Research which could shed some light on a painful oral and body condition has gained a national award for a PhD student.
Jonathan Davies, from the Plymouth University Peninsula School of Dentistry, won the Unilever Poster Prize; one of the key prizes awarded at the British Society of Oral and Dental Research (BSODR) 2017 annual conference held in Plymouth this month.
His poster and presentation focused on Primary Sjorgen’s Syndrome (PSS), a disease in which the immune cells attack the salivary glands, and discussed the use of stem cells in gland regeneration.
PSS currently has no known cure, and can lead to reduced glandular function and poor oral health.
By developing a 3D model of the salivary gland, Jon was able to investigate both the role that cells performed in the gland’s development and regeneration, and how these cells are affected by PSS. By eventually identifying how to start the regeneration mechanism, it could help to improve the quality of life for patients with the condition.
The Unilever prize is awarded for the best poster and presentation on an unpublished piece of research by a PhD or early career researcher, with the winner receiving £300 cash, and £3,000 to support research within the department the following year.
“It’s a real privilege to have received this award from the BSODR, and I’m delighted that the work has been recognised in this way. I’m really pleased that the grant will go towards supporting my final year of work, and I hope to have some results which could ultimately help to improve the quality of life for people suffering from PSS.”
Dr Bing Hu, Associate Professor in Oral and Dental Health Research in Peninsula Dental School, who is supervising Jon’s PhD, said:
“As well as the outstanding clinical practice that takes place in the Peninsula School of Dentistry, Jon’s work also highlights the significance of our lab-based research. We are very proud of his prize win, and are pleased that the money will be used to support him in the final year of his PhD.”
Professor Christopher Tredwin, Head of the Peninsula School of Dentistry, said:
“We are very proud of Jon’s prize, and it is that second time that a student from the Peninsula School of Dentistry has won it. It marks another milestone of the achievement of fundamental dental research in Plymouth, and it’s wonderful that it has been recognised nationally.”