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FULLY FUNDED PHD: Testing of Immobilised Phage as Candidates for Treating Canine Periodontitis

   College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences

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  Dr M Riggio  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project


Glasgow Dental School in collaboration with colleagues at Fixed Phage (Glasgow) is seeking applications from candidates for a PhD project entitled “Testing of Immobilised Phage as Candidates for Treating Canine Periodontitis”. Applicants must be UK-based and should demonstrate an interest and understanding in biofilms and their involvement in veterinary oral disease. The PhD study is funded by Fixed Phage for 36 months.

Canine periodontitis is a bacterial infection of the mouth of dogs. There are four stages of periodontal disease, progressing from plaque and mildly inflamed gums to established gingivitis (gum disease), and then on to mild and ultimately severe periodontitis, which may involve bone and/or tooth loss.  Clinical management of this disease is extremely difficult and challenging. There is, therefore, an urgent requirement for improved treatment and prevention methods of canine oral diseases and a general requirement to improve the oral health of dogs. The inclusion in dog food of active agents that can prevent or disrupt biofilm formation in the oral cavity is a key strategy for improving canine oral health.

Bacteriophages (“phages”) are natural antibacterial agents that infect and kill specific bacteria but are completely inert in humans, animals and plants. They have been proposed as methods of controlling unwanted bacteria in several fields, including food, agriculture and human and animal health. The aim of the project is to develop and test a commercial product which uses immobilised phages to reduce the incidence of periodontal disease in dogs. This project will develop multi-species biofilms associated with canine oral health and disease, based upon our knowledge of the  bacteria associated with canine periodontitis. A high throughput biofilm assay platform capable of testing the efficacy of phage products will be developed and used to assess bactericidal properties of phage-based bioactive agents against complex biofilms. The concept of the study is to provide a simple platform for a complex problem, using easily quantifiable parameters that enables rapid and reproducible biofilm testing, with the capacity for bespoke model iterations. In particular, we will use biofilm models that reflect the healthy and diseased canine oral cavity, adapting state-of-the-art technologies as a means of validating the reproducibility of multispecies biofilms.

This project is an innovative industry-led proposal that aims to undertake a translational approach to develop reproducible complex multi-species biofilm models that have the capacity to be used for the rapid assessment of bioactive molecules in canine oral health. This is a joint application between a local SME with a patent protected, innovative antibacterial technology and the University of Glasgow, which provides experience and resources in the development and use of complex multispecies biofilm models.

If you would like to informally discuss the project or require further information, please contact Professor Marcello Riggio: [Email Address Removed]


Candidates must have a First Class or 2(ii) degree in Microbiology or a related Life Sciences subject or an MSc in a similar discipline.

Funding Notes

Starting at £15,609 and rising according to standard MRC rates.
Start date: Immediately
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