Institute of Dentistry

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Professor Robert Allaker, BSc (Hons), PhD, FHEA


Professor of Mucocutaneous Microbiology and Director of Graduate Studies

Telephone: +44 20 7882 2388
Room Number: Blizard Building


Prof. Rob Allaker holds a BSc (Hons) in Applied Biological Sciences (1982) and a PhD (1986) in Skin & Oral Microbiology from the University of the West of England, Bristol. He joined the Royal Veterinary College in 1986 as a Wellcome Trust Post-Doctoral Research Fellow. He then joined Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) as a lecturer in 1992, was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2002, Reader in 2006 and took the title of Professor of Mucocutaneous Microbiology in 2011. He was (until 2008) secretary to the Oral Microbiology & Immunology Group, British Division of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) for 6 years. He works with a number of Oral Care companies, including GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Boots, and has acted as a London Technology Network Business Fellow to help facilitate the transfer of technology-enabled innovations from QMUL to Industry. In 2010, he was awarded the IADR/GSK Innovation in Oral Care Award. Prof. Allaker is an author on over 70 publications in peer review journals and books, and has supervised over 30 researchers with 3 student winners of national prizes. He is a section editor for the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents. Rob teaches a wide range of microbiology topics at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels on a range of QMUL and external courses. He was until recently a management committee member of the Association of Basic Science Teachers in Dentistry and Society for General Microbiology Education & Training Groups.


Research Interests:

Host - microbial interactions and antimicrobial research have provided the focus for Prof. Allaker's research career since 1982 with an emphasis on the microflora of the skin and adjacent mucosal sites. At PhD and Research Fellow levels, studies centered on the virulence capabilities of Propionibacterium and Staphylococcus spp. At QMUL, the role of endogenous host mechanisms in the control of microbial populations has been under investigation since 1997. Firstly, those centered on the recently recognized route by which Nitric Oxide (NO) is generated through the activity of nitrate reducing tongue bacteria. These studies also complement projects to determine the role of sulphide producing tongue bacteria in oral malodour and periodontitis. Secondly, in relation to antimicrobial peptides, which are expressed at epithelial surfaces, and emerging as important effector molecules in linking the innate and adaptive immune responses. Studies have included investigations of adrenomedullin (AM) with respect to expression, post-secretory processing, mechanisms of antimicrobial action and microbial resistance. A project, drawing upon the tight association between AM expression and the NO cascade (NO synthase route) in periodontitis, unites these areas of expertise. These studies also complement other projects on the use of nano-antimicrobials for oral applications in collaboration with Johnson Matthey and University College London. Other areas of research at QMUL center on a possible relationship between mucosal bacteria and systemic disease, including investigations on the transmission routes for the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori, and the role of oral and vaginal bacteria in pregnancy complications.

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