Eastman Dental Institute


Clinical Research

Improving the systemic and oral health of patients through the innovative development and testing of novel treatments, therapies, diagnostics and smart materials.

Our clinical research mostly focuses on diseases of the orofacial tissues including dental disease, oral cancer and pre-cancer, salivary gland disease, jawbone disease, musculoskeletal disorders and chronic pain. This work also encompasses research in implantology, and periodontal diseases with various chronic systemic diseases such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease etc.

Translational and experimental medicine - including clinical trials of repurposed drugs, novel diagnostics, novel drugs and devices, and improvements in treatment selection and evaluation of response – are supported through

Our researchers are expert in early first-in-human clinical studies and also large multicentre phase III trials, including both Clinical Trial of an Investigational Medicinal Product (CTIMPs) and non-CTIMPs studies.

We also work with UCL Dental Public Health to investigate the wider importance of oral health on quality of life, wellbeing and performance. This encompasses research into disparity and inequalities in access to oral healthcare and the impact on various populations groups, including people with special needs and high performance athletes. We collaborate and engage broadly with the public and organisations both within and outside of oral health. Our partners include patient and public representatives, governments, policy makers, funding organisations and industry. Our research creates impact and contributes to national and international oral health guidance and policy

The BRC grant

In 2017 UCL Eastman Dental Hospital and Institute were awarded £2million in funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The funding is part of the £111.5 million award won by the UCLH Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and is the first time that money has been allocated specifically to an Oral Health and Disease Theme. We have many exciting new research projects as a result of this funding

See all our BRC-funded projects

Meet our researchers

Dr Stefano Fedele
Professor Stefano Fedele DMD PhD
Head of Clinical Research,
Senior Clinical Lecturer in Oral Medicine

Areas of interest: clinical and translational research in Oral Medicine including oral cancer and pre-cancer, salivary gland disease, disorders of the jawbones, immunologically-mediated disorders of the oral mucosa, orofacial fibrosis, and chronic orofacial pain. Find out more

Recent paper: Di Fede O, Bedogni A, Giancola F, Saia G, Bettini G, Toia F, D'Alessandro N, Firenze A, Matranga D, Fedele S, Campisi G. BRONJ in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a multicenter case series. Oral Diseases 2016 Sep;22(6):543-8.

Dr Paul Ashley BDS PhD FDS PaedDent FHEA
Senior Clinical Lecturer (Honorary NHS Consultant) Paediatric Dentistry

Areas of interest: Restoration of primary molars, behaviour management and anxiety, oral health of elite athletes and evidence based dentistry. Find out more.

Recent paper: Sharma, G., Kneafsey, L., Ashley, P., & Noar, J. (2016). Failure of eruption of permanent molars: A diagnostic dilemma. International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, 26 (2), 91-99. doi:10.1111/ipd.12163

Professor Susan J Cunningham PhD; BChD; FDSRCS(Orth); MSc; MOrthRCS; FHEA
MClinDent Programme Director, Orthodontics

Areas of interest: Outcomes of orthodontic and orthognathic treatment, with a major emphasis on patient centred research. This research focuses on those areas of treatment which are most important to patients and looks at outcomes such as quality of life and factors affecting patient satisfaction with care. Find out more

Recent paper: Ryan,F.S., Clarke, A. Moles,D.R., Shute,J.T. Cunningham,S.J. (2016) Social anxiety in orthognathic patients. International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 45(1):19-25

Francesco D'Aiuto
Professor Francesco D'Aiuto, DMD, MClinDent(Perio), PhD, FHEA, MRD, FDS
Reader, Honorary Consultant, Head of Periodontology

Areas of interest: Association between periodontal diseases and systemic diseases including, obesity, cardiovascular, kidney diseases and diabetes (mechanisms and intervention studies); role of inflammation/oxidative stress on the pathogenesis of periodontitis; host modulation, antimicrobial and novel periodontal therapies; regenerative periodontal and peri-implant therapy. Find out more

Recent paper: Masi S, D'Aiuto F, Cooper J, Salpea K, Stephens JW, Hurel SJ, Deanfield JE, Humphries SE (2016). Telomere length, antioxidant status and incidence of ischaemic heart disease in type 2 diabetes. International Journal of Cardiology. Int J Cardiol. 2016 Aug 1;216:159-64.

