Professor Marcello Riggio
- Professor of Comparative Oral Microbiology (Dental School)
Professor Marcello Riggio graduated from the University of Leicester with a BSc (Hons) degree in Chemistry-with-Biochemistry in July 1983. In May 1984 he took up a position as a Research Technician at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow, working on oncogene expression and regulation. In April 1986 he took up a position as a Research Assistant in the Department of Veterinary Pathology at Glasgow Vet School, working on the development of recombinant equine herpesvirus vaccines, and studied for his PhD at the same time.
He obtained his PhD in 1991 and carried out his first postdoctoral position in the same department on equine herpesvirus vaccine development. In February 1994 he moved to Glasgow Dental School to take up a position as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, where his immediate task was to establish a molecular microbiology laboratory and undertake novel research into oral diseases. In April 1995 he was appointed to a Lectureship in Molecular Biology, was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology in August 2002 and to Professor of Comparative Oral Microbiology in August 2021.
Current and previous roles
Professor Marcello Riggio is Professor of Oral Microbiology and is an integral member and group lead (Comparative Oral Sciences) within the Oral Sciences Research Group at the Dental School (University of Glasgow), which forms part of the School of Medicine. He has published in excess of 70 peer-reviewed papers, principally in the area of microbial ecology associate with human oral and systemic health and disease and oral diseases of animals. His main research focus is on oral diseases of animals (cats, horses, dogs, cattle). Most of this research involves active collaborations with colleagues in academia and industry in the UK (e.g., University of Glasgow; University of Edinburgh; University of Surrey; University of Liverpool; Fixed Phage; Carus Animal Health) and internationally (e.g., University of Amsterdam; Universidade Federale de Goiás, Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil; UNESP, Araçatuba, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Nestlé Purina, USA).
In addition to his research portfolio, Dr Riggio has had a series of roles within the University of Glasgow linked to postgraduate management and teaching. He was Postgraduate Convenor (Dental School) from 2008-2014, overseeing all aspects of postgraduate research student administration and welfare (annual progress reviews, organisation of examining committees, pastoral support). He also served as Deputy Director of Postgraduate Dental Education (Dental School) from 2009-2014, contributing to the wider management and recruitment of students to the postgraduate dental taught programmes. From 2011 to 2016 he served as Deputy Postgraduate Convenor (School of Medicine), contributing to the management and assessment of postgraduate research students within the School of Medicine, the largest school within the College of MVLS. He has represented the Dental School on a number of University committees dealing with postgraduate student administration and is currently a member of Senate. He has also served on several committees within the Dental School (Postgraduate Management Committee; Research Committee; Information Services Committee; BDS1 Teaching Committee; BDS1 Staff-Student Liaison Committee).
In addition to his undergraduate teaching duties, he was leader of the Dental Postgraduate Taught (PGT) Core Course from 2009 to 2016, a course that formed the first year of study for all students studying on dental postgraduate taught courses. He has served as Deputy Lead and course lead for several courses in the MSc in Oral Sciences PGT programme. His is currently Education Lead for the Biological and Medical Sciences (BAMS) section at the Dental School.
Professor Riggio serves on several national and international committees influential in dental research and teaching. He served as Councillor (2012-2016) and Membership Secretary (2016 onwards )on the management committee of the Association for Sciences Educators in Dentistry (ASEiD). He has had numerous roles within the British Division of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), which is also known as the British Society for Oral and Dental Research (BSODR): Councillor (2010-2013), Webmaster (2012 onwards), Honorary Secretary (2014-2019), President (2019-2021) and Immediate Past President (2021-2023). He serves on the IADR Council (its governing body) and represents BSODR on the Board of Directors of the Pan European Region (PER) of IADR and is amember of the Management Committee of PER-IADR. This influential role in UK dental research involves interaction with many bodies allied to dental research at national and international level. He served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Oral Microbiology & Immunology Group (OMIG) of BSODR (2008-2020) and previously served as a Councillor on the OMIG management committee (2005-2008). Professor Riggio was Chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the BSODR conference, which was held in Glasgow in September 2009 and has organised numerous other research meetings on an annual basis for OMIG and BSODR.
