Ewch i’r prif gynnwys
Rachel O'Brien-Waddington

Yr Athro Rachel O'Brien-Waddington

Cyfarwyddwr Lles a Datblygiad Staff, Athro Biocemeg Llafar

Ysgol Deintyddiaeth

+44 29225 10647
Ysbyty Deintyddol y Brifysgol, Ystafell Room 412, Parc y Mynydd Bychan, Caerdydd, CF14 4XY


Rachel Waddington is a Professor in Oral Biochemistry.  With more than 30 years’ experience, my research has had a long-standing focus for understanding the role of the extracellular matrix environment in the regulation the biology of bone and dentine repair; research that aims to be translational for provoking clinical benefit.

Matrix components and extracellular vesicles produced by mesenchymal stem / progenitor cells contain and regulate the release of a rich cocktail of growth factors, that are collectively important in directing effective and efficient cell signalling during cell differentiation.  Recently my research has investigated:

  • how the extracellular matrix environment is altered during systemic conditions such as chronic type 2 diabetes mellitus, leading to inefficient cell signalling that compromises the healing process and exacerbates periodontal tissue destruction;
  • how the extracellular matrix environment is altered by blue light therapies and the role of reactive oxygen species in this process.
  • investigating tissue and cell derived matrix products and extracellular vesicles for restoring the signalling environment and potentially reverse delayed bone healing often encountered with these systemic conditions;
  • the influence of modifying titanium implant surfaces on cellular activity that is beneficial for promoting bone healing and hence allows for quicker and more efficient integration of medical implants.





























Book sections


Selected Projects

  • Osseointegration around titanium implants and diabetic bone healing.
  • Influence of surface modification of titanium on progenitor bone cell behaviour during osseointegration.
  • Adult stem / progenitor cells from bone marrow and dental pulp and role of the extracellular matrix in stem cell biology and mineralised tissue repair.
  • Influence of bacterial pathogens (LPS) on altered bone cell activity, protein synthesis and remodelling of the extracellular matrix during inflammatory periodontal disease.
  • Matrix metabolites and cytokine profiles as biomarkers in gingival crevicular fluid and their development as chair-side diagnostic assays of active periodontal disease.
  • An ex vivo mandible culture model to study inflammatory bone disease and bone regeneration.
  • The role of the extracellular matrix in growth factor presentation during mineralised tissue repair.
  • Ex vivo modelling of antimicrobial measures in pulpal disease.
  • Dentinal matrix components in gingival crevicular fluid as biomarkers of root resorption.
  • Host-microbial interactions and cellular responses associated with Streptococcus milleri infections.
  • Use of recombinant and native proteins in the evaluation of the functional roles of small leucine rich proteoglycans and dentine phosphoproteins in bone and dentine.
  • Influence of fluoride on protein on altered bone cell activity, protein synthesis and remodelling of the extracellular matrix.

Recent Grants

MRC- Harnessing Dental Pulp Stem Cells to Enhance Tissue Regeneration AJ Sloan (PI), RJ Waddington 2010 $acirc;   2012 £274K

GSK - Effect of GSK agent on bone cell/tissue behaviour ex-vivo. AJ Sloan, RJ Waddington, JS Rees, 10/2009; £25,000

NC3Rs - An ex vivo mouse mandible culture model to study inflammatory bone disease. AJ Sloan (PI), RJ Waddington and XQ Wei, 2006 $acirc;   2008; £195,000

General Implant Forum Training. Behaviour of bone cells on modified titanium surfaces, RJ Waddington (PI) StJ Crean, AJ Sloan, 2006 $acirc;   2009; £60,000

NC3Rs $acirc;   Human Pulpal Progenitor Cells: The development of a dental pulp stem cell assay system. AJ Sloan (PI), RJ Waddington, DP Aeschlimann 2007 $acirc;   2008; £2,000

Grant in aid for scientific research in Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology - Functional control to dental titanium implants using biomimetic matrix, J Okazaki, RJ   Waddington 2006-2008; £16,000

Cardiff University, Richard Whipp Studentship - Ex vivo modelling of anti-microbial control measures in pulpal disease. AJ Sloan (Co-PI) J-Y Maillard (Co-PI), S Denyer, RJ Waddington, M Wilson and D Schmaljohann, 2006 $acirc;   2009; £35,000

Welsh Office for Research & Development $acirc;   Commitment and potential of dental pulp stem cells: their role in directing dental tissue regeneration. AJ Sloan (PI), RJ Waddington, J Rees 2007-2010; £70,000


