School of Dental Sciences

Spring Newsletter 2017


In the last Christmas Newsletter I indicated that we were hoping to develop more regular communication with the ‘Global Newcastle Family’ and this is the first of the new format Newsletters keeping you in touch with life in the school. This term and 2017 has already proved to be very exciting.

The School has shot up 5 places in the QS world University rankings for Dentistry.  After being very pleased with our 2016 raking we are absolutely delighted to now be ranked 5 places higher in 2017 at 32nd in the world for Dentistry.  This progression up the rankings recognises our ambition to be a world leader in Oral Health and Oral Health Care.  With these new results we are again the highest ranked subject area within the whole University. 

Linked to this and probably the biggest event for the School this term was the annual International Association for Dental Research meeting which was held in San Francisco.  The IADR is the world’s largest Dental Research organization with more than 10,000 members and there were around 6,500 attending the meeting in San Francisco.  There was a very large turn out from the school with 18 members of the School attending and presenting at the meeting. 

This year was rather special though for 2 reasons – one of our alumni, Professor Angus Walls, was installed as the President of the IADR for 2017-18 and as you will see later our own Professor Paula Moynihan was installed as the Vice President of IADR and will herself become President for the Centenary meeting in Washington DC in 2020. In addition, other school members have key positions in research groups as reviewers, IADR Councillors and group leads.  This year, 2 members of the School (Moynihan and Thomason) are currently Presidents of 2 of the IADR Research Groups (Geriatric Oral Research and the Nutrition Research Groups respectively). For a ‘compact school’ we had a very active presence at the meeting both in terms of Science and Education but also in the Exhibition area too – the Newcastle Stand!! This was an area to promote both the School and the University and to act as a focus to recruit post graduate students and to recruit new staff.   The stand was a major success. A big thanks, therefore, to Jill Smith and Gwen Forster for their work, before during and afterwards to pull this off apparently so 'effortlessly', but also to all the team who spent time "on the stand". It was a massive amount of work, but it was that presence that made it so impressive and it was widely commented on by so many at the meeting.  

 Dr James Field presenting a poster at IADRIADR presidency

IADR stand
Our IADR stand was very popular

IADR 2017

Professor Paula Moynihan becomes Vice President of IADR

The IADR is the world’s premier dental research organisation, with over 10,000 members and true global reach.

Professor Moynihan has remained an involved member since joining IADR in 1992 through participating in the IADR General Sessions and serving in various leadership positions. She served as a councillor for the IADR Nutrition Research Group from 2000-2005 and again from 2010-2015, while concurrently serving on the management committee of the IADR British Division from 2012-2015. From 2000-2001, she was the president of the IADR Nutrition Research Group. Providing further service to the IADR Scientific Groups and Networks, she was the vice president of the IADR Geriatric Oral Research Group from 2015-2016 and  became the president of the IADR Geriatric Oral Research Group at the conclusion of the 2017 IADR General Session. In 2016 she was invited to be on a 3-person international ballot to be elected to the Presidential succession for the organisation and was elected by her peers to this position.

She is now serving as the elected Vice President of the IADR from March 2017 and will subsequently serve as President Elect (2018-9), President (2019-20) and Immediate Past President 2021-22 during a four year term on the Board. She will have the distinct honour of being IADR President during its centennial year in 2020 and for its centennial meeting that year in Washington DC.

Professor Moynihan looks forward to being part of the IADR Board as it furthers its Mission to advance research and increase knowledge for the improvement of oral health worldwide; to support and represent the oral health research community; and to facilitate the communication and application of research findings.

 ‌  “Oral diseases are amongst the most prevalent diseases world-wide and have considerable impact on general health and wellbeing. As a professor of Nutrition and Oral Health I have experience of working at the interface of oral and general health. My vision is for IADR to become a key player in global non-communicable disease prevention, establishing and strengthening links with other organisations to promote research and support the strategies necessary to realize the full impact of sugars reduction - on not only oral health but on general health globally.”


Vice President Elect Paula Moynihan at IADR 2017

Student Successes

Staff Successes

Bob's Bike Ride

The police men approached menacingly one with a machine gun the other led by a growling guard dog. Bryn Thompson and I were waiting beneath Big Ben in the grounds of the Houses of Parliament. We were about to be officially launched on our 350-mile bike ride to raise money for the Eden Valley flood victims. Liz Truss, then Secretary of State for the Environment, had yet to arrive. We had already been frisked and our loaded bikes searched by security. Why then were armed police bearing down on us? I began to regret photographing the MI6 Building the night before when a battery of spook cameras swivelled round towards me; had I been identified as enemy of the State? Was arrest imminent? Would we ever get to Pooley Bridge where the two charities, Eden Flood Volunteers, and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Society, were to meet us in just over four days’ time on the 8th May? Well, as most of you know we made it and were ritually doused in the freezing river Eamont to launch the Charities’ fund raising cookbook “Up to Our Necks”. Thanks to all who donated – we raised over three thousand pounds, which has been a great blessing to the charities and the folk they support. Eden Valley Flood Volunteers is now a fledgling national organisation and you can read more about their work at and the charity cookbooks are still on sale at multiple outlets in the Lake District. Oh, and the armed police were cyclists keen to discuss our route.

They were satisfied – and so were we!


















Bob Wassell's charity bike ride

Founders & Benefactors

We are delighted to announce that this year’s Founders and Benefactors Lecture will be delivered by Richard Watt, Professor and Honorary Consultant in Dental Public Health, at University College London.

About the lecture

Over recent decades significant overall improvements have taken in oral health amongst children and young adults in the UK. These improvements in oral health have not however occurred across all sections of society. Oral health inequalities are now a major challenge in the UK. What is the best way to improve the oral health of socially disadvantaged and marginalized groups in society? This lecture will highlight the limitations of the traditional preventive model in tackling oral health inequalities and the need for a more radical public health approach.

 About the speaker

Richard Watt is Professor of Dental Public Health in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL.  He has also recently been appointed Director of Research and Development for Central North West London NHS Foundation Trust. He graduated in dentistry from the University of Edinburgh in 1984 and proceeded to study for an MSc and PhD in Dental Public Health at the University College London.

His research has focused on the social determinants of oral health inequalities and the development and evaluation of health improvement interventions. In 2014 he was awarded the IADR Distinguished Scientist Award for Behavioural, Epidemiologic and Health Services Research and in 2016 he was appointed as a NIHR Senior Investigator. He provides public health advice to a variety of organisations including Public Health England, NICE, FDI and WHO. He is co-author of Essential Dental Public Health and has more than 260 publications.

 Date and venue:

Friday 16th June 2017 at 16:30, RB Green Lecture Theatre, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University

Open and equally relevant to dental professionals and members of general public.

Join us for refreshment from 16:00


If you wish to attend the lecture, please register your interest with:

Magdalena Grainger at the School of Dental Sciences.

Email: , Tel: 0191 208 7898.


Prof Richard Watt

Alumni News