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Modelling of Oral Neutrophil Epithelial interactions

   Institute of Dentistry

About the Project

Background and Clinical Significance:

Neutrophils are an important and vital cellular component of the innate immune system providing rapid protection against microbial invasion. As phagocytes they are recruited to sites of injury or inflammation by IL-8, TNF-α, C5a, or bacterial LPS and work with a multitude of other host cells and additional signal proteins to fight infection and then regain a state of system homeostasis. Maintaining this balance is essential, as neutrophils contain potent proteolytic enzymes and have the potential to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) which when released into the local environment can cause cellular destruction indiscriminately to a pathogen or host. Intense levels of neutrophil transepithelial migration leads to multifocal wounds and decreased epithelial barrier function in intestinal and bronchial epithelial monolayers however there is a lack of detailed knowledge of the processes and effects of neutrophil transmigration through the oral epithelium at a cellular level. This is a key event of the innate immune system which is, normally, beneficial but when responses become excessive or unregulated this can lead to pathology as seen in oral inflammatory diseases such as periodontitis.


To develop and use a 3D organotypic model using normal oral epithelial cell lines to closely represent the anatomical complexity of the oral epithelium to study:
• Epithelial damage by transmigrating neutrophils
• Epithelial barrier function and neutrophil transmigration
• Apoptosis and neutrophil transepithelial transmigration
• Proteases in the regulation of transepithelial migration and epithelial injury
• Epithelial ligands for neutrophil transepithelial migration

Research environment:

Queen Mary University of London is a highly-ranked research university and a member of the UK’s Russell Group of leading universities. The project will be carried out at the Institute of Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, in the state of the art Blizard Building.

How to apply

For more information regarding the project, please contact Dr Eleni Hagi-Pavli ()

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

Person specification:
Projects would suit a candidate with BDS and preferably an MSc degree where their research dissertation demonstrates the ability to carry out an independent laboratory based research project. Candidates with a minimum of 2:1 in Biomedical Sciences, Biochemistry, Biology or Pharmacology are also welcome to apply.

Funding notes:
We will consider applications from prospective students with 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 from the Student Finance England: View Website

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