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Oral Health and Disease

The Oral Health and Disease theme brings together an exciting programme of research from the UCL Eastman Dental Institute, the largest institute in Europe for postgraduate education and research in oral health and disease; the Eastman Dental Hospital, one of the UKs largest secondary health care providers for oral and dental disease; and the Eastman Clinical Investigation Centre, the only clinical research facility in the UK fully dedicated to clinical trials in oral health and disease.

The core themes of the Oral Health and Disease Theme research are: 

  • Oral infection/inflammation and systemic health & disease 
  • Oral cancer and oral diseases in cancer patients and survivors
  • Oral and facial pain
  • Dental tissue defects and loss

Board members

Dr Stefano Fedele, Theme Director (Chair)
Professor Stephen Porter, Director of UCL Eastman Dental Institute
Dr Tim Hodgson, Clinical Director of UCLH Eastman Dental Hospital
Dr Francesco D’Aiuto, Clinical Academic
Professor Anne Young, Biomaterials Scientist
Professor Joanna Zakrzewska, Academic Hospital Consultant
Professor Richard Watt, Public Health
Dr Nandi Simpson Theme Operations Manager

60 seconds with theme director Professor Stefano Fedele, Professor of Oral Medicine

Q.1 What is your area of research?

My research focuses on clinical trials and translational clinical studies in oral medicine. Oral Medicine is a specialty that deals with non-dental diseases of the oral and facial region including disorders the oral mucosa, the salivary glands, the jawbones, and chronic pain.  Over the last 10 years I have run clinical trials of novel diagnostics or therapeutics in patients with immunologically mediated disorders of the oral mucosa including oral lichen planus, oral epithelial dysplasia (oral pre-cancer) and oral cancer, salivary gland hypo-function of Sjogren’s syndrome or radiotherapy, and osteonecrosis of the jawbone associated with radiotherapy or anti-resorptive and anti-angiogenic medications. 

Q.2 What made you want to become a researcher?

I like challenges and was always one who doesn’t just ask questions, but also seeks answers. Also my attitude of seeking empirical or measurable evidence to justify medical practice; I have never settled for “do it in this way, because we have always done so”. I am also very meticulous and methodical, which is probably needed if one wants to do research, though my wife usually prefers the term “OCD”.

Q.3 Was there anyone who particularly inspired you to do research?

I am indebted to my mentor during my undergraduate years and early academic career in Italy, I was definitely inspired by him. Though research at that time was not very focused. I eventually moved to UCL and since then I have learned a great deal from the senior academic colleagues in my department.

Q.4 What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I have been very lucky securing research grants from funding bodies including the National Institute for Health Research, Arthritis Research UK and the European Commission, to which I am very grateful. Oral medicine is a small specialty and the diseases we deal with can be rare and do not attract the same attention as other more common disorders.

Q.5 What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?

I love cooking. It is my favourite way to de-stress and possibly the only thing that keeps me away from emails.