Director of postgraduate Research Studies - ensuring academic quality in the admissions, provision and monitoring of postgraduate research programmes of study.
Extensive mentoring experience for early stage researchers and academics both within Cardiff University and other Welsh academic institutions
Undergraduate and postgraduate teaching - bone and dentine biology, tooth development and structure, periodontal connective tissues in health and disease, osseointegration, fluoride and mineralised tissues and caries development.
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2001; Member of the Leadership foundation for Higher Education since 2008. Educational experience in academic course management; course development and validation; preparation assessment criteria and assessment of both formative and summative assessments.
External examiner for more than 10 higher degrees theses; Currently external Examiner for Basic Science module 2nd BDS course, Queen's University Belfast


Career Profile

1984: BSc (Hons), Biochemistry; University of Birmingham, UK.

1988: PhD, Oral Biochemistry; University of Liverpool, UK.

1989: Diploma in Biomedical Methods, University Wales College of Medicine, UK.

1987-1989: MRC Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Department of Basic Dental Science, University of Wales College of Medicine, UK.

1989: Non-Clinical Lecturer in Oral Biochemistry, Department of Basic Dental Science, University of Wales College of Medicine, UK.

1998: Promoted to Senior Lecturer

2006: Promoted to Reader

Teaching Profile

Undergraduate Teaching and Assessment

Undergraduate Dental Clinical Course (BDS): Deputy course co-ordinators for the Oral Ecosystem theme and project co-ordinator for Year 2 extended essay; Provision of teaching associated with tooth development and structure, periodontal connective tissues in health and disease, osseointegration, fluoride and mineralised tissues and caries; academic management; course development; preparation assessment criteria and assessment of both formative and summative assessments. Personal tutor to 5 BDS students / year.

Intercalated Dental BSc: Module leader; DE3005- Cell Biology of Oral Destruction; course management for teaching provision and assessment; teaching for molecular mechanisms of periodontal destruction, biological basis for therapeutic and diagnostic approaches.

Postgraduate Teaching

Contribute lectures/seminars to postgraduate taught programmes of study MSc orthodontics, GDP training implantology; MSc Implantology, MSc Clinical Dentistry. Subjects taught include osseointegration, bone grafting, molecular and cell biology of the periodontal tissues in orthodontics.

Postgraduate Supervision

Successful supervision of:- 10 PhD students (Moseley,1996 (PI); Rees,1997; Stubbs,1998; Milan1999(PI); Sugars, 2001(PI); Roberts 2004(PI); Landrygan, 2006(PI); Fiedler, 2007; Smith, 2009; Colombo 2010(PI)) - 4 students have won National Research prizes from research as part of their studies.   2 MPhil (1997, 2001), 5 MScD clinical student projects (1999, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2010) - 2 awarded distinction. 12 Intercalated BSc projects. Currently supervisor 3 PhD student projects as primary supervisor, 4 PhD students as co-supervisor, 2 MScD / MPhil students.

External Assessment

Past and current - External examiner for 2nd BDS Parts I and II Oral Sciences and Medicine, Liverpool University (2002-2006); BDS Stage 2 Part 1, Newcastle University (2007-2009); International Qualifying Exam (Basic Dental Sciences), Royal College of Surgeons, England (2001-2003); PhD and MPhil theses examination. External Examiner for PhD thesis (Eastman Dental Institute, London; Liverpool; Birmingham; Newcastle; Leeds).

Memberships / External Activities

  • The Higher Education Academy $acirc;   admitted as registered practitioner 2001
  • International Association of Dental Research
  • British Society for Oral Dental Research
  • Councillor $acirc;  BSDR management committee 2002-2004
  • Chair of MINTIG group of BSODR 2008-
  • British Matrix Biology Society
  • Association for Basic Science Teachers in Dentistry
  • Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair
  • COST European Concerted research Action B23 $acirc;   Oral facial development and regeneration

Awards and Prizes

  • MINTIG Prize $acirc;   1996: Research travel prize awarded by the Mineralised Tissue Research Group of the British Society for Dental Research for best oral presentation, sponsored by SmithKline Beecham.
  • Senior Colgate Prize $acirc;   1990: Awarded by the British Society for Dental Research for the presentation of best oral research communication.

Anrhydeddau a dyfarniadau

Senior Colgate prize (1990) and the MINTIG Mineralised tissue Research travel prize (1996), both awarded by the British Society for Dental and Oral Research

Meysydd goruchwyliaeth

Rachel has successfully supervised more than 25 PhD doctoral and 15 masters research student projects.  Approximately 90% of PhD students have successfully progressed into research positions on graduating and six have been successful in establishing academic careers within university institutions in the UK, Sweden, US, Iraq and Malysia.