I received my dental degree (BDS) from the University of Newcastle in 1991 and PhD in Periodontology in 1997. I then worked as Assistant Professor in Periodontology at the Ohio State University, Columbus, USA, before returning to Newcastle in 2000. My research priority is to conduct high quality translational research that is positioned at the interface between clinical periodontology and laboratory-based studies of periodontal disease. I have a particular interest in the links between periodontitis and diabetes, with ongoing studies to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that underpin these links. I also conduct research of the molecular composition of saliva, with the aim to identify methods for earlier diagnosis of periodontal diseases.
Director of Dental Clinical Research Facility (Newcastle School of Dental Sciences and Dental Hospital).
Chairman of the Newcastle and North Tyneside 1 Research Ethics Committee.
Consultant in Restorative Dentistry (Periodontology).
Course director for Undergraduate Periodontology.
2005 FDS (Rest Dent) RCSEd
Assistant Professor in Periodontology, Ohio State University, USA
British Society of Periodontology (BSP)
British Society for Dental Research (BSDR)
European Federation of Periodontology (EFP)
Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd)
International Association for Dental Research (IADR)
2009 King James IV Professor (Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh)
2008 Distinguished Scientist Award (IADR)
2007 Rizzo Periodontal Research Award (IADR)
2004-2009 UK Department of Health/MRC/NIHR National Clinician Scientist
1999 British Society of Periodontology Sir Wilfred Fish Certificate of Merit
1997 British Society of Periodontology Fellowship Award
1995 Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Dean's Medal
My main research interests relate to the pathogenesis and immunobiology of periodontal disease. I am interested in understanding better the inflammatory processes that result in periodontal tissue destruction, and how these destructive events may be ameliorated or modified. Modulation of inflammatory responses is likely to lead to novel management strategies for periodontal disease, an area that is particularly exciting. In this regard, I have conducted several clinical trials of the use of subantimicrobial dose doxycycline (a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor) as an adjunctive periodontal therapy.
Risk factors for periodontal disease are also a key research interest of mine. I currently am investigating the relationships between diabetes and periodontal disease, focussing on the molecular mechanisms that link the two diseases.
In addition to diabetes, another significant risk factor for periodontal disease is smoking. I have shown that quitting smoking results in significant improvements in periodontal health, which helps to reinforce the anti-smoking message.
Another key research area is the potential utility of saliva for earlier diagnosis of periodontal diseases. Saliva is easily obtained, and could be very useful for the detection of a variety of oral and systemic conditions.
Diabetes is a significant risk factor for periodontal disease, and importantly, periodontitis appears to impair glycaemic control in people with diabetes. That is, a 'two-way' relationship exists between the conditions, with each having a negative impact on the other. We are investigating the immunobiology of the relationships between periodontitis and diabetes, with specific reference to the role of adipokines such as leptin, and signalling pathways and inflammatory responses in myeloid cells such as monocytes as well as fibroblasts.
An important strand of research focusing on diabetes and periodontitis relates to the overall management of people with diabetes. At present, oral health screening is not routinely incorporated into diabetes assessment programmes, yet our research has shown that patients would welcome, and benefit from, improved collaborative management between medical and dental healthcare teams.
The potential use of saliva for earlier detection of periodontitis could yield benefits for the management of this highly prevalent condition. We are currently working with local biotechnology companies (OJbio and ORLA Protein Technologies) in a major project funded by the EPSRC and Technology Strategy Board to develop this research area further.
2009: King James IV Professor
Honorary Professorship awarded by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in respect of significant contributions to the clinical and/or scientific basis of surgery.
2008: Distinguished Scientist Award (Young Investigator Award)
Awarded annually by the IADR (International Association for Dental Research) in respect of outstanding contributions by younger researchers in dental research.
2007: Anthony Rizzo Periodontal Research Award
Awarded annually by Periodontal Research Group of the IADR in respect of outstanding contributions by younger researchers in periodontal research.
£3.6 million of research funding to date (£2.9 millions as Principal Investigator)
Research has been funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), Department of Health (UK), Dunhill Medical Trust (UK), CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals (USA), Optiva Corporation (USA), Oral and Dental Research Trust (UK), Philips Oral Healthcare (USA), CollaGenex International Ltd (UK), Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust (UK), Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (UK), Laboratoires Carilene (France), Dexcel Pharma Ltd (UK).
Research is conducted to EU and FDA GCP standards. Fully compliant with research governance protocols and the EU clinical trials directive.