PhD Basic Dental Sciences / Programme details
Year of entry: 2021
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Our PhD/MPhil Basic Dental Sciences programme enables you to undertake a research project that will improve understanding of Basic Dental Sciences.
Basic dental sciences is a large area covering craniofacial genetics, stem cell biology and craniofacial development.
We aim to understand the normal developmental mechanisms underlying craniofacial morphogenesis and how these are disturbed in a variety of birth defects.
Group research has identified genetic mutations underlying craniofacial malformations, including Treacher Collins syndrome, Van der Woude syndrome, amelogenesis imperfecta, and dentine dysplasia.
These findings have contributed to quality-of-life improvements as they have impacted directly on clinical management of affected families by providing the basis for genetic counselling internationally.
Stem cell biology
We use human embryonic stem cells (ESCs), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and cancer-derived stem cells (CSCs) to study the function of adhesion molecules in development, tumorigenesis and cancer cell metastasis.
The group has demonstrated that ESC differentiation is associated with an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) event that exhibits striking similarities to tumour cell metastasis.
The Ward group is based in state-of-the-art laboratories that include a dedicated facility for the derivation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC).
We study the regulation of gene expression in cranial neural crest development and differentiation. Changes in gene expression instruct the formation of organs and body parts during development and are mainly regulated at the transcriptional level.
The group has made important contributions to the understanding of the gene regulatory networks that control the formation of diverse cranial neural crest derivatives, including the middle and outer ear and the heart circulation.
All of our postgraduate research students attend the Doctoral Academy Training Programme delivered by the Centre for Academic and Researcher Development (CARD).
The programme provides key transferable skills in areas such as commercial awareness, academic writing and public engagement. This training equips our postgraduates with the tools to progress beyond their research degree into influential positions within academia, industry and consultancy.
The emphasis is on enhancing skills critical to developing early-stage researchers and professionals, whether they relate to effective communication, disseminating research findings and project management skills.See the training and development page for more information.
Teaching and learning
Applicants are specifically matched with a Primary Supervisor and individual project based on their research interests and background.