Fully funded PhD studentship available

We are pleased to be able to offer a fully funded PhD project, with joint funding from GSK and now invite applications for a project on the following:

Mechanisms of bacterial community dynamics in oral biofilms.

The composition of oral microbial communities within dental plaque has long been understood as key to maintenance of oral health, with disruptions contributing to health perturbation.

One key factor in the build up of oral plaque is the ability of the organisms in the microbiota to interact both with each other but also human surfaces, i.e. teeth and the mucosal secretions coating them.  While often overlooked these surfaces are coated with complex glycoprotein-rich secretions, namely saliva on the exposed tooth surfaces and gingival crevicular fluid in the case of sub-gingival surfaces.  Therefore, the ability of oral bacteria to adhere to and in some cases utilize sialloglycans, is key to colonization and in some cases nutrition of oral bacteria.  The presence of a mature biofilm is associated with periodontal disease, and a better understanding of the nutritional interactions in these microbial communities may lead to novel oral disease preventive interventions.  

The recent work of the team in Sheffield, led by Dr Stafford, has revealed the importance of glycosidase activity and the reliance of some of these harmful anaerobic bacteria on the sugars contained on the termini of human glycoprotein glycans, particularly Sialic acid.  Using a set of in vitro ‘wild’ biofilm communities and a wealth of experience and depth of resource (e.g. inhibitors, mutants, lectin reagents and glycan profiling), in combination with 16S rRNA gene microbiota analysis (with Prof William Wade, UCL, collaborator) alongside access to unique ‘health-associated’ species, we propose to examine the role of glycoprotein derived factors in these community dynamics.

We invite applications from talented, committed and enthusiastic candidates holding or expecting to hold at least a 2:1 BSc in a relevant subject to join a vibrant and forward-looking group in Sheffield.  Please contact Dr G Stafford informally for more information.  Apply via the university portal (http://www.shef.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/apply) by 28th Feb, 2017.

This project is part-sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline Oral consumer healthcare (supervisors Dr John Pratten, and Dr David Bradshaw) and the University of Sheffield Healthcare Gateway and will present the opportunity to interact with and visit GSK during the course of the project.  As part of the work you would gain a broad microbiological training alongside molecular techniques such as qPCR and 16S rRNA gene microbiota sequencing.

Studentships provide UK/EU Fees plus standard RCUK stipend (£14,553) and a Research Training support grant for the 3 years of the PhD.

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Apply at: http://www.shef.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/apply (indicating School of Clinical Dentistry, Dr Graham Stafford) by 28th Feb, 2017

More info: http://www.stafford.group.shef.ac.uk/







BSODR-OMIG meeting, Feb 8th, 2017 - Marianne Satur wins Postgraduate 3-minute talk prize

On 8th Feb 2017, Sheffield hosted the Postgraduate Research Prize symposium for the Oral Microbiology and Immunology Group of the BSODR, organised by Dr Graham Stafford.  The meeting was very well attended with over 50 attendees and a range of excellent talks. The standard of science was excellent with talks on a wide range of topics, ranging from periodontal microbiology to cariology of horses!

We had a UK-wide attendance from all-corners of the UK, including the most southern travellers from Plymouth and northern from Glasgow.

Marianne Satur, PhD student (yr 1) under the supervision of Graham Stafford and John Rafferty (MBB) won the prize for best 3-minute talk on her work on Biotechnological exploitation of the oral enzyme repertoire while, Spryidoula Nikoou from Kings College London won the long talk prize on her work on the newly identified toxin Candidalysin under the supervision of Julian Naglik.

We also marked the retirement of Professor Ian Douglas at this occasion with the presentation of a special photographic framing of some of his classic work on Proteus mirabilis at the end of the meeting- no dry eyes in the house (well at least from the organiser).  It has been truly a privilege to work with Professor Douglas, who formerly served as a president of OMIG and organised the 2011 BSODR in Sheffield amoung many other notable achievements.


Three Musketeers pass PhDs (pending minor corrections)!

A huge well done to new Drs Andy Frey, Dr Kate Naylor and Dr Charlotte Green for passing their Vivas with flying colours, who are all now proud owners of their doctoral spatulas (It's a group thing). They all had nice rigourous vivas with examiners drawn from the University of Cambridge, Trinity college-Dublin and the University of Glasgow. Very well deserved! They have all contributed so much to the group and are an example to all.

