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 risk factors for periodontitis, notably smoking and diabetes. I am a UK Department of Health/MRC National Clinician Scientist 2004-2009, funded to undertake research into the immunobiology of periodontal disease
Chairman of the Newcastle and North Tyneside II Research Ethics Committee.
Honorary Secretary of the British Society of Periodontology (from November 2007).
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)
International Academy of Periodontology (IAP)
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 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. My research group has recently identified a very high proportion (>20%) of local young adults with type 1 diabetes who also have aggressive periodontitis. By contrast, the prevalence rate for aggressive periodontitis in the general UK adult population is estimated to be less than 1%.
In addition to diabetes, another significant risk factor for periodontal disease is smoking. We have shown that quitting smoking results in significant improvements in periodontal health, which helps to reinforce the anti-smoking message.
I am also involved in research to investigate associations between gene polymorphisms and susceptibility to periodontal diseases. The aim of these studies is to identify genetic markers that increase the likelihood of a person developing periodontal disease so that preventive strategies can be instituted at an early age.
Diabetes is a significant risk factor for periodontal disease, and periodontal disease has been described as the 6th complication of diabetes. We are investigating the immunobiology of periodontal disease in diabetic and non-diabetic populations, particularly responses of myeloid cells and keratinocytes to cytokine stimulation or challenge with LPS from periodontal pathogens. These studies will improve our understanding of periodontal pathogenesis and the importance of the so-called hyper-inflammatory phenotype, and may lead to potential therapeutic targets for treating disease. We are also investigating the role that adipokines may play in increasing susceptibility to periodontal disease in people with diabetes. Adipokines are cytokines secreted by adipose tissue which may modify periodontal inflammatory responses, thereby contributing to periodontal breakdown.
I have recently completed a major multi-centre clinical trial of a novel formulation of subantimicrobial dose doxycycline as an adjunctive treatment for periodontal disease. Subantimicrobial doxycycline exerts an anti-inflammatory effect by inhibiting the activity of matrix metalloproteinases in inflamed periodontal tissues and significantly improves treatment outcomes when used as an adjunct to periodontal non-surgical therapy. This research is about to be published in the Journal of Periodontology.
My research into the extent and severity of periodontal disease in patients with diabetes will continue. In addition to the clinical aspects of this research, biological samples are also gathered from these patients for analysis of key markers of inflammation using highly sensitive array techniques. These studies will contribute to our understanding of the inflammatory processes that are relevant in periodontal disease both in people with diabetes, and those who do not have diabetes. We will also expand our research into the interactions between periodontal bacteria and their products and the inflammatory responses of keratinocytes. This is an important area of research as keratinocytes lining the periodontal pocket are in very close contact with the subgingival biofilm. We will also continue to expand our studies of the role of novel cytokines in periodontal pathogenesis, a particularly exciting area of research as little is known of the properties of these inflammatory mediators.
Current postgraduate students are working on different aspects of periodontal pathogenesis, including keratinocyte responses to cytokines and bacterial products, the role of novel cytokines and adipokines in periodontal pathogenesis, clinical studies of periodontal disease in patients with diabetes, and the impact of periodontal disease and treatment on quality of life.
Current postgraduate supervision includes 4 PhD students and 1 MSc student, with 4 MSc and 3 MPhil projects successfully completed.
2008: 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.
£1.2 million as Principal Investigator (US$2.2 million)
£1.9 million as PI or Co-I (US$3.5 million)
Research has been funded by the Department of Health (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.