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Uncovering the saliva proteome in co-morbid chronic inflammatory diseases

School of Dentistry

About the Project

Chronic inflammatory diseases such as periodontitis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease share common risk factors and biological pathways. They are also increasing in prevalence due to an ageing population and are frequently found together as co- or multi-morbid diseases. Current research suggests that treatment of patients with co-morbid periodontal disease improves outcomes of the co-morbid chronic inflammatory systemic disease as well as the periodontal disease itself.

Saliva is rich in protein and glycoprotein species that are produced or modified by the mouth. There is already a rich history of using these components to stratify patients for a wide range of diseases. Characterising the protein/glycoprotein profile of saliva samples from patients with co-morbid disease may lead to objective stratification of risk groups, identification of novel disease pathways and also biochemical outcome measures of successful treatment. Thus, the aims of this project are to characterise and validate biomarkers in saliva biobanked from patients with co-morbid periodontal disease via mass spectrometry based proteomics and glycoprotein analysis.

There are three main aims within the PhD project:

First, building on expertise in saliva proteomics (1, 2), signatures of saliva proteomes will be identified by quantitative mass spectrometry techniques in our biobanked saliva from various co-morbid cohorts.

Secondly, the glycoprotein components of the same saliva samples will be quantified by reaction to glycoprotein arrays.

Thirdly, cross-validation of the candidate proteins will be made by using complimentary techniques such as ELISA or selected reaction monitoring (SRM)

Informatics techniques will be used to explore the datasets generated throughout the project.

Quantitative mass spectrometry, bioinformatics, glycoprotein arrays, sample preparation, high pressure liquid chromatography, ELISA

We will consider applications from prospective students with:
- a good biomedical, microbiology, biology or similar degree (minimum of a 2:1)
- a source of funding to cover tuition fees and bench fees.

For more information regarding the project, please contact Dr M. Grant on

For more information about the eligibility, programme, or the application process please contact


1. Grant MM, Creese AJ, Barr G, Ling MR, Scott AE, Matthews JB, Griffiths HR, Cooper HJ, Chapple IL. Proteomic analysis of a noninvasive human model of acute inflammation and its resolution: the twenty-one day gingivitis model. J Proteome Res. 2010 Sep 3;9(9):4732-44
2. Grant MM. What do 'omic technologies have to offer periodontal clinical practice in the future? J Periodontal Res. 2012 Feb;47(1):2-14

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