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Potential Role of Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT) in Managing Oral Disease

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Milward
    Prof W Palin
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Applications are invited for a 3.5-year PhD Industrial CASE studentship within a multidisciplinary and integrative research team.

Oral diseases are the fourth most expensive disease group to treat (WHO, 2005). Periodontitis is extremely prevalent affecting 43% of the UK population and costs the UK NHS ~£2.8 billion per annum. Subsequent tooth loss significantly impacts on patients’ general wellbeing and periodontitis is associated with a range of systemic chronic inflammatory and debilitating diseases, e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Successful management of periodontitis can reduce tooth loss and improve systemic disease outcomes.
Photobiomodulation or low level light therapy (LLLT) utilises lasers or light emitting diodes (LEDs) which emit <500 mW power in the red to near infrared (NIR) spectrum (600-1100 nm) to promote tissue repair and reduce inflammation. LLLT is the subject of extensive scientific research worldwide, with a significant number of animal models and clinical studies demonstrating its beneficial healing effects in a range of chronic and acute diseases. However research into the beneficial effects of LLLT in the oral tissues is extremely limited.

This PhD studentship proposes to holistically investigate the biological impact of LLLT on cells and tissues important in periodontal disease pathogenesis to generate robust underpinning data for the future development of a novel device to deliver LLLT for disease management. Key facets and student training provided include (a) Photonics development and characterisation, (b) Molecular and cellular analysis for responses to LLLT, & (c) Microbiological studies into the actions of LLLT.

It is expected that research outcomes from this study will be presented at both national and international conferences and published in high-impact, cross-disciplinary scientific journals.

Funding Notes

To be eligible for this Studentship award (stipend and university fees) you must have:
• Settled status in the UK.
• Been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for three years prior to the start of the studentship.
• Not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK or EU nationals).

Students from EU countries other than the UK are generally eligible for a fees-only award. To be eligible for a fees-only award, a student must be ordinarily resident in a member state of the EU.


Developments in low level light therapy (LLLT) for dentistry. Carroll JD, Milward MR, Cooper PR, Hadis M, Palin WM. Dent Mater. 2014; 30:465-75

Low level light therapy (LLLT) for the treatment and management of dental and oral diseases. Michael R Milward, Michelle J Holder, William M Palin, Mohammed A Hadis, James D Carroll, Paul R Cooper. Dental Update 2014 in press

Effects of red light-emitting diode irradiation on dental pulp cells. Holder MJ, Milward MR, Palin WM, Hadis MA, Cooper PR. J Dent Res. 2012 Oct;91(10):961-6. Epub 2012 Aug 9

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 15.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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