Dr Vishal Aggarwal

Dr Vishal Aggarwal


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

I am internationally recognised for research in pain diagnosis and management and my current focus is on self-management of chronic orofacial pain and improving oral health outcomes in vulnerable populations (people with severe mental illness, Scleroderma and chronic pain).

I 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. My research career has been funded by prestigious fellowships: Initially a Wellcome Trust Fellowship in clinical epidemiology which funded a doctoral programme of work in the epidemiology of chronic orofacial pain and latterly a NIHR clinician scientist award during which I translated my doctoral findings into an evidence-based health technology for self-management of chronic orofacial pain.

My current research is progressing implementation of this intervention to improve outcomes for patients with chronic orofacial pain. Previously, I 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. I have been an active member of the orofacial special interest group of the IASP and is a recognized international authority in facial pain research.

Clinically, I am a generalist with a special interest in managing patients with chronic orofacial pain. I have 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. My 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)

I also have 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 I completed in 2014. I have used this experience to undertake a number of research studies to inform the burden of oral health inequalties in vulnerable populations such as people with severe mental illness, Scleroderma and chornic pain. I have published some 80+ papers, reviews and book chapters and have supervised academic general dental practitioners (NIHR In-practice Fellows), Masters students and PhD students. I have been a regular speaker at national and international conferences and am a referee for several national and international journals.

  • Senior Alumnus Award, The Manchester Grammar School, 2021
  • 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


  • School of Dentistry Athena Swan Lead
  • School of Dentistry Mentoring Champion
  • University of Leeds AMR steering group

Research interests

Three main research themes:

1. Pain



  • Professor Elspeth 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
  • Improving Oral Health in people with Severe Mental Illness (SMI) – funded by UKRI closing the gap and NIHR HSDR
  • Improving Oral health outcomes for patients with Scleroderma – funded by SRUK
  • Health Education England - Advancing Dental Care academic dentistry workstream  https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/advancing-dental-care


  • Universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and York (Dr Jasper Palmier Claus, Professor Rebecca Harris, Professor Tim Doran, Dr David Sheirs)
  • College of Dentistry previously 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.


  • Professor John Walley and Dr Rebecca King (University of Leeds)
  • Bharat Insititute of Higher Educarion and Research Chennai –  (Adjuct / Honorary Professor appointment to faciliate the project)
Research Funding and Fellowships:
  • 2022 UKRI Closing the Gap Impact Accelerator funding: Oral health care in people with severe mental ill health. £35,097 (CO-I) 
  • 2022 SRUK The Mouth in Scleroderma: Improving Pathways to Care. £36,769.42 (CO-I) 
  • 2022 NIHR HSDR - An intervention using mental health support workers as link workers to improve dental visiting in people with severe mental illness: A feasibility study.   £447,541.09 (CO-I) 
  • 2020 UKRI Closing the Gap Startup Funding: Oral health in severe mental illness: A consensus statement. £1,600 (CO-I) 
  • 2019 UKRI Closing the Gap Startup Funding  (CI): The Mouth Matters Study. November 2019. 'Big data' study exploring oral health inequalities in severe mental illness. £10,415 (CO-I) 
  • 2019-2022 Hopper PhD Studentship. Disease trajectories and healthcare burden of periodontal disease. Co-supervisor: £85,000
  • 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:
  • Antibiotic use and misuse in Dentistry in India (primary supervisor)
Completed PhDs:
  • Process mining in Dentistry (primary supervisor)
  • Predictors of pain following routine procedures in paediatric dentistry (primary supervisor)
  • Developing and evaluating a complex intervention to treat chronic orofacial pain (primary supervisor)
  • Disease trajectories and healthcare burden of periodontal disease
  • The association between psychosis and oral health: a qualitative study – external supervisor (collaboration with University of Manchester)
  • The Oral Health of people with serious mental illness (external supervisor)
  • Impact of Sugar Tax on Oral health in Chile – (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
  • Society of Academic Primary Care
  • College of Dentistry
  • 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>