Funded (UK/EU and international students)

Project code



School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Start dates

October 2024

Application deadline

8 January 2024 at 17:00 GMT

Applications are invited for a fully-funded four year PhD to commence in October 2024. 

This is a SoCoBio DTP industry co-funded PhD based in the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, and will be supervised by Dr Marta RoldoDr Mahdi Mutahar and Dr Roxane Bonithon from the University of Portsmouth and Rob Howlin, Andy Hunt and Olivia Pinel from industry partner, Haleon.

Successful applicants will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees for four years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£18,622 for 2023/24).

The work on this project could involve:

  • Understanding factors affecting the formation of oral biofilm and the composition of salivary pellicle
  • Comparing the effectiveness of different cleansing products on different oral materials
  • Investigating the mechanisms of action of various cleansing formulations and assess the impact of cleansing products on salivary pellicle formation
  • Development of improved denture care products


Denture wearers commonly experience pain, looseness, chewing difficulties, aesthetic concerns, and challenges in maintaining proper denture hygiene. Inadequate cleaning supports fungal or bacterial overgrowth which can lead to conditions like denture stomatitis and contribute to overall poor health. Dentures rest on an salivary film, pellicle, primarily composed of salivary proteins, which plays a vital role in denture retention and microbial colonisation. The composition of this salivary pellicle influences microorganism colonisation, as the pellicle provides specific attachment receptors for microorganisms.

In the context of elderly care, maintaining oral hygiene can be challenging, and there is a pressing need for methods that make it easier for the elderly to maintain good oral hygiene. Researchers have explored the development of antimicrobial dental materials, such as those embedded with silver nanoparticles or antibiotics, but the longterm effects of these materials on oral and general health remain unclear.

Our study aims to contribute to the development of improved denture care products that not only remove formed biofilm but also prevent its formation on dental materials. To achieve this, our research will focus on understanding factors affecting the composition of salivary pellicle, to exploit those factors that inhibit colonisation by biofilms.

This project holds the potential to significantly enhance the oral health and overall well-being of denture wearers. We have developed a methodology utilizing X-ray computed tomography to visualise and quantify biofilm formation and removal. We aim to compare the effectiveness of different cleansing products using this approach. Additionally, we will investigate the mechanisms of action of various cleansing formulations and assess the impact of cleansing products on salivary pellicle formation and composition through various analytical techniques. This comprehensive research effort will provide valuable insights into improving denture care and oral health maintenance.


Entry requirements

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 an appropriate subject. 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.

Good laboratory practical experience is desirable together with an understanding of basic chemistry and biology that will be further developed in the project.

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, you can use our online application form. 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.

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code PHBM8990124 when applying.Please note that email applications are not accepted.