Dr Louise Belfield

Dr Louise Belfield

Lecturer in Biomedical Science

Peninsula Dental School (Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry)


In April 2013 I was appointed as lecturer in biomedical sciences at the Dental School, where I am involved in the planning and delivery of the new, 5 year BDS degree, leading the scientific curriculum for integrated BSc (hons) Dental Therapy and Hygiene programme, and carrying out research in oral immunology.

I first became involved with Dentistry when I began working as a dental nurse in 2001, spending 3 years in general practice, followed by 4 years working as a locum in dental specialties at South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.  I have always been fascinated by how bacteria in the mouth can exert effects in other sites in the body, and so both my undergraduate dissertation and my PhD focused on the role of one particular bacterium, Porphyromonas gingivalis, in modulating the host immune response. I continue to study the role of this particular bacterium in oral and systemic diseases.


2001 - NEBDN National Certificate in Dental Nursing
2008 - BSc (Hons) Human Biosciences
2013 - PhD "Interaction between pathogenic bacteria and macrophages in oral pathology"
2014 - Post graduate Certificate in Clinical Education

Professional membership

International Association for Dental Research

British Society for Oral and Dental Research
British Microcirculation Society

Teaching interests

My subject specialties are:
  • Biomedical Sciences including immunology, cell biology, cell signalling and microbiology. 
  • Inter-professional education for undergraduate dental professions.

My current roles within the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry include: 

  • Module lead: Integrated Dental Science, BSc Dental Therapy and Hygiene
  • Lecturer: Bachelor of Dental Surgery, BSc (hons) Biomedical Sciences, BSc (hons) Nutrition, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery.
  • Curriculum development (Science): Developing the UKs first, fully integrated DTH programme.

Research interests

Current research focuses on both scientific and educational elements required for excellence in research informed teaching. My major research interests lie in how oral bacteria can modulate the normal function of the immune system and drive conditions that lead to development of oral diseases, such as chronic periodontitis and oral cancer.

Current projects include: 
  • Modulation of osteoclast differentiation and activity by endotoxin tolerance
  • Modelling single infections and dual biofilms of Candida albicans and Staphylococcus aureus on threedimensional oral mucosal models
  • Effects of mechanical strain on mesenchymal stem cell fate
  • Regulation of tumour angiogenesis in response to periodontal bacteria
  • Investigating the role of the oral microbiome in regulation of blood pressure

Zahra D, Belfield LA. Mcilwaine C, Bennett, J & Zaric S. the benefits of integrating dental and dental therapy & hygiene students in Undergraduate Curricula. European Journal of Dental Education. In press.

Belfield LA, Bennett JH, Abate W, Jackson SJExposure to Porphyromonas gingivalis LPS during macrophage polarisation leads to diminished inflammatory cytokine production. Arch. Oral. Biol. 2017 Sep;81:41-47.

Zaric, S. and Belfield, L (2015) Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) with Immediate Feedback in Early (Pre-clinical) stages of the Dental Curriculum). Creative Education, 6, 585-593

Merry R, Belfield L, McArdle P, McLennan A, Crean S, Foey A. Oral health and pathology: a macrophage account.Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2012 Jan;50(1):2-7.