Eastman Dental Institute


Experiencing the Eastman

I am a current 5th year dental student at King’s College London. This summer I completed two days of my elective at the Eastman Dental Institute at the invitation of Professor Needleman

Morgan Rees with our COHP Team
I first spoke to Professor Needleman, Head of the Centre for Oral Health and Performance at UCL Eastman, when he appeared as a guest lecturer at King’s College back in October 2018. Having read several of his research papers, which study the links between oral health and performance in athletes, I was keen to discuss the research. I had completed a Masters in Sport and Exercise Physiology before starting my dental studies, and retain an interest in research in sports performance. I spoke to Professor Needleman briefly about his work after the lecture and he kindly invited me to have a look around the Eastman facility. We discussed their research and the links to my MSc dissertation project, as well as my aspirations upon graduation.

Following the visit, an opportunity arose for me to assist an Eastman dental screening with an international elite sports team. The screening aimed to identify any current dental issues within the team and flag any potential problems with the players to their medical team. The players were very receptive to our feedback and I really enjoyed the day, despite the five-hour train journey on New Years’ Day! I was invited back in July when the team had a follow up screening and it was interesting to observe changes as well as to screen new players.

I had spoken to Professor Needleman regarding spending a few days of my elective at the Eastman to allow me to fully understand what goes into their work and what a PhD involves. Hesham Matabdin, one of the PhD students, allowed me full access to his study material, which is nearing the halfway stage. This was an amazing opportunity to sit in on a meeting which discussed the thoughts of the company who had partly funded the PhD, to visit the labs where the unique protocol had been carried out and view the results so far. I was also able to sit down with Julie Gallagher, who at the time of writing was preparing for her VIVA, she showed me her research and results this scared me with the size of a PhD thesis! 

Thanks to everyone at the Eastman for all the opportunities and support and especially to Professor Needleman.  I would recommend that anyone interested in this field also takes advantage of the support and opportunities that are available.

By Morgan Rees

Pictured: (L-R) Hesham Matabdin, Morgan Rees, Dr Julie Gallagher, Professor Ian Needleman