Professor Riggio has held roles as External Examiner for undergraduate and postgraduate taught dental degrees at the University of Bristol (2010-2015), University of Liverpool (2011-2015), Cardiff University (2015-2020), Queen Mary University of London (2018-2022) and University of Surrey (2020-2024). He has also acted as External Examiner for higher degrees (15 PhD, one DDent).
He has served as Editor (2011-2016) and Senior Editor (2016-2021) for the Journal of Medical Microbiology.
Professor Riggio’s main research theme is to identify the bacteria involved in inflammatory oral and systemic diseases in animals. This is now being achieved next generation (high throughput) sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes in order to provide far greater depth, coverage, accuracy and sensitivity than that offered by Sanger sequencing in assessing the composition of complex microbial communities, uncovering microbial diversities that are orders of magnitude higher than revealed by previous sequencing technologies.
This research, in collaboration with academic colleagues at University of Glasgow, University of Surrey, Universidade Federale de Goiás, Brazil; UNESP, Araçatuba, Sao Paulo, Brazil and with industrial partners (Fixed Phage; Carus Animal Health; Nestle Purina) is to understand the microbial ecology of oral health and disease in animals (cats, dogs, horses, cattle. He is also determining the nature of host-pathogen interactions in disease, particularly by assessing the innate immune response to infection. In vitro and ex vivo model systems are being used to further understand the host-pathogen relationship in disease. Future studies will seek to adopt a combined ‘omics’ approach to understanding more fully the underlying processes associated with oral and systemic diseases in animals.
Grants of £100,00 or more
- Riggio MP. Testing and optimisation of immobilised phages for treating infections in canine oral health. Fixed Phage. 36 months from March 2021. £99,627 [supports PhD student for three years].
- Riggio MP. Generation of simple and complex wound in vitro biofilm models for testing of conventional and novel therapeutics. Saudi Arabian government scholarship (Abdullah Baz), 36 months from November 2020. Approximately £105,000 [tuition fees and bench fees] plus supports of personal costs for PhD student for three years.
- Riggio MP, Nile CJ, Lappin DF, Bennett D. Microbiological and immunological aspects of feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORL). Nestle Purina Petcare (St Louis, MO, USA), 48 months from January 2015. £176,225
- Riggio MP, Bennett D, Taylor DJ, Lappin DF, Mellor DJ, Graham EM, Courcier EA. Do previously undetectable bacteria play a significant role in the aetiopathogenesis of feline lymphocytic/plasmacytic gingivostomatitis? Petplan Charitable Trust, 36 months from February 2009. £102,710 [Supported PhD student for three years at Wellcome Trust rates]
- Riggio MP, Bagg J, Allan DB, Ramage G. Molecular analysis of the total microflora on the surface of prosthetic hip joints removed during revision arthroplasties. Arthritis Research Campaign, 36 months from June 2005. £125,963 [Supported postdoctoral researcher for three years]
- Riggio MP, Rolph HJ, Bagg J. A culture and molecular biological investigation of the microbial flora associated with the tongue dorsum in halitosis patients. GlaxoSmithKline, 24 months from December 2001. £174,104 [Supported two-year postdoctoral researcher for two years and clinical lecturer for one year]
- Saunders WP, Riggio MP, Bagg J. Characterisation of the microflora in the periradicular tissues of patients with periradicular periodontitis. Scottish Office Home and Health Department (Chief Scientist’s Office), 36 months from October 1998. £152,259 [Supported postdoctoral researcher for three years]
- Macpherson LMD, Hall AF, Riggio MP, Bagg J, Stephen KW. An in situ investigation of the effects of fluoridated milk on enamel mineral content, and plaque composition and metabolism. Borrow Dental Milk Foundation, 42 months from October 1999. £101,112 [Supported PhD student for three years]
- Macpherson LMD, Hall AF, Riggio MP, Bagg J. Influence of fluoride delivery methodologies and site-specific intra-oral factors on the composition and cariogenic potential of dental plaques. Procter & Gamble, 18 months from October 1999. £137,616 [Supported research technician for 18 months]
Grants of less than £100,000
- Riggio MP, Lappin DF, Nile CJ, Bennett D. Development of novel models to investigate the role of pathogens in the aetiology of canine periodontitis and to test therapeutic interventions. The Kennel Club Charitable Trust, 36 months from December 2018. £20,000