Professor Gulabivala
Professor Kishor Gulabivala BDS (Birmingham), MSc (London), FDS RCS (Edinburgh), PhD (London), FHEA, FACD.
Professor of Endodontology and Consultant in Restorative Dentistry, Head of Endodontology and Department of Restorative Dentistry

Areas of interest: The central theme of research is the clinical outcome of endodontic treatment with translational elements supported by relevant basic sciences (biological, microbial, statistical, mathematical and engineering sciences). The avenues of pursuit include periapical healing and status, survival of teeth, patient-reported outcomes and factors affecting these measures. Find out more

Recent paper:  van der Meer WJ, Vissink A, Ng YL, Gulabivala K (2016) Computer-aided treatment planning in endodontics. J Dent. 2016 Feb;45:67-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jdent.2015.11.007. Epub 2015 Nov 25.

Professor Nigel Hunt
Professor Nigel P Hunt PhD MSc BDS FDS RCPS FDS RCS (Eng) FDS RCS (Edin) FGDP (UK) DOrth RCS MOrth RCS FHEA
Head of Department of Orthodontics

Areas of interest: My research interests are the aetiology, treatment and outcomes of facial deformities and their correction. These range from basic science research into the role of craniofacial muscles and muscle regeneration, through to analysis of treatment clinical and patient centred outcomes. Find out more

Recent paper: Ireland, A.J., Cunningham, S.J., Petrie, A., Cobourne, M.T., Acharya, P., Sandy, J.R. and Hunt, N.P. (2014),   “An Index of Orthognathic Functional Treatment Need (IOFTN)”  J. Orthod. 41:77-83

Dr rachel Leeson
Dr Rachel M A Leeson BDS (Lond) MSc (Lond) PhD (Lond) FDS RCS (Eng) FHEA
Oral Surgery,  Division of Maxillofacial Diagnostic, Medical & Surgical Sciences

Areas of interest: Specialist interests include Oral Surgery, Temporomandibular joint disorders and the management of acute and chronic orofacial pain. Dr Leeson  has been the Principal Investigator on a number of clinical randomised controlled trials. Find out more

Recent paper: Dietrich T Leeson R Gugliotti B, Petersen B, The School of Dentistry, University of Birmingham, UK;  University College London, Eastman Dental Institute, UK;  IBSA (Institut Biochimique S.A), Switzerland;  Efficacy and safety of low dose subcutaneous diclofenac in the management of acute pain: A randomised double-blind controlled trial. Pain Pract, 22 May 2013.

Dr Natalie Leow
Dr Natalie M. Leow BDS(Hons), MDSc(Perio) Syd., FRACDS(Perio), FDS RCSEd, FHEA
Clinical Lecturer, Periodontology

Areas of interest: Clinical and patient-centred outcome measures in regard to surgical modalities, in the treatment of patients with periodontitis. Find out more

Recent paper: 'Has the quality of reporting in periodontology changed in 14 years? A systematic review.' Leow NM, Hussain Z, Petrie A, Donos N, Needleman IG. J Clin Periodontol. 2016 Oct;43(10):833-8. doi: 10.1111/jcpe.12572. Epub 2016 Aug 4. Review. PMID:

Professor Ailbhe McDonald  BDent Sc, MSc, FDS RCS (Edin), FFD (RCSI), FDS (Eng) PhD.
Senior Lecturer in Prosthodontics

Areas of interest: My current area of interest is related to the ageing dentition; crack prevalence and propagation, the effect of tooth whitening, loss of tooth structure due to erosion and understanding stresses within extensively damaged teeth.  This is being translated into practical aspects of tooth restoration. Find out more

