Funded (UK/EU and international students)

Project code



School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Start dates

October 2020

Application deadline

23 February 2020

This project is currently not accepting new applicants. View all of our current research projects.

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Science and Health, and will be supervised by Professor Darek Gorecki and Professor Chris Louca

This PhD studentship is one of six PhD studentships funded by the University of Portsmouth in the area of biomaterials and bioengineering. These studentships will support the University’s strategic plan engaging with clinicians working in Portsmouth Hospital Trust to solve real-life medical problems. The successful applicants would be part of a cross-faculty research cluster in medical technologies.

This programme of research involves several Schools based in the Faculty of Science and Health and the Faculty of Technology. The vision of the cluster is to train a cohort of PhD students who contribute to the academic environment, some of whom would be expected to develop academic careers in this expanding area whilst others would be employed in the growing international medical technologies industry. Training would be enhanced by extended visits to other institutions involved in similar research and by visits to hospitals to meet with clinicians involved in the research projects

The scholarship covers tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant of £15,009 (UKRI 2019/20 rate) for three years. Scholarship recipients will also receive up to £3,000 for research project costs/consumables during the duration of the programme.

The work on this project will offer a broad-spectrum training including:

  • Molecular and functional analyses of bacterial flora
  • Analyses of purinoceptors (ATP receptors)
  • Dental techniques

This is an interdisciplinary proposal between the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science, the Dental Academy and Faculty of Technology aimed at understanding the pathological mechanism behind the dental implant failure.

A proportion of dental implants fails due to infection that causes a chronic inflammatory process in the tissue surrounding the implant (peri-implantitis). This investigation aims to determine the interplay between bacteria and host’s purinergic (extracellular ATP) receptors known to trigger the inflammatory response in order to identify novel biomarkers of early peri-implantitis and innovative treatment targets for this disorder.

Early diagnosis and treatment optimisation will lead to better patient outcomes, less follow-up treatment and reduced costs. The PhD researcher will join a team using multidisciplinary approaches to analyse purinoceptor functions in health and disease. The work will involve collaboration with dental and engineering experts to study different implant designs and it offers training in a range of techniques including microbiology, receptor expression and function, biochemistry, cell culture in vitro and advanced visualisation methods (Portsmouth Zeiss Global Centre).

While the bulk of work will be done in Portsmouth, the PhD student will spend a short period at a collaborating laboratory.

Entry requirements

You will 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.

You would have studied one of the following subjects: microbiology, immunology, cell biology, biochemistry, pharmacology or a related area and you would be keen to learn new things.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Professor Goreki ( 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 PHBM4821020 when applying.