National prize win for dental PhD student

Professor Rachel Waddington from the School of Dentistry in Cardiff University, Jonathan Davies; PhD student in Peninsula School of Dentistry; Professor Mike Lewis, President of the BSODR


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The Unilever prize is awarded for the best poster and presentation on an unpublished piece of research by a PhD or early career researcher, with the winner receiving £300 cash, and £3,000 to support research within the department the following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.

Jonathan said: 

“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.”

Peninsula School of Dentistry

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British Society for Oral and Dental Research (BSODR)

The British Society for Oral and Dental Research (BSODR) was formed to advance research and increase knowledge for the improvement of oral health in the United Kingdom.

Its primary objectives are:

  • To support and represent the oral health research community in the UK.
  • To encourage junior workers to become involved in oral and dental research.
  • To facilitate the dissemination and application of research findings relating to oral health and the interactions between oral and systemic health.

Now, the BSODR meets on an annual basis. Meetings alternate between the UK and a joint meeting with our PER partners.

Visit the British Society for Oral and Dental Research website.