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Antibiotic loaded calcium phosphates to address unmet clinical needs in orthopaedic and dental surgery

Project Description

Bone infections, including those associated with medical devices such as artificial hips and craniofacial implants, represent a major and growing clinical challenge. Current solutions include the use of systemic antibiotics and/or relatively crude technologies with significant limitations that are associated with relatively poor prognoses. The negative consequences are significant, with many patients suffering pain and loss of mobility, and hospital beds utilised for several weeks with huge expenses to the NHS. There is a major unmet clinical need for innovation in both the prevention of - and treatments for - deep bone infection, in particular where associated with medical devices. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers at Sheffield have identified a number of new technologies that have the potential to substantially improve upon current treatments. The objective of this project is to investigate these and take forward those that offer the most promise. Specifically, antibiotics will be incorporated into novel artificial bone-like materials while retaining the ability of these biomaterials to promote bone regeneration and at the same time combating infection. On completion, this research will contribute to the development of a new generation of multi-functional biomaterials to address the growing healthcare burden of bone infections.

Calcium phosphate (CaP) bone graft substitutes are used widely in the repair and regeneration of surgical defects in dentistry, oral surgery, and orthopaedics. The calcium phosphates themselves are used in a variety of forms including porous granules and injectable pastes (formed using nanoscale materials). While these devices are associated with bone tissue regeneration, they have no intrinsic antimicrobial activity and are therefore of no value in the treatment of deep bone infections. The aim of this research is to carry out a systematic study of the combination of antibiotics with a range of calcium phosphate biomaterials, to test their release and antimicrobial activity, and to identify the best ways to load these devices to address the growing and serious clinical challenge of bone infection.

Funding Notes

These studentships will be 42 months in duration, and include home fee and stipend at UKRI rate.

Candidates should have a first or upper second class honours degree or equivalent, in a relevant subject.


Interested candidates should in the first instance contact Dr Cheryl Miller ([email protected])

How to apply:
Please complete a University Postgraduate Research Application form available here:

Please clearly state the prospective main supervisor in the respective box and select 'Dentistry' as the department.

Deadline for applications is 5pm on Wednesday 29th January 2020. Late applications will not be accepted. Interviews are scheduled to be held on Tuesday 25th February 2020.

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