- Riggio MP, Bennett D, Lappin DF, Nile CJ, Sloan A, Denyer S. Development of novel in vitro models to investigate the role of pathogens in the aetiology of feline chronic gingivostomatitis and to test therapeutic interventions. Petplan Charitable Trust, 36 months from February 2015. £89,942
- Riggio MP, Bennett D. Additional studies on the microbiology and immunology of equine periodontal disease. Weipers Equine Fund, University of Glasgow, 24 months from January 2014. £20,000
- Riggio MP, Bennett D, Lappin DF. Microbiological and immunological aspects of equine periodontal disease. Horserace Betting Levy Board. 36 months from June 2013. £99,887 [Supports PhD student for three years]
- Riggio MP, Bennett D, Hamilton G. High-throughput sequencing for identification of bacteria associated with canine periodontitis and oral health. American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation. 24 months from January 2013. $31,000 [Supported research technician for 10 months at 0.6 FTE]
- Riggio MP, Murray C. Bacteria in diseased aortic tissue of subjects with and without rheumatic disease. University of Glasgow (Faculty of Medicine) PhD scholarship, 36 months from October 2009. £60,000 [Supported PhD student for three years]
- Riggio MP, Bennett D, Taylor DJ. Do previously undetectable bacteria play a significant role in the aetiopathogenesis of feline periodontal disease and lymphocytic/plasmacytic gingivostomatitis? BSAVA Petsavers, 12 months from February 2009. £8,000
- Riggio MP, Bennett D, Taylor DJ, Lappin DF. Are previously undetectable bacteria contributors to inflammatory processes within the joints of dogs with immune-mediated arthritis, septic arthritis and cruciate disease? The Kennel Club Charitable Trust, 24 months from October 2007. £37,325 [Supported 50% recoup of research technician salary for two years]
- Riggio MP. Do previously undetectable bacteria play a significant role in the aetiopathogenesis of canine gingivitis and periodontal disease? Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Trust (Blue Sky Research Programme 2007), 12 months from May 2007. £10,000
- Murray CA, Whitters CJ, Ramage G, Riggio MP. Does photo-activated disinfection (PAD) improve clinical outcomes of root canal re-treatment in-vivo and is it effective upon in-vitro root canal biofilms? European Society of Endodontology, 12 months from January 2007. £3,367
- Erridge C, Murray CA, Riggio MP. Investigation of ligands of Toll-like receptors in atherosclerotic tissue. Synergy, 12 months from November 2006. £2,000
- Riggio MP. Molecular biological analysis of bacteraemias produced during dental extraction.The Oral and Dental Research Trust (Procter & Gamble Research Awards 2002), 12 months from June 2002. £1,500
- Riggio MP. Molecular biological characterisation of the microflora associated with aortic tissue of patients with cardiovascular disease. The Oral and Dental Research Trust (Procter & Gamble Research Awards 2001), 12 months from June 2001. £1,550
- Smith AJ, Riggio MP, Hood J. Molecular diagnosis of Actinomycotic infections. Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, 12 months from November 2000. £5,533
- Wallace RJ, McLean N, Riggio MP, MacKenzie D, Smith AJ, Meyers N. The potential use of bacterial dipeptidyl peptidase and deaminase inhibitors to combat breath malodour. SmithKline Beecham, 12 months from October 2000. £34,572
- Riggio MP. Analysis of aortic and oropharyngeal samples for Chlamydia pneumoniae. The Oral and Dental Research Trust (SmithKline Beecham Research Awards 2000), 12 months from May 2000. £1,400
- Riggio MP. Identification and characterisation of genes specifying the immunodominant antigens of the major periodontal pathogen Bacteroides forsythus. The Oral and Dental Research Trust (SmithKline Beecham Research Awards 1998), 12 months from June 1998. £2,000
- Gibson J, Riggio MP, Wray D. A clinical and molecular biological study into the aetiology of oral Crohn’s disease and its relationship to gut Crohn’s disease in children. Crohn’s in Childhood Research Association, 12 months from May 1995. £5,077
- Riggio MP, Ramage G. Testing of active ingredients against bacteria associated with animal dental disease. Ward Industries, 6 months from July 2008. £12,000
Research administration roles - current
- Member of Senate (non-professorial), University of Glasgow (2011 onwards)
- Member, Research Committee, Dental School (2005 onwards)
The main remit of this committee is to develop, promote and publicise Dental School research strategy in line with Research Group, School and University objectives. I have sat on this committee as a representative of the Infection & Immunity Research Group.