Recent paper: Colonisation of dentures by Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA in out-patient and in-patient populations N. Lewis, N. Parmar , Z. Hussain , G. Baker, I. Green, J. Howlett, A. Kearns, B. Cookson, A. McDonald and 2 more. 10.1007/s10096-015-2418-6 European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases

Dr Valeria Mercadante
Dr Valeria Mercadante, DDS, AFHEA, PhD
Clinical Research Associate, Oral Medicine

Areas of interest: My research activity is predominantly focused on clinical research in Oral Medicine with a special interest on oral cancer and potentially malignant disorders, management of dry mouth and osteonecrosis of the jaws. Find out more

Recent paper: Otto, S., Marx, R.E., Tröltzsch, M., Ristow, O., Ziebart, T., Al-Nawas, B., Groetz, K.A., Ehrenfeld, M., Mercadante, V., Porter, S., Bedogni, A., Campisi, G., Fusco, V., Dayisoylu, E., Fliefel, R., Herlofson, B.B., Pautke, C., Kwon, T.-G., Fedele, S. Comments on "diagnosis and management of osteonecrosis of the jaw: A systematic review and international consensus" (2015) Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 30 (6), pp. 1113-1115.

Professor Ian Needleman
Professor Ian Needleman BDS MSc PhD MRDRCS(Eng) FDSRCS(Eng) FFPH FHEA
Professor of Restorative Dentistry and Evidence-Based Healthcare, Honorary Consultant and Specialist in Periodontology. Lead, Centre for Oral health and performance

Areas of interest: Our research investigates oral health to enhance performance, overall health and wellbeing of athletes and the general population. We engage in high quality, cross-cutting research collaborating with a wide range of clinical and academic disciplines and stakeholders. We engage with athletes, sport and exercise medicine/science professionals, & sport organisations. Find out more

Recent paper: Needleman I, Ashley P, Meehan L, Petrie A, Weiler R, McNally S, Ayer  C, Hanna R, Hunt I, Kell S, Ridgewell S, Taylor R. Poor oral health including active caries in 187 UK professional male football players: clinical dental examination performed by dentists. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2016, British Journal of Sports Medicine; 50: 41-44

Dr Ng
Dr. [Paula] Yuan-Ling Ng BDS MSc MRD RCS (Eng) PhD FHEA
Senior Clinical Lecturer, MSc & MClinDent Programme Director, Endodontology

Areas of interest: My research interests are focused on the effectiveness and long-term outcomes of endodontic treatment. Find out more

Recent paper: Ng, Y-L & Gulabivala K (2015) Evaluation outcomes. In Hargreaves, K. M., & Berman, L. H. eds. Cohen's pathways of the pulp expert consult, 11th edn. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Dr Marco Orlandi DDS, PhD
NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer Periodontology

Areas of interest: Investigating the pathogenesis of periodontal diseases and their link with systemic inflammatory conditions. Exploring the impact of periodontal treatment on the cardiovascular risk in different conditions. Identifying mechanisms involved in effect of periodontal diseases on the systemic inflammatory and oxidative profile. Investigating the pathogenesis of periodontal diseases. Find out more

Recent paper: Acute phase response following full mouth versus quadrant non-surgical periodontal treatment. A randomized clinical trial; Volume 42, Issue 9 September 2015  Pages 843–852 

Dr Susan Parekh BDS, MFDS, MPaedDent RCS, PhD, FDS RCS (Paed Dent) FHEA
Clinical Lecturer/ Honorary Consultant - Paediatric Dentistry, 

Areas of interest: Dental Anomalies Find out more

Recent paper: Khalifa Al-Azri; Lucia N. Melita; Adam P. Strange; Frederic Festy; Maisoon Al-Jawad; Richard Cook; Susan Parekh; Laurent Bozec, "Optical coherence tomography use in the diagnosis of enamel defects," J. Biomed. Opt. 21(3), 036004 (2016). doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.21.3.036004

Dr Lambis Petridis
Dr Lambis (Haralampos) Petridis DDS, MS, Cert Prosthodont, PhD
Specialist Prosthodontist, Senior Lecturer, Programme Director MS Conservative Dentistry

