My advice is to not give up, to apply for a project that you truly care about
Tell us about your background and your chosen research project.
I obtained my Bachelor of Dental Surgery in 2012 and an MSc in Restorative Dentistry in 2014 from the University of Malta, Malta. At the time my research focused on dental biomaterials’ interaction with the oral environment and their antimicrobial properties, as well as standardisation of antimicrobial testing.
Research on how materials interact with the oral environment led to an interest in how oral microorganisms interact with the host, in our mouths and beyond. This interest steered my move to the University of Sheffield in 2017 and my current PhD project.
Under the supervision of Prof. Craig Murdoch and Dr. Graham Stafford at the School of Clinical Dentistry, my PhD aims to investigate the role of oral microorganisms in the initiation of cardiovascular disease.
Why did you choose to study at Sheffield?
Following my previous research endeavours I knew that I wanted to take my career to the next level and read a PhD on host-pathogen interactions in an internationally recognised institution.
The School of Clinical Dentistry is a leading UK dental research institution with a strong track record and international reputation in oral pathogen interactions with the host. This coupled with a project that I was very interested in, made applying for this PhD at the University of Sheffield an obvious choice.
Sheffield has the added benefit of being a great city to live in, with several activities all year round and open spaces.
What did winning the scholarship mean to you?
Winning the scholarship meant that my ambitions weren’t so far fetched after all. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to self-fund this PhD and I am truly honoured that the Faculty decided it was worth investing in someone that was very much an outsider such as myself.
My advice is to not give up, to apply for a project that you truly care about and to surround yourself with the good willed colleagues and mentors
PhD student - School of Clinical Dentistry
What has your experience of doing a PhD at Sheffield been so far?
So far it has been everything I hoped it would be. I feel extremely lucky to be reading a PhD in such a supportive environment, where I am not only able to learn scientific techniques that I wasn’t previously exposed to, but also encouraged to develop personally as a researcher.
What are your future plans?
I am very passionate about translational and clinically applicable research. Following completion of my PhD I’d like to pursue a career in clinical academia.
Do you have any advice for future prospective PhD students?
My advice is to not give up, to apply for a project that you truly care about and to surround yourself with the good willed colleagues and mentors. As cheesy as this sounds the rest will eventually follow.
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