Project code



School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Start dates

October, February and April

Application deadline

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD project.

The PhD will be based in the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences and will be supervised by Dr Marta Roldo, Professor Gordon Blunn and Dr Mahdi Mutahar.


The work on this project will:

  • Fully characterise novel multifunctional surfaces produced by our collaborators including advanced physicochemical characterisation techniques and analysing the release profile of antimicrobial agents such as metal ions.
  • Focus on the study of the inhibition of biofilm formation on these multifunctional surfaces using both a standard oral inoculum and pooled saliva inoculum.
  • Focus on the study of cell compatibility and adhesion of osteoblast and gingival fibroblasts.
  • Provide the candidate with the opportunity to learn a wide range of techniques for biomaterials characterisation, work with an industrial partner and spend time in industry exploring different roles.

The project aims to study different surface modification treatments developed on titanium implantable devices for dental applications. The design strategy is to provide multi-responsive functionality to the implant surfaces to address different predictable and unpredictable situations arising after implantation, aimed at preserving the optimal working conditions of the implanted device in the short, medium and long term.

The complex oral microflora contains a variety of pathogens that can cause periimplantitis. Bacterial adhesion is the first and most important step in implant infection. It is a complex process influenced by environmental factors, bacterial properties, material surface properties and by the formation of the pellicle.

Implant-associated infections are the result of bacterial adhesion to an implant surface and subsequent biofilm formation. Formation of biofilm takes place in several stages, starting with surface attachment, followed by multilayered bacterial cell proliferation and intercellular adhesion matrix. Bacterial communities on these surfaces represent a reservoir of bacteria that can be shed into the body, leading to a chronic infection. Biofilm bacteria are frequently resistant to the host defences and treatment with antibiotics and are therefore difficult to eliminate with conventional antimicrobial therapies. Therefore, a chronic inflammatory response and persistence of the colonising pathogen can be observed. Biofilm formation also hinders attachment of both hard and soft tissues to the surface of the implant leading to implant non-integration, instability and failure. The focus of this PhD project will on the characterisation and testing of novel multifunctional materials able to prevent bioflim formation and favour soft tissue integration in dental applications.


Fees and funding

Visit the research subject area page for fees and funding information for this project.

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only. 

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only – eligibility criteria apply).

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Bench fees of £8,000 p/a also apply for this particular project. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Entry Requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in biomedical sciences, immunology, microbiology or a related area. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Marta Roldo  ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Biomedical Sciences PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

When applying please quote project code:PHBM5251024