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Tackling antibiotic seeking in behaviour in veterinary and dental practices

   Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

  , Dr Dynatra Subasinghe,  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Antimicrobial resistance is a global health and patient safety emergency driven by the unnecessary use of antimicrobial drugs. Dentistry is responsible for around 10% of antibiotics globally, with up to 80% unnecessary of inappropriate use. Similarly, veterinary medicine for companion animals (pets) is responsible for high rates of inappropriate prescribing, with one-in-four appointments for dogs and cats in the UK resulting with antibiotics. Importantly, studies have demonstrated the spread of antibiotic resistance from companion animals to humans. With 45% of UK households having a pet, this is an important route by antimicrobial resistant infections can transmit to humans. 

'One Health' is an approach to designing and implementing programmes, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes. Our previous research has identified synergies between factors influencing antibiotic prescribing by veterinary surgeons and dental surgeons working in high street practice. In particular, we are interested in synergies between the antibiotic seeking behaviour of adults for their children and their pets, in order to develop approaches to reducing antibiotic seeking behaviour. Differences also exist between these factors in low and middle income countries (LMIC). 


To identify and compare factors influencing antibiotic prescribing by vets in companion animal practice and dentists for children through a review(s) of the literature

To investigate how these factors influence antibiotic prescribing by vets in companion animal practice and dentists in UK and an LMIC, including a focus on antibiotic seeking behaviour by adults for their pets and/or children.

To develop an evidence-based, behaviour science informed antimicrobial stewardship intervention for use across OneHealth in both UK and an LMIC.

To test whether the intervention is acceptable for use in both UK and the LMIC.


This project will include a systematic review of the literature to identify factors influencing antimicrobial prescribing by vets for pets and dentists for children around the word. Next a pair of case study (one in the UK and another in a LMIC) will use surveys and qualitative interviews will seek to identify commonality in how these factors influence antimicrobial prescribing between the settings. Finally, an evidence-based, behaviour science-informed intervention will be developed to test whether it is acceptable for one intervention to optimise dental antibiotic prescribing across both veterinary and dental settings.

Entry Requirements

Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area / subject.  Candidates with experience in clinical dentistry or veterinary clinical practice with an interest in antimicrobial prescribing are encouraged to apply. 

How to Apply

For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website ( Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor.

Please select 'Dentistry' under academic programme when completing your online application. 

For international students, we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences. For more information please visit

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website

Mathematics (25) Medicine (26) Veterinary Sciences (35)

Funding Notes

Applications are invited from self-funded students. This project has a Band 2 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website View Website


Pomba C, Rantala M, Greko C, Baptiste KE, Catry B, van Duijkeren E, Mateus A, Moreno MA, Pyörälä S, Ružauskas M, Sanders P, Teale C, Threlfall EJ, Kunsagi Z, Torren-Edo J, Jukes H, Törneke K. Public health risk of antimicrobial resistance transfer from companion animals, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. 2017
King, C., Smith, M., Currie, K. et al. Exploring the behavioural drivers of veterinary surgeon antibiotic prescribing: a qualitative study of companion animal veterinary surgeons in the UK. BMC Vet Res. 2018
Thompson W, Tonkin-Crine S, Pavitt SH, McEachan RRC, Douglas GVA, Aggarwal VR, Sandoe JAT. Factors associated with antibiotic prescribing for adults with acute conditions: an umbrella review across primary care and a systematic review focusing on primary dental care, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 2019
Thompson W, Williams D, Pulcini C, Sanderson S, Calfron P, Verma, M. The essential role of the dental team in reducing antibiotic resistance. Geneva: FDI World Dental Federation; 2020.
Thompson W, Teoh L, Hubbard CC, Marra F, Patrick DM, Mamun A, Campbell A, Suda KJ. Patterns of dental antibiotic prescribing in 2017: Australia, England, United States, and British Columbia (Canada). Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2021

Register your interest for this project

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