which we hope to have in clinical trials in the near future."

Nick now works as a postdoctoral research fellow at University of Tampere in Finland. His research concerns the development of highly modular stem cell niches for studying mechanotransduction via cell-extracellular matrix interactions and directing stem cell fate in three dimensions.

Dr Valeria Mercadante, has also received her PhD for her thesis entitled: Long-term evaluation of the effectiveness of a novel intra-oral electro-stimulator for the treatment of radiotherapy-associated xerostomia.

Supervisor Stefano Fedele said: “Valeria is a gifted clinical academic who, after a thorough international competition, was awarded one of the 100 UCL Grand Challenge PhD Studentships funded by UCL Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and UCLH/UCL NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, a PhD training Programme that was designed to attract researchers with the highest intellectual and scientific skills to the field of biomedical and life sciences.

“Her research focussed on a randomised sham-controlled double-blinded clinical trial to investigate the effectiveness of salivary electro-stimulation in lessening dry mouth symptom and improving the quality of life of head and neck cancer survivors who have developed permanent and irreversible salivary gland hypofunction."

Valeria is currently working as post-doctorate Clinical Research Associate and is also seeking further NHS experience to secure a training post in Oral Medicine.


Many congratulations also to Dr Marco Orlandi who successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled The impact of periodontal infection and its treatment on systemic inflammation, oxidative stress and endothelial integrity, in April.

Supervisor Fancesco D’Aiuto said: “Marco was able to secure a UCL Impact Award partially supported with a fellowship grant by Johnson and Johnson Consumer Services EAME Limited.

“He has worked as member of the clinical research team for a number of years and showed great commitment to academia. His future academic career is promising and completion of his PhD represents the first important milestone.

“His project explored novel mechanisms linking systemic inflammation to vascular homeostasis with regards to the impact of gum disease on the cardiovascular health. Both examiners complimented his work and rated highly the thesis.”