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PhD Opportunities

With excellent facilities, cutting edge technology and collaborations with world class researchers, we are looking for prospective PhD students to work with us on a range of exciting projects.


Our research atmosphere is friendly, encouraging and positive, and the success rate is very high. All students are allocated two Independent Panel Reviewers (IPAP) in addition to their supervisors, to provide additional support and review progress.

Fully funded PhD projects at the School of Dentistry become available from time to time and are listed on the University’s Postgraduate Research Studentships page and advertised on FindAPhD.com.

We also welcome and support prospective students who are either able to self-fund their PhD studies or are planning for or have already secured a funded PhD scholarship. Interested candidates please email denres@liverpool.ac.uk.  Information about the level of funding needed to self-fund is available here.

European Union or international students whose first language is not English are usually required to provide an IELTS (or equivalent) test score to demonstrate their proficiency in English. See here for full details.

Current PhD Students

Rowan Softley

PhD title: Advanced development of the constant depth film fermenter towards optimised biofilm modelling and development of functional insights of biofilm communities is a joint project at the School of Dentistry, the Centre for Genomic Research and Unilever. It aims to open a new area of research into the characterisation and development of more representative oral microbiome models. The objectives are to: (1) establish a reliable laboratory model system comparing community composition of inoculum and biofilms over time to produce reproducible in vitro biofilms which are comparable to their in vivo counterparts.  (2) Apply culture techniques, and next-generation sequencing such as microbiome 16S, metagenomics of DNA and RNA to gain functional insights into biofilm communities. (3) Compare in vitro and in vivo metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches, and optimise the model to reflect the outcome of different interventions in biofilm treatments.

Supervisors: Prof Alistair Darby & Dr Vera Slomka (Unilever).

PhD title: Systemic conditions and oral health  is a multidisciplinary project between the University of Liverpool, School of Dentistry and Institute of Population Health, and GlaxoSmithKline. It aims to measure non-pathological eating traits and other psychological factors, dietary patterns, oral health knowledge and oral health behaviours, to explore associations between them and with incidence of systemic conditions, body satisfaction, and oral health in a UK population sample. methodology includes the use of validated measures of psychological factors, self-reported incidence of systemic disease, and objective measurement of BMI and oral health (imaging of microbiological origin of plaque fluorescence using quantitative light-induced fluorescence (QLF) analysis and microbial profiling of dental plaque using culture techniques).

Supervisors: Prof Emma Boyland.

Rosalia Paniagua

Sarah McKernon

PhD Title: Is there a national care pathway for children presenting with facial swellings of odontogenic origin who require a dental general anaesthetic? This part-time, self-funded study aims to investigate current care pathways for this cohort of patients, and analyse the repeat dental general anaesthesia rate in England for children who have had a dental general anaesthetic.

Supervisors: Prof Sondos Albadri & Dr Manu Mathur (QMUL).

PhD title: Investigation of age-related changes within the extracellular microenvironment of dental tissues is a collaborative project between the Institute of Life Course and Medical Sciences and the School of Dentistry, funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust. This project aims to use state-of-the-art proteomics, transcriptomics, imaging, biochemical, molecular and cell biological techniques to identify changes with ageing at the protein level. Young and old teeth will be sectioned into separate dental tissues and the proteome will be analysed by mass spectrometry. The objective of this project is to understand how the protein content of different areas of teeth change over time, and how this may be related to age-related dental diseases.

Supervisors: Dr Kazuhiro Yamamoto, Prof Fadi Jarad, Prof Mandy Peffers

Anders Jensen

James Hyde

PhD title: Auto-fluorescent properties of bovine teeth during demineralisation -deprotonation and the hyperspectral characteristics of immature dental plaque. This part-time, self-funded study aims to explore and understand the relationships between the mineral and organic components of dental hard tissues and their role in autofluorescence. The hyperspectral characteristics of immature dental plaque on both enamel and dentine are to be investigated and analysed.

Supervisors: Dr Sophie Desmons, Prof Sue Higham.

PhD title: Development of a Credible Clinical Assessment Program for Dental Hygiene Students in KSA is funded by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia Cultural Bureau. Assessment is one of the core elements in the process of health profession education, including dental hygiene education, especially with the current notion of outcome-based education. Assessment plays a major role to ensure that undergraduate educational programmes are producing qualified and competent health professionals, that are capable to fulfil the needs of society, and work in an environment that is brimming with diversity. This project will evaluate the current assessment approach in  the dental hygiene undergraduate education in Saudi Arabia against the current evidenced base, with the aims of: (a) optimising the role of assessment within it; and (b) produce guidance over assessment approaches and blueprinting   for dental hygiene programmes in Saudi Arabia to maximise their potential.

Supervisors: Prof Luke Dawson, Prof Richard Fuller, Dr Mumtaz Patel, Dr Mark Jellicoe.

Eman Aldawsari

PhD title: High throughput calcium sensitive invitro caries models is a 4-year joint research project between the School of Dentistry and Unilever Oral Care. It focuses on enhanced enamel substrate characterisation, high-throughput in vitro method development, and the exploration of novel remineralisation agents and strategies. The objective of this project is to develop new technologies for the treatment and prevention of Dental Caries, and related disease processes.

Supervisors: Dr Norah Flannigan, Dr Gareth Owens (Unilever) & Dr Gleb Komarov.

Francesca Giannetto