Charlotte has already secured a post doc position at the University of Nottingham with Professor Gill Stephens on a synthetic biology project aimed at engineering E.coli to resist toxic compounds key to industrial biotechnology.  We wish her the best of luck and are very sad to see her go, but look forward to hearing all about the future.

Luckily, we don’t have to say goodbye to Kate and Andy just yet as  Kate has taken a step sideways and is working with the Colgate team, supervised by Simon Whawell, Helen Colley and Craig Murdoch on a project utilising her microbiology and tissue culture skills and learning some 3D-model skills.

Andy is staying put also for now, continuing to work with Graham on an MRC Proximity to Discovery grant with PhytoQuest UK, testing novel plant derived antimicrobial compounds.  

The team are pictured here on the night of Charlotte’s viva after an orange squash or two in the aptly named ‘Wick at both Ends’.  Watch this space for papers….

Oh, and Andy... busy man: http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/wylam-wood-proposal-mystery-solved-12242578 

Sheffield to host OMIG Postgraduate Symposium 2017












OMIG is pleased to announce details of the OMIG Postgraduate Research Prize
Symposium 2017.

This will be held at the School of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sheffield on
Wednesday 8th February 2017 from 12.00pm to 5.00pm.

Registration will be free and can be recorded via this Google form link.


The idea of the meeting is to allow PhD, MSc and other early career researchers in the
fields of oral microbiology, oral immunology and related fields to present their work
(often for the first time) in a friendly and stimulating environment.

OMIG therefore warmly invites postgraduate research students in oral microbiology,
oral immunology or related field to attend and present their work in two formats:
1). 15-minute oral presentations. Please submit a title and 300-word abstract by
Monday 19th December 2016 (IADR format - may suit later stage PhD students).
2). 3-minute flash presentations (maximum of four slides). Please submit a title and
100-word abstract by Monday 19th December 2016 (may suit early stage PhD

Please send all abstracts to Dr Graham Stafford: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Students and supervisors are all welcome to attend, whether presenting or not, to get
together and discuss oral microbiology and immunology in a friendly atmosphere.

All accepted speakers will be contacted by Monday 9th January 2017 to confirm

OMIG will award a prize for the best oral presentation in each category.

Please register your interest in attending the meeting by contacting Dr G Stafford:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
S10 2TA

From Sheffield train station: 15-minute taxi ride OR 30-minute walk (uphill…. take


Supertram to University Stop and a 10-minute walk.
Google map link:

Andy Frey wins 3rd Prize at the MicroSoc-YMOY competition

ymoyThis September saw Andy Frey selected for the final of the Young Microbiologist of the Year competition.  Run by the UKs, highly esteemed Microbiology Society (formerly the SGM), he was selected into a final of 6 from an entry of over 600. 

Andy gave an excellent talk alongside the other finalists and won a very respectable 3rd prize which was awarded in a lovely evening event at the Hunterian museum in London.  He is pictured here after a glass of fizz with his certificate and supervisor, Graham Stafford.  His thesis is in now and we hope papers to come and a successful PhD viva to come.

Congratulations on Kates First paper

Many, many congratulations to Kate Naylor, whose paper entitled "Role of OmpA2 surface regions of Porphyromonas gingivalis in host-pathogen interactions with oral epithelial cells" was published in September in MicrobiologyOpen Journal.OmpA2 mutants, TEM

The paper contains a very nice dataset that represents a great amount of work from Kate and i for one am very proud of her and the paper- also my first lead paper on P. gingivalis.  In the paper we describe the role of OmpA and its individual subunits in the interaction of P. gingivalis with oral cells. In particular, we observe that OmpA2-loop 4 plays an important role in the interaction with host cells. These data demonstrate for the first time the important role of P. gingivalis OmpA2 extracellular loops in interaction with epithelial cells, which may help design novel peptide-based antimicrobial therapies for periodontal disease.

Link to paper: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mbo3.401/abstract;jsessionid=E34EB50D90FF530F520DC47AC1B19677.f04t03