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Mapping the Spatial and Temporal Progression of Enamel Biomineralisation using Synchrotron X-ray Diffraction

Institute of Dentistry

About the Project


Human dental enamel formation begins in utero and for most teeth takes several years to complete. It is a complex biological, physicochemical process where mineralisation progresses heterogeneously in space and time. It results in an enamel tissue which is highly mineralized, and contains a hierarchical, anisotropic distribution of apatite crystallites. Lost enamel tissue cannot regenerate, therefore it is important to understand its mineralisation in an effort to design improved in vivo mineral growth processes for regenerative dentistry and allow the possibility to grow a synthetic whole or partial tooth. Primary and permanent human dental enamel samples across a range of developmental stages available through stored collections will be used to explore the spatial and temporal progression of enamel biomineralisation in order to advance clinical regenerative dentistry.

Synchrotron X-ray diffraction experiments will be carried out using the high-resolution, high intensity synchrotron x-ray micro- and nano- diffraction instrumentation available at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF, France); the Diamond Light Source (UK) therefore this is also an opportunity to be placed in a unique position to combine these two areas of science to be at the international forefront of an exciting emerging field of dental and skeletal tissue regeneration research using synchrotron techniques.


To inform regenerative dentistry technologies by producing a 4-D model to describe the complex spatial and temporal progression of human dental enamel biomineralisation and then use that model to develop in vitro mineral tissue formation routes which mimic human enamel and dentine development.

Person specification:

- a good biomedical, physical sciences, materials or similar degree (minimum of a 2:1)

How to apply

For more information regarding the project, please contact Dr Maisoon Al-Jawad ()

Applications should be submitted through the Queen Mary application system. Please indicate the project title and supervisor in the ‘Research Degree Programmes - Additional Questions’ section of the application.

Alongside the application form, please send the following supporting documents:
• Curriculum Vitae (CV)
• Copies of your degree certificates with transcripts
• Proof of English language ability for overseas applicants from non-English speaking countries
• A one-side A4 statement of purpose. This should set out your previous academic or other experience relevant to the proposed research; why you wish to undertake this research at QMUL; your previous research or professional training and what further training you think you will need to complete a PhD; and what ethical issues you will need to consider in undertaking this research.
• Two references. At least one reference must be from an academic referee who is in a position to comment on the standard of your academic work and suitability for postgraduate level study. Where appropriate, a second referee can provide comment on your professional experience.

Please contact with any queries about the application process.

Funding Notes

We will consider applications from prospective students with a source of funding to cover tuition fees and bench fees. Both self-funded and sponsored students will be considered.

UK and EU nationality self-funded students might be eligible for both the cost of tuition fees and a yearly stipend over the course of the PhD programme from the Student Finance England: View Website

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