- Member, Information Services Committee (2000 onwards)
This is a committee that discusses policy with regard to all information technology-related matters relating to the Dental School. I have served as a Junior Staff Representative and currently represent the Infection & Immunity Research Group on this committee.
Research administration roles - previous
- Member, University of Glasgow (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine) Appeals Committee (2008–2010)
This committee handled appeals submitted by students within the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.
- Member, University of Glasgow (Faculty of Medicine) Research Scholarships Committee (2008–2010)
The remit of this committee was to consider applications for faculty-funded PhD scholarships.
- Divisional Representative, Graduate School Board (Faculty of Medicine) (2008–2010)
The Graduate School Board had overall responsibility for policy, procedures and practice in relation to the Faculty of Medicine Graduate School.
- Member, Training and Awards Group (TAAG), Faculty of Medicine (2008–2010)
The remit of this group was to develop policy, procedures and practice in relation to the administration of funding to develop the transferable skills of postgraduate research students and postdoctoral research assistants. It was responsible for the administration of Roberts’ funding to achieve its goals.
- Member, University of Glasgow (Faculty of Medicine) Appeals Committee (2006–2010)
This committee handled appeals submitted by students within the Faculty/School of Medicine.
- Head, Infection and Immunity Section / Infection & Immunity Research Group, Dental School (2005−2009)
This senior management post involved responsibility for the smooth and efficient running of the Section, which was one of three key sections within the Dental School. As Head of Section, I had devolved responsibility for 15 staff members and played a major role in promoting the wider research carried out by the Infection & Immunity Group at national and international levels. The research group was developed such that ultimately its research output was of a sufficiently high quality to contribute to our success in the RAE 2008. This role provided recognition of my administrative and management skills.
- Member, Dental School Executive Committee (2005−2009)
The main remit of this executive committee was to identify and prioritise key strategic areas of activity relevant to the academic and administrative functions of the Dental School. I was thereby involved in strategic decision making at a School-wide level.
- Member, RAE 2008 Steering Group, Dental School (2005−2008)
The remit of this group was to prepare the submission for the Research Assessment Exercise 2008 for the Dental School
Grants and Awards listed are those received whilst working with the University of Glasgow.
- Microbiological and Immune Aspects of Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORL)
2015 - 2024
- Development of a novel in vitro model to investigate the role of pathogens in the aetiology of feline chronic gingiovostomatitis and to test therapeutic interventions
Petplan Charitable Trust
2015 - 2019
- High-throughput (metagenomic) sequencing for identification of bacteria associated with canine periodontal disease and oral health.
American Kennel Club
2013 - 2014
- Are previously undetectable bacteria contributors to inflammatory processes within the joints of dogs with immune mediated arthritis, septic arthritis and cruciate disease?
Kennel Club Charitable Trust
2009 - 2010
- Do previously undetected bacteria play a signficant role in the aetiopathogenesis of feline periodontitis and lymphocytic/plasmacytic gingivostomatitis?
Petplan Charitable Trust
2009 - 2012
- Do previously undetected bacteria play a significant role in the aetiopathogenesis of feline periodontal disease and lymphocytic/plasmacytic ginginostomatitis
2008 - 2010
- Do previously undetectable bacteria play a significant role in the aetiopathogenesis of canine gingivitis and periodontitis?
Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
2007 - 2010
- Does photoactivated disinfection (PAD) improve clinical outcomes of root canal re-treatment in vivo and is it effective upon in vitro root canal treatment
European Society of Endodontology
2006 - 2010
- Molecular analysis of the total microflora on the surface of prosthetic hip joints removed during revision arthroplasties
Arthritis Research UK
2005 - 2008
- Examination of the relationship between Orafacial Granulomatosis (OFG) and Crohn's disease (CD). Analysis of genetic, serological and saliva
National Association of Colitis and Crohn's Disease
2004 - 2007
- The diagnosis of infection in preterm delivery - a polyphasic approach incorporating culture independent techniques
Scottish Executive Health Department
2003 - 2006
- Molecular biological characterisation of the microflora associated with aortic tissue of patients with cardiovascular disease
Oral & Dental Research Trust
2001 - 2006