Translational and Clinical Research (DenTCRU)

Clinical facilities at the School of Dentistry at the University of Leeds.

Dental Translational and Clinical Research Unit (DenTCRU)

Our state-of-the-art Dental Translation and Clinical Research Unit (DenTCRU) was co-funded via a prestigious £1.7 million capital award by the Wellcome Trust and the University of Leeds. Here we promote our research in interdisciplinary dental sciences for patient benefit ‘from bench to patient and back again’, spearheading partnerships with local, national and international collaborators, charities and industry. DenTCRU offers a range of expertise across clinical trial methodology, basic science, applied clinical research, population health, and patient public involvement and engagement. Translating research into clinical practice is fundamental to our research strategy to transform the quality of life of our patients and local communities.

The DenTCRU Facility

DenTCRU is a bespoke, self-contained dedicated research facility.

It is located within the Leeds Dental Institute (LDI) part of Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust. DenTCRU is a hub of the NIHR Leeds Clinical Research Facility (LCRF).

The DenTCRU facility comprises

  • a self-contained research-only clinic that is staffed by highly trained and designated research staff
  • six high specification dental chairs with a surgical procedures bay; 
  • an independent reception and patient waiting rooms
  • a dedicated laboratory for sample preparation with monitored fridge and -80 freezer sample storage
  • a confidential interview room
  • controlled lighting (for colour matching and tooth whitening studies); and
  • immediate access to NHS services.

DenTCRU facilitates high quality research by

  • collaboration and co-development of robust research with industry partners;
  • developing methodologically robust projects tailored to NHS clinical need and health priorities
  • managing a range of grant-funded studies to large, multicentre and international clinical trials;
  • delivering research to time and target within a competitive budget;
  • co-designing research with our SMILE AIDER Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) Forum, to ensure our trials are attractive to participants, impactful to NHS care, and maximise patient benefits;
  • utilising our ‘research-ready’ patient and volunteer database to aid delivery of efficient recruitment strategies;
  • utilising our DENTPRIME Northern network of ‘research-ready’ general dental practices to facilitate practice-based research;
  • forging multi-disciplinary partnerships between clinicians, academics, industry,  patients and the public;
  • driving innovative interdisciplinary translational oral health research for improved care and patient benefit and NHS impact;
  • mentoring and training the next generation of clinical academics. DenTCRU is an early adopter of the NIHR Clinical Research Network Associate Principal Investigator scheme and supports career academics to have the opportunity to work  alongside our world leading team in delivering high-quality clinical research;
  • delivering clinical and translational oral health research compliant with the highest standards of clinical delivery and governance to support medical device MHRA licensing.

DenTCRU Successful Recruitment to studies

DenTCRU contributes as one of the highest recruitment sites for oral and dental interventional clinical studies nationally. It has consistently ranked, for almost a decade, in the top three recruiters nationally for the NIHR Oral & Dental Health portfolio of trials.

The DenTCRU Team

DenTCRU is supported by internationally recognised oral and dental health clinical trialists and researchers supported by a strong, dedicated team of experienced clinical trial managers, dental hygiene therapists, dental research nurse coordinators, technical and admin staff. Our extensive dedicated labs and staff enable novel lab and in-situ studies as well as large scale trials. The DenTCRU core team is listed below who work closely with the School’s Division and Leeds Dental Institute NHS consultants and clinicians for specific expertise as required:

  • Professor Sue Pavitt - Director of DenTCRU. Professor of Translational and Applied Health Research. Head of Division of Applied Health & Clinical Translation. NIHR Clinical Research Network National Specialty Lead for Oral & Dental Health (2019-2024).
  • Dr Farag Shuweihdi – Senior Statistician, Lecturer in Medical Statistics & Health Data Science.
  • Dr Sophy Barber – Consultant and Clinical Lecturer in Orthodontics
  • Dr Aruche Hamid – DenTCRU Dentist 
  • Nuria Navarro Coy – DenTCRU Operations and Strategic Manager 
  • Catherine Porter – DenTCRU Programme Manager 
  • Dr Evrim Anik, DenTCRU Research Manager

DenTCRU Research

DenTCRU supports a wide range of studies; from single-centre, feasibility studies to larger multicentre interventional studies across primary care, community, and hospital settings. These include first in man, early phase studies, through to clinical trials. We have a broad portfolio that includes commercial and academic studies, where we work trans-disciplinary across dental disciplines and interface with engineering, medicine, psychology, sociology, data science, arts and humanities.

We deliver world-class research to enhance patient care across oral and dental health concentrating on preventing illnesses and evaluating new treatments, medical devices, and artificial intelligence.

We run a mix of commercial, government and charity-funded studies, including funding from the National Institute for Health & Care Research, Oral & Dental Research Trust, Dunhill Medical Trust and MS Society.

