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Alastair J Sloan  BSc (Hons), PhD, FHEA

Professor Alastair J Sloan BSc (Hons), PhD, FHEA

Honorary Professor

School of Dentistry

Media commentator


Research theme

Oral and biomedical sciences

Research group

Regenerative Biology Group


Research Interests

My research interests are within the field of mineralised connective tissues, focussing on the reparative potential and behaviour of the dentine-pulp complex and bone. I am interested in the signalling processes that initiate and control the repair of the dentine pulp complex, in particular the role and function of the dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs)  in mediating this reparative process in. In addition, I am interested in the potential therapeutic roles of these DPSCs in the wider context of regenerative medicine, specifically neural repair and spinal cord injury and smooth muscle regeneration from bladder tissue repair and understanding their biological function in vitro and in situ and the heterogeneity in these cell populations.

Research is also focussed on understanding the dentinogenic and osteoinductive properties of dentine and bone matrices to facilitate novel tissue engineering methodologies and natural regenerative processes. Knowledge in these areas will allow us to develop ways of exploiting endogenous growth factor involvement in mineralised tissue repair for novel treatment modalities in restorative dentistry and implantology. This has allowed me to develop a research programme directly related to the development of novel clinical therapies and methods in relation to dentistry and orthopaedics regarding tissue regeneration and repair.

In relation to this we are also heavily focussed on development of novel antimicrobial carriers / restorative materials for clinical endodontics and vital pulp therapy. We have established nanocarriers for antimicrobial delivery and prototype restorative materials and model systems to better understand the nature of the bacterial / pulp environment during pulpal infection. I have a long standing interest in developing novel in vitro / ex vivo organ culture model systems for mineralising tissues to provide innovative models for tissue regeneration/engineering and testing of novel therapeutic agents and advancing the 3Rs (reduction, replacement refinement) in biomedical research.

Current & Recent Grants

Colgate Palmolive - Modelling of Periodontal Connective Tissue Regeneration. AJ Sloan(PI), RJ Waddington 2018-2019; £130,000

Philips - Development of an epithelial tissue culture model to assess direct Contact of H2O2 and light on cell responses. AJ Sloan (PI), RJ Waddington, WN Ayre. 2017-2018; £120,471

Research Network Wales Life Sciences Bridging Fund - Towards the Commercialization of Dual Action Mucoadhesive Patches to Treat Periodontal Diseases. C Heard, AJ Sloan. 2017-2018; £75,000

Philips – Effect of light activated peroxide agents on gingival tissue. RJ Waddington, AJ Sloan, WN Ayre. 2016-2017; £75,000

Dunhill Medical Research Trust - Preventing aseptic loosening of cemented joint replacements in older adults: delivery of osteogenic molecules from PMMA bone cement to encourage bone repair and implant osseointegration. AJ Sloan (PI), W Ayre, RJ Waddington, D Mason, B Evans, S Evans, SP Denyer, S Evans, RM Jones 2016-2017; £84,104

Renishaw Ltd – Antimicrobial coatings of implantable devices. AJ Sloan (PI), RJ Waddington, WN Ayre, Q Jones. 2015-2018; £50,000

Petplan Charitable Trust - Development of novel in vitro models to investigate the role of pathogens in the aetiology of feline chronic gingivostomatitis and test therapeutic interventions. MP Riggio (Glasgow), D Bennett (Glasgow), DF Lapping (Glasgow), C Nile (Glasgow), AJ Sloan, SP Denyer (Brighton). 2015-2018; £89942

Current Research Projects

Novel Antimicrobial Restorative Materials to Manage Dental Disease

Antimicrobial coatings of implantable devices

Understanding heterogeneity of dental pulp progenitor cells through lineage tacking and biophotonic labelling

Effect of whitening agents on dental pulp functional behaviour

Dental material directed tissue regeneration

Ex vivo modelling of antimicrobial measures in pulpal disease

Ex vivo modelling of bone regeneration


Alastair Sloan is an Honorary Professor in the School and currently Head of School of the Melbourne Dental School at the University of Melbourne where he holds the susbstantive post of Professor of Tissue Engineering and Dental Biology. Between 2017-2020 he was Head of School in the School of Dentistry at Cardiff University and a member of the Cardiff Institute for Tissue Engineering and Repair (CITER).

