Dr Vishal Aggarwal

Dr Vishal Aggarwal


Vishal joined the School of Dentistry, the University of Leeds in 2016 as a Clinical Associate Professor in Acute Dental Care and Chronic Pain.

He is internationally recognised for his research in pain diagnosis and management and his current focus is on self-management of chronic orofacial pain.

He qualified from the University of Manchester in 1998 with an Honors degree in dentistry and subsequently went on to complete a PhD in Epidemiology in 2006. His research career has been funded by prestigious fellowships: Initially a Wellcome Trust Fellowship in clinical epidemiology which funded his doctoral programme of work in the epidemiology of chronic orofacial pain and latterly a NIHR clinician scientist award during which he translated his doctoral findings into an evidence-based health technology for self-management of chronic orofacial pain.

His current research is progressing implementation of this intervention to improve outcomes for patients with chronic orofacial pain. Previously, he was involved in the international task force for the classification of painful cranial neuropathies and other facial pains: International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition (ICHD-3 beta). Cephalalgia 2013; 33(9):774–786. He has been an active member of the orofacial special interest group of the IASP and is a recognized international authority in facial pain research.

Clinically, Vishal is a generalist. He has been a pioneer for career pathways in academic primary dental care and was the first general dental practitioner to be awarded a NIHR Clinician Scientist Award which subsequently led to NIHR Fellowships for junior general dental practitioners. His contribution to academic primary dental care was recognized through award of an Honorary Fellowship of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners UK in 2012 at the Royal College of Surgeons of England (Hon FFGDP Ad Eundum)

Vishal also has vast experience in health services research methodologies which has been consolidated by a Masters in Public Health in 2013 and a NIHR Clinical Trials Training Fellowship which he completed in 2014. He has used this experience to undertake a number of research studies to inform common interventions used in primary dental care. Vishal has published some 50+ papers, reviews and book chapters and has supervised academic general dental practitioners (NIHR In-practice Fellows), Masters students and PhD students. He has been a regular speaker at national and international conferences and is a referee for several national and international journals.


International Research Mobilisation Award, University of Leeds, 2018

University of Manchester Staff Social Responsibility and Volunteer of the year award (3rd place), 2012

Honorary Fellowship of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners, 2012

Young Dental Writer of the Year, 2010

Alan Hilton Medal, Manchester Medical Society, 2008


  • Lead for Academic Primary Dental Care
  • College of Dentistry - Strategic Advisory Board (External role)
  • UoL AMR steering group

Research interests

Three main research themes:

1. Pain



  • Professors Allan House and Elsepeth Guthrie - Psychological and Social Medicine (Leeds)
  • Professor Karina Lovell - School of nursing midwifery and social work (University of Manchester).


2. Primary Dental Care


  • Assessing impact of Amalgam phase down - a mixed methods study in primary care
  • Development of career pathways for academic primary dental care
  • Patient safety in primary dental care
  • Health Education England - Advancing Dental Care academic dentistry workstream  https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/advancing-dental-care


  • Professor Robbie Foy - Academic Unit of Primary Care (Leeds)
  • College of Dentistry  / Faculty of General Dental Practitioners UK
  • Society of Academic Primary Care (SAPC) – Co-chair of SAPC SIG in academic primary dental care

3. Global Health – Current focus on reducing Antibiotic Misuse in Dentistry in LMICs


  • Antibiotic use and misuse in dentistry in India
  • Development and evaluation of community interventions to reduce premature mortality and morbidity from oral diseases in hard to reach populations.


  • Professors Linda McGowan, Professor John Walley and Dr Rebecca King (University of Leeds)
  • Bharat Insititute of Higher Educarion and Research Chennai –  (Adjuct / Honoroary Professor role held from Nov 2020 for 2 years) 
  • Saveeta Dental College - Chennai (MOU with University of Leeds)


Research Funding and Fellowships:

Health Education England - impact of amalgam phase down 2017 £10K

NIHR Clinical Trials Fellowship 2013 £51.5k

NIHR In-practice Fellowship for Hanieh Javidi 2011 £48.6k

NIH grant for classification of facial pain 2011 £5k

PCRN NW Dental Research Champion 2011 £5k

Shirley Gladstone Hughes grant 2010 £86k

NIHR Clinician Scientist Award - improving outcomes for chronic orofacial pain 2008 £649.5k

BSGDS Scholarship 2008 £5.6k

Wellcome Trust Fellowship in Clinical Epidemiology 2002 £30K


PhD – current titles under supervision:

  • Disease trajectories and healthcare burden of periodontal disease
  • Antibiotic use and misuse in Dentistry in India (primary supervisor)
  • Predictors of pain following routine procedures in paediatric dentistry (primary supervisor)
  • Impact of Sugar Tax on Oral health in Chile – Thesis advisory panel (collaboration with University of York)
  • The association between psychosis and oral health: a qualitative study – external supervisor (collaboration with University of Manchester)


Completed PhDs:

  • Process mining in Dentistry (primary supervisor)
  • Developing and evaluating a complex intervention to treat chronic orofacial pain (primary supervisor)
  • The Oral Health of people with serious mental illness (external supervisor)



  • BDS (Honors) Dentistry
  • MFDS RCS (Eng) Membership of Royal College of Surgeons of England. Faculty of Dentistry
  • PhD - Epidemiology of Chronic Orofacial Pain
  • MPH (merit) - Masters in Public Health
  • Honorary FFGDP (Ad Eundum) - Fellowship of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners

Professional memberships

  • General Dental Council
  • International Association of Dental Research
  • Faculty of General Dental Practitioners
  • National Oro-facial Pain and TMD Special Interest Group (USOT)
  • Royal College of Surgeons of England

Student education


  1. Lectures for years 1-5 on pain and orofacial pain diagnosis and management
  2. Clinical Chairside - Acute Dental Care and Facial Pain Clinic (optional)
  3. Examinations - OSCEs, Multiple Mini Interviews, Question setting and marking
  4. Pastoral Care - personal tutor roles


  1. Faculty top up masters programme - supervision and interview panels
  2. Internal Examiner - PhD and masters programmes
  3. Thesis Advisory Panel - University of York
  4. Module lead for Masters programme in Advanced General Dental Practice


Research groups and institutes

  • Complex interventions
  • Translational and clinical research
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>