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KESS2 East PhD in Dentistry: Developing novel technologies to model the effects of therapies on bacterial biofilms

This funding opportunity has expired.

Key facts

Application deadline 15 July 2019
Start date 1 October 2019
Duration 3 years
Funding body KESS
Level of study Postgraduate research
Award type PhD studentship
Number of studentships 1

This PhD scholarship is an exciting opportunity working in translational research between Cardiff University and the Biopharmaceutical Company AlgiPharma AS.  Based in Cardiff the project is part of an established international MucosAlg programme of research across the EU; allowing the appropriate individual the opportunity to work in both the University setting in the UK and Norway as well as gain practical experience in working with the industrial partner.

Background to project

This is a fully-funded applied PhD, working between the Schools of Pharmacy and Dentistry, together with AlgiPharma AS (a Norwegian Biopharmaceutical Company.

This Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS) project will be administered in the School of Dentistry at Cardiff University. KESS is a programme funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) awarded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) in the Welsh Government. The PhD is a partnership between Cardiff University and AlgiPharma AS, who are the industry partner and sponsors of the study.

The PhD student will be principally based in Cardiff within the Advanced Therapies Group at the School of Dentistry and the School of Pharmacy. Here the student will be working with a team of pharmacists, clinicians, microbiologists, and engineers, evaluating novel model systems to study the interactions of agents derived from alginate oligosaccharides on bacterial and mucin biofilms.

Project aims

The overall aim of this study is to design and deliver novel structures which can be employed in medicine to disrupt polymer matrix biofilms (in bacterial biofilms and mucin) and develop the tools to inform this design.

The specific objectives are to:

  • Develop novel nanomedicine approaches to facilitate the delivery of drugs and proteins across the bacterial biofilm and mucin barrier;
  • Develop new biofilm model systems in which the effect of candidate agents can be tested;
  • Working with the industrial and academic partners in the UK and Norway, inform the design and delivery of novel nano-scale structures for pre-clinical testing;

In this project the candidate will develop biofilm models and nanoparticle tracking systems; employing state-of-the-art imaging facilities, to characterize these interactions at a cellular and molecular level.


  • David Thomas

    Professor Dave W Thomas

    Professor/Hon Consultant in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Programme Director Implant Dentistry, Director Wales Integrated Academic Training programme in Dentistry, School of Dentistry, URI Innovation Lead

  • Dr Lydia Powell

    Research Associate

  • Mark Gumbleton

    Professor Mark Gumbleton

    Professor of Experimental Therapeutics and Head of School, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Funding details

Tuition fee support Full UK/EU tuition fees
Maintenance stipend Doctoral stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum

Eligibility criteria

Residency Applicants for these awards must have a home or work address in the relevant area* of Wales (East or West) at the time of their application for funding and enrolment.
Academic criteria

Applicants for research PhDs will be expected to have one or both of the following; a first degree, normally with class 2:1 or equivalent in a relevant subject; a relevant master's degree qualification or equivalent.

Applicants must:

  • have the right to work in the UK on completion of the scholarship
  • be classified as a ‘home’ or ‘EU’ student
  • satisfy the respective admissions criteria

It is a condition of eligibility for KESS2 funding that you have not applied for, nor are intending to apply for, a doctoral or research master's loan. Please read clause (3) (m) of The Education (Postgraduate Doctoral Degree Loans) (Wales) Regulations 2018 for more information.

*East Wales region is comprised of seven local authorities: Cardiff, Flintshire, Monmouthshire, Newport, Powys, Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham.


In the first instance, applicants should make initial enquiries via the named School / academic supervisor for each funded KESS2 project.  All applicants must apply initially to the Doctor of Philosophy in Dentistry identifying the KESS2 Scholarship they wish to be considered for.

If deemed suitable for the project, applicants will be invited to complete a ‘KESS2 Participant Form’ which assesses eligibility for funding. Applicants must also be able to provide supporting documentary evidence of their eligibility. Guidance on this requirement is outlined in the KESS2 Participant Form, an example of which can be downloaded as above. Suitable applicants will be sent this form to complete following the School selection process.  Further advice is available from the KESS2 team.

We reserve the right to close applications early should sufficient applications be received.


Funding opportunity provided by:

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Eligible research programmes