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Dental Clinical Research Unit (DRU)

The Dental Research Unit based in the Dental School research mission is to conduct world-class multidisciplinary research, aiming to improve oral health through:

  • academic excellencedental crf picture of chair
  • policy impact
  • commercial innovation​

The Unit Director for DRU is Dr. Christopher Vernazza, Clinical Senior Lecturer & Consultant in Paediatric Dentistry. He is the Director of Research for the NU School of Dental Sciences and the NIHR NENC-CRN Oral & Dental Specialty Lead. His research focuses on health service research as applied to dentistry and he had led many trials of paediatric dentistry interventions especially in relation to anxiety control and caries management.

The team is highly experienced in all aspects of clinical trial delivery in dentistry. The DRU team are also trained in gingival/periodontal and saliva sample collection, periodontal assessment, behavioural and mood assessments and simple oral biology laboratory procedures.

The DRU will continue to work in the following areas:

  • periodontal disease management, especially around smoking and periodontal disease and periodontal disease and other long-term conditions (e.g. cardiovascular and diabetes).
  • translate the work of oral immunologist and microbiologists in novel periodontal diagnostics and biofilm management, including commercial applications.
  • oro-facial pain group of early career researchers (ECRs) to trial novel pain management interventions.
  • exploring the potential for paediatric dentistry interventions especially in caries management
  • aerosol work developed in response to COVID-19 pandemic but of ongoing relevance to dental practice and wider.


All clinical rooms are equipped with standard Clinical Dentistry Equipment. The two Advanced Dental Room has a ceiling-mounted operating microscopes and digital x-ray units for endodontic research plus scrub sinks and equipment for surgical research procedures.

It is supported by a Bioscience Laboratory (for immediate sample processing, nucleic acid and protein analysis, microbiological research, cell culture, neuroscience research), and a Dental Biomaterials Laboratory (with atomic force microscope, micro-hardness testing and spectrometry) in the Dental School of NU.

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