Association between periodontal disease and diabetic foot ulcers PhD studentship

A PhD studentship opportunity is available in the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences at UWE Bristol, co-funded by CEMAG Consulting and Aryballe Technologies (France). The studentship is supported with a living stipend and tuition fees at home/EU rates.

The closing date for applications is Friday 3 August 2018.

About the studentship

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in the UK and its prevalence is increasing. In 2013, there were almost 2.9 million people in the UK diagnosed with the disease. Foot complications are common in people with diabetes and it is estimated that 10% of patients will have a diabetic foot ulcer at some point in their lives. Diabetes is the most common cause of non-traumatic limb amputation, with diabetic foot ulcers preceding more than 80% of amputations in people with diabetes (Source: NICE).

Periodontal disease affecting the gum and bone supporting the teeth is another complication that can affect patients with diabetes. It is estimated that one in three diabetics suffer from periodontitis. There is now an increased emphasis on the two-way relationship between diabetes and periodontitis. There is a growing evidence that periodontitis can have a negative effect on glycaemic control. It has been postulated that periodontal disease may serve as indicator or propagator of insulin resistance in a way similar to obesity.

The project is focused on:

  1. To monitor bacteria on the skin and gum of patients with diabetes and healthy individuals.
  2. To directly measure the volatile organic compounds (VOC) profile produced by bacteria using the NeOse portable device validated with SIFT-MS.
  3. To assess the sensitivity or resistance to antibiotics through VOC produced by bacterial metabolism.
  4. To combine the VOC data with existing genomics data on the gut microbiome using bioinformatics tools.

This study will involve assessing clinical trial results as well as setting up in vitro perfusion biofilm systems. The ultimate aim of this project is to help prevent diabetic foot and periodontal problems and to improve their management.

Funding details

The studentship will start on Monday 1 October 2018 and consists of an annual tax-free stipend of £14,777, subject to satisfactory progress, for three years. In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for the length of the funding period.

The studentship will only fully fund applicants who are eligible for home/EU fees. Applicants who are normally required to cover international fees will have to cover the difference between the home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates.

Eligibility criteria

We are looking for a self-motivated researcher with strong organisational, technical and analytical skills to address the overall aims of the project in an innovative manner.

Students are expected to have a minimum of an upper second class honours degree in a relevant discipline (eg biomedical sciences) and to have undertaken a relevant laboratory-based research project at undergraduate or postgraduate level.

A recognised English language qualification is required. 

How to apply

Download and complete the Graduate School studentship application form and send it directly to the UWE Bristol Graduate School. Please ensure you include the title of the research project you propose to undertake, and detail why you are interested in undertaking this PhD project and what relevant knowledge, experience and qualifications you would bring to the research. Please see the Graduate School studentship application guidance notes for further information about how to complete the application form.

Please also complete the Equal Opportunities monitoring form and complete the first section of the Graduate School application reference sheet before sending to your nominated referees.

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email Dr Saliha Saad at

Closing date

The closing date for applications is Friday 3 August 2018.

Further information

The interview is planned to take place on Thursday 9 August 2018. If you have not heard from us by Thursday 9 August 2018, we thank you for your application, but do not wish to pursue it on this occasion.

The start date of this PhD studentship is Monday 1 October 2018.

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