University of Liverpool

University of Liverpool

Dental Microbiology

Oral microbiology is the study of the functioning of normally commensal microorganisms present in the oral cavity, and how their pathogenic properties may change to cause the common diseases of man i.e. caries and periodontitis (gum disease). In IGH the focus on oral microbes is centred on the virulence mechanisms of sub-gingival bacteria and their involvement in the pathogenesis of periodontal disease. The long term aims of such studies is to yield insights into potential for novel therapeutic strategies to treat gum disease. The course covers research in oral microbiology, encompassing studies of the pathogenic properties of sub-gingival Gram-negative anaerobes which are associated with initiation and progression of periodontal disease. One of the major focuses is on the black (haem)-pigmenting anaerobic bacteria (Porphyromonas gingivalis and Prevotella intermedia) and the role of haem as a central virulence up-regulator for these species. On-going projects include the roles of cysteine proteases (gingipains and interpains) and outer-membrane haem-binding haemophores in haem acquisition from host haem-proteins. Interest is also focussed upon the modulation virulence properties of the above organisms in the periodontal tissues of diabetics (who suffer from increase incidence and severity of gum disease) during chronic hyperglycaemia. Research interest has also been extended into understanding the role played by periodontal disease-causing anaerobes in lung infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) and how extracellular products from Pseudomonas aeruginosa may enhance the virulence of black-pigmenting anaerobes which are major co-infecting species in the lungs of CF patients.

Course modules

Assessment methods


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
PhD Full-time - 3 years
PhD Part-time - 6 years
MD Full-time - 3 years
MD Part-time - 6 years
MPhil Full-time - 2 years
MPhil Part-time - 4 years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
City Centre Campus Liverpool L3 5PS North West

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Key information

Postgraduate Recruitment
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0151 794 5927