He obtained his BSc in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Wales in 1993 and his PhD in Oral Cell Biology from The University of Birmingham, UK in 1997 in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. Following postdoctoral research he was appointed to a Lectureship in Oral Biology at the School of Dentistry in The University of Birmingham in 2000. In 2005, he moved to the School of Dentistry and was awarded his personal chair in 2012. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB) and in 2020 was elected Honorary Fellow of the Intenational College of Dentists.

Professor Sloan's research is multi-disciplinary and focussed on the repair and regeneration of mineralised tissues and the behaviour and therapeutic use of dental pulp stem cells. He is interested in the cellular and molecular responses of these cells to natural biomatrices and compromised biological environments to understand their functional behaviour during tissue injury and developing methods to mediate natural repair processes in bone trauma. Complimentary to this work, he is also interested in understanding the heterogeneity within dental pulp progenitor populations and their function in 3D environments.   His research is also focussed on understanding bacterial invasion and attachment in dental and bone infections and development of novel delivery mechanisms for antimicrobial agents to control infection within these tissues. In support of these studies, he has significant interest in the development of 3D organotypic culture models to provide high throughput model systems with high reproducibiilty and address the 3Rs in this field of bioengineering. He has active research collaborations with members of the Regenerative Biology Group.

Professor Sloan is the recipient of several awards and honours. In 1998 he was awarded the IADR, British Division's Mineralised Tissue Research Prize and several of his students have won national research prizes including the IADR British Division Mineralised Tissue Prize in 2008, 2013, 2014, the British Division Unilever Poster Prize in 2012 and the TCES Poster Prize in 2014. Professor Sloan was the President of the Pulp Biology and Regeneration Group of the IADR in 2010-2011. In 2011 he was awarded the IADR Distinguished Scientist Award, the Young Investigators Award, in recognition of his research to date. He holds a Visiting Chair at the Fourth Military Medical University in Xi'an, China since 2013, Dalian Medical University since 2015 and China Medical University since 2016. In 2019 he was appointed as Adjunct Professor in the College of Medicine and Dentistry at University College, Cork.

From 2015-2017 Professor Sloan was Chair of the Cardiff Insitute for Tissue Engineering and Repair (CITER). He currently sits on the Management Committee of the British Society for Oral and Dental Research (BSODR), the Executive Committee of the Tissue and Cell Engineering Society (UK) and the Grant Assessment Panel of the NC3Rs. He acts a reviewer for all RCUK funding bodies and the EU. He has attracted research funding from the NC3Rs, Health and Care Research Wales, MRC, EPSRC, Dr Hadwen Trust and Dunhill Medical Research Trust along with those from the industrial sector (Philips, Renishaw plc).

Education / Qualifications
1993 - BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences (Wales)
1997 - PhD (Bham)
2003 - PGCert Teaching in Higher Education (Bham)

Honours and awards

1998 - British Society for Oral and Dental Research (BSODR) MIneralised Tissue Prize

2011 - IADR Distinguished Scientist Award, Young Investigators Award

Professional memberships

Higher Education Academy
International Association for Dental Research (IADR)
British Society for Oral and Dental Research (BSODR)
IADR Australian and New Zealand Division (IADR/ANZ)
Tissue and Cell Engineering Society (TCES)
Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS)
International Sociery for the Advancement of Cytometry (IASC)
Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research

Fellow, Royal Society of Biology
Honrorary Fellow, International College of Dentists

Academic positions

Jan 2020 - Date: Professor Tissue Engineering & Dental Biology, Melbourne Dental School, University of Melbourne
Aug 2012 - Dec 2019: Professor of Tissue Engineering & Bone Biology, Cardiff University, School of Dentistry
Aug 2010 – July 2012: Reader in Bone Biology & Tissue Engineering, Cardiff University, School of Dentistry
Aug 2007 – July 2010: Senior Lecturer in Bone Biology & Tissue Engineering, Cardiff University, School of Dentistry
Aug 2005 – July 2007: Lecturer in Bone Biology and Tissue Engineering, Cardiff University, School of Dentistry
Jan 2000 – Aug 2005:  Lecturer in Oral Biology, The University of Birmingham, School of Dentistry
Oct 1997 – Dec 1999:  Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Birmingham, School of Dentistry

Committees and reviewing

Editorial Board, Journal of Dentistry
Panel Member, Science Foundation Flanders
Panel Member, EU Eureka Eurostars


Novel Antimicrobial Restorative Materials to Manage Dental Disease

Understanding heterogeneity of dental pulp progenitor cells through lineage tacking and biophotonic labelling

Ex vivo modelling of dental microbial disease