Our research covers tooth decay, gum disease, connections to systemic health, oral cancer, orthodontics, rare genetic diseases, and advanced dental technology. We evaluate drug treatments, medical devices, digital dentistry, novel dental materials, surgical procedures, Citizen Science prevention programmes with schools, alongside innovation in research dissemination using creative arts. 

Case study one

RESONATE - Trial of Denture Fixatives

DenTCRU successfully undertakes Medical Device regulatory trials, such as 
RESONATE, an investigation evaluating the effectiveness, tolerability, and safety of two denture fixative creams.  
RESONATE was a commercial partnered (RECKITT) crossover trial evaluating denture fixatives for MHRA Class-2A medical device licensing. 

Using the transparent Interactive Costing Template and model contract, it was co-designed with SMILE AIDER patient and public contributors who supported the recruitment strategy and the use of a research-ready cohort. They encouraged an inclusive approach (participants aged 26-84 years) with appropriate participant remuneration, that achieved 96% participant completion. 

Case study two

RAISED in Yorkshire [RiY-Research Activity in Schools Evaluating Dental Health] working in the community with underserved communities.

RiY is a peer-to -peer Citizen Science Programme co-designed with Secondary Schools in West Yorkshire in areas of social deprivation to improve oral health knowledge, skills behaviours, raise career aspirations and provide work=experience opportunities. It is delivered as a randomised controlled trial across several schools.

The model is to train sixth form students as RiY Student Research Fellows with skills to be oral health educators,  who then knowledge-transfer to Year 7 students (aged 11-12 years). Dental checks and questionnaires are completed pre and post the RiY intervention vs control group that receive a delayed oral health lesson. Our reinforcement session incorporates YUK Oral Microbiome Citizen Science project analysing saliva samples within the RCT. It has provided Year 7 students with the scientific understanding of the impact that toothbrushing can have on the oral bacteria present in their mouths. Making science relevant, fun, and engaging.

Case study three

RAP Study - Rheumatoid Arthritis and Periodontal Disease
Oral health can have an impact on overall general health - we are working with medical colleagues to evaluate novel ways to prevent or slow diseases like rheumatoid arthritis by promoting improved gum health. Changes in our oral health can provide early signs of flare up of inflammatory systemic disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, and we are collaborating with Musculoskeletal researchers within NIHR Leeds CRF to identify the role of periodontal disease – inflammation of the gums –as an early therapeutic target to prevent or slow progression of rheumatoid arthritis. We are treating patients holistically “Putting the Mouth Back in the Body” using known links between oral and systemic health to improve patient management and address people with multiple long-term conditions.

We also utilise next generation sequencing within the School’s laboratory facilities to gain understanding of the oral microbiome in people with rheumatoid arthritis– we are seeking to understand the bacteria within the mouth and how these change in people with rheumatoid arthritis before and after gum treatment. 

We are developing trials looking at the use of improved stewardship of antimicrobials with a particular focus on addressing antimicrobial resistance. 

We also work on studies which require genetic profiling of patients, such as identifying genetic markers for inherited enamel developmental disorders including Amelogenesis Imperfecta.

DenTCRU supports the collection of materials for the Skeletal Tissues Research Bank that supports research to understand the mechanisms of tooth decay, erosion, wear; developing a source of stem cell for tissue regeneration and development of new dental materials that in turn will be evaluated in DenTCRU.

DenTCRU supports world-leading research at the School of Dentistry, more detail on the School’s main areas of research can be found here.

DenTCRU is renowned for pioneering innovation in patient public involvement and engagement and coordinates SMILE AIDER, a long-standing Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) Forum.


DenTCRU has a dedicated facility through which we achieve our vision of delivering world-leading research excellence, patient benefit and research impact. We engage with a range of partners and stakeholders from major international companies to our local community. These strong links and common goals will contribute to the future success of DenTCRU

Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust

DenTCRU has well established close academic and physical links with Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust (LTHT) and is co-located on the same floor as the Leeds Dental Hospital.

LTHT's strategy places academic excellence and research at the core of NHS business. LTHT is one of the biggest NHS trusts in the country and one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe, offering a full range of acute and non-acute adult and paediatric services and treating 1.5 million people every year. It serves a local population of 780,000, and provides specialist care to 5.4 million people, in particular services for cancer, haematology, cardiology, paediatrics, neuroscience, and in specialist surgery. LTHT is consistently one of the top recruiting trusts for clinical research studies in the UK recorded on the NIHR Clinical Research Network’s metrics.

NIHR Leeds Clinical Research Facility (LCRF)

DenTCRU is an integral hub of the Leeds CRF has a shared ambition for the CRF to be the flagship research facility for patients in Yorkshire and Humberside providing first class facilities that support the delivery of early phase and experimental medicine clinical trials across the range of disease types.

If you would like to find out more about our clinical facilities contact Mrs Ruth Kayman