Paul Coulthard



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Personal profile


Paul Coulthard was appointed Head of the School of Dentstry in 2013 and is currently Faculty Vice Dean and Head of the School of Medical Sciences. He is Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Honorary Consultant in Oral Surgery at the University of Manchester NHS Foundation Trust. The School of Medical Sciences includes the research Divisions of Cancer Sciences, Cardiovascular Sciences, Developmental Biology & Medicine, Diabetes, Endocrinology & Gastroenterology, and the Manchester Medical School and Dental School. 

He undertook General Clinical Training as a General Dental Practitioner in Manchester and Sheffield and was awarded the Membership of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners. His Basic Surgical Training took place in Manchester, Carlisle and London and he also undertook a resident training post in Anaesthesia. He also spent a short time working overseas. Professor Coulthard completed Higher Specialist Surgical Training in ademic Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Manchester in 2000. This training included surgery of the mouth, surgery for facial injuries and fractures, surgery for facial disfigurement, and surgery of the salivary glands and jaw joint. He was awarded the Fellowship in Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons and subsequenlty his Specialty Fellowship in Oral Surgery by the Royal College of Surgeons Intercollegiate Board.

His clinical programme includes an in-patient major operating list (alternate weeks), two morning teaching ward rounds, a day-case operating list (alternate weeks), a treatment clinic, a consultation clinic, and fortnightly MDT clinics. 

As well as surgical training, Professor Coulthard undertook research training and was awarded an MDS in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and a PhD in Neuroscience. The MDS study deomonstrated a novel method of pain assessment in healthy human volunteers using EEG recording. The doctoral work investigated the effect of excitatory and inhibitory amino acids on gait analysis as a novel marker of pain in adjuvant induced arthritis in an animal model. The adjuvant arthritis model allows investigation of inflammatory pain and hyperalgesia.

He was promoted to the position of Senior Lecturer and Head of Department in 2000, Honorary Consultant in 2001 and Personal Chair in 2004. He is an editor with the Cochrane Collaboration Oral Health Group and is an Editorial Board member of the International Journal of Surgery, International Journal of Surgery Case Reports and the Chinese Journal for Clinicians. He was Editor-in-Chief of Oral Surgery 2013-18. He was awarded the Diplôme D’Honneur in 2006 by Lille University, France, and is Past President of the Dental Anesthesiology Research section of the International Association for Dental Research. Professor Coulthard is an expert advisor for the British National Formulary of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and for NHS Direct.

As a clinical academic Professor Coulthard believes that he has a unique opportunity to improve the quality of patient care because of his own research and ready access to the research of others that can be applied to the management of patients in a controlled and audited way. Development and implementation of the wider issues of clinical governance to ensure the provision of safe standards of patient care are part of his own mission as a clinical academic.

Research interests

Research interests

Professor Paul Coulthards 'health services research' offers best evidence for improving surgical practice particularly in the areas of postoperative pain and oral implantology but also other areas.

Clinical pain studies developed from systematic reviews have investigated intraoperative local analgesia and postoperative systemic analgesic strategies. These studies are crucial in providing the evidence for changing clinical practice and improving the pain management for patients after surgery. He has been principal investigator for many clinical trials, several investigating the efficacy and safety of novel analgesics. He is particularly interested in how to translate best research evidence into everyday clinical practice and how to overcome the barriers that can prevent this.

He was part of a small team that has written a comprehensive series of Oral Implant Cochrane Systematic Reviews that provides a reliable summary of the global scientific evidence for best practice and the foundation for future implant research. These reviews are continually being restructured and updated.

He instigated and lead a international multi-centre clinical trial demonstrated equivalent healing with a novel octylcyanoacrylate tissue adhesive compared to traditional alternatives such as sutures for the skin closure of long surgical incisions. This has significant implications in changing the 400-year-old clinical practice of wound closure with sutures. With adhesives there is no risk of needlestick injury and there are no sutures to remove for the patient.

Recently Professor Coulthard has created a tool for assessing a patients need for conscious sedation when undergoing dental treatment and oral surgery