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University of Portsmouth Featured PhD Programmes
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Innovative Precision Remineralizing Technologies for Enamel Health

Faculty of Medicine and Health

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Prof Maisoon Al-Jawad , Dr H Chappell No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Leeds United Kingdom Biomedical Engineering Biophysics Nursing & Health Physical Chemistry

About the Project

Using 2D synchrotron X-ray diffraction (2DSXRD), we have developed a methodology to quantify the crystallographic and nano­scale structure of dental enamel in health and when compromised including the demineralising effects of dental hard tissue loss such as acid erosion. Dental enamel is made of needle-like crystallites of calcium phosphate which are highly aligned in a 3D architecture which makes enamel the hardest tissue in the human body. The aim of this project is to understand the structure-function relationship in this extreme biological material, and to develop a novel repair mechanism to optimise the control of guided crystal (re)growth, orientation and alignment, and recover appearance and mechanical function of enamel to maintain enamel health throughout a lifetime.

You will be trained in the use of synchrotron X­ray techniques, lab­-based tomography and microscopy techniques to obtain robust, reproducible, quantified, in situ characterisation of multiscale structure, mineral density, and mechanical changes that occur in enamel during remineralisation of enamel lesions. You will be trained to use molecular dynamics and first principles modelling to help elucidate experimental data and provide chemical detail, using both the national (EPSRC funded ARCHER2) and Leeds (ARC4) high performance computing facilities? allowing assessment of the mineral ‘quality’ in relation to natural enamel tissue. 

Project Impact

In this project you will be at forefront of developing our understanding of the relationship between crystallographic orientation, nanostructural changes and chemistry of dental enamel as a function of acid challenge and subsequent remineralisation protocols. The results will give us impactful and important advances in optimising enamel remineralisation, repair, and improve resistance to future acid challenges. In the wider context of national initiatives to tackle oral health issues it is a timely and important research project, which will enable the development of better-informed evidence based clinical protocols for the protection and repair of dental hard tissues.

This is an exciting opportunity to undertake a PhD at the University of Leeds in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline and the project will involve time spent at GSK which will provide industrial engagement and an insight in to careers in industry.


Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. This project would suit an applicant with a background in physics, engineering, material science, chemistry or biomedical sciences.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study.

The Faculty of Medicine and Health minimum requirements in IELTS and TOEFL tests are:

• British Council IELTS - score of 6.5 overall, with no element less than 6.0

• TOEFL iBT - overall score of 92 with the listening and reading element no less than 21, writing element no less than 22 and the speaking element no less than 23.

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the University's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the research degree you wish to be considered for is “Innovative Precision Remineralizing Technologies for Enamel Health” as well as Professor Maisoon Al-Jawad as your proposed supervisor.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements (below).

We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

For further information please contact the Faculty Graduate School [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This studentship is funded by the EPSRC Industrial Case Award 2021 in partnership with GSK. The award includes an enhanced annual tax-free stipend of £18,600 for year one (reviewed annually) and will be renewed for up to a maximum of 4 years, subject to satisfactory progress. It will cover tuition fees and a travel and consumables budget. 
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