Areas of interest: Bone metabolism related to dental implants, Novel re-mineralising, self-adhesive, and antimicrobial composite resins for dental & medical use. Find out more

Recent paper: Aldegheishem, A., Ioannidis, G., Att, W., & Petridis, H. (2017). Success and survival of various types of all-ceramic single crowns: A critical review and analysis of studies with a mean follow-up of 5 years or longer. International Journal of Prosthodontics, 30 (2), 168-181. doi:10.11607/ijp.4703

Professor Stephen Porter BSc MD PhD FDS RCS (Eng) FDS RCS (Edin) FHEA
Institute Director and Professor of Oral Medicine 

Areas of interest: Immunologically mediated disease of the oral mucosa and salivary glands. Find out more

Recent paper: Mustafa MB, Porter SR, Smoller BR, Sitaru C. Oral mucosal manifestations of autoimmune skin diseases. Autoimmun Rev. 2015 Oct;14(10):930-51.

Owiase Sharif
Dr Owaise Sharif BDS (Hons), MJDF RCS Eng, MSc, MOrth RCS Ed, FDS (Ortho) RCS Eng
Clinical Lecturer / Honorary Consultant Orthodontist

Areas of interest: Orthodontics, Patient centred research, Systematic reviews, Provision of patient information. Find out more

Recent paper: Sharif MO, Tejani-Sharif A, Kenny K, Day PF. A systematic review of outcome measures used in clinical trials of treatment interventions following traumatic dental injuries. Dent Traumatol. 2015 Dec;31(6):422-8. doi: 10.1111/edt.12227. Epub 2015 Oct 2. Review. PMID: 26428411

Dr Tay Shiefung, Specialist in Periodontics, Master of Clinical Dentistry in Periodontology, Bachelor of Dental Surgery
Senior Clinical Teaching Fellow (Program Coordinator in Periodontology, Clinical Research Associate of Restorative Dental Sciences

Areas of interest: Periodontology, Implantology and Restorative Dentistry. Find out more

Recent paper: Tay, S. and Di Vitale, N. 2016. Biological width in the periodontic-restorative interrelationship. Aesthetic Dentistry Today. Aug 2016, p.19-25.


The vast majority of the clinical research activities of the Department take place in the ECIC, which is a clinical research facility fully dedicated to Oral and Dental diseases. The ECIC also has dedicated -80°C freezers for the storage of blood and tissue samples relevant to clinical studies.

Some minor clinical research activities take place within the clinics of the Eastman Dental Hospital.

Current clinical research PhD projects

1. Oral medicine

Project titles:

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

2. Oral health and performance 

Project title:

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

3. 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: Professor Anne Young

4. Prosthodontics

Project title: 

Spotlight on...

Paediatric dentist at work

Novel filling materials

With the phase out of amalgam fillings, there is a growing need for more effective fillings for caries affected teeth in children. Professor Young's team seeks to optimise formulations that will be able to be placed directly onto disease affected dental caries without anaesthetic, drilling or the complex bonding steps currently required. 

Lead researcher: Professor Anne Young

Latest phase funded by the BRC

sports equipment

Oral health and performance

We promote oral health in sport to enhance the performance, overall health and wellbeing of athletes. We engage in high-quality, cross-cutting research and collaborate with athletes, sport and exercise medicine/science professionals, sport organisations, sport funders, policy makers and industry. We are currently reporting on the largest epidemiological study of the oral health of elite athletes ever undertaken.

Lead researcher: Professor Ian Needleman

Lady in oral pain

Oral Lichen Planus

Oral Lichen Planus is a T-cell mediated chronic inflammatory disorder that often gives rise to painful areas of ulceration of the mouth and can thus greatly lessen the normal functions of the mouth and reduce overall quality of life. We are running a proof-of-concept clinical trial at UCLH Eastman Dental Hospital to test whether taking the probiotic VSL#3 can lessen the disease activity and improve the quality of life.

Lead researchers: Dr Andrew Smith and Professor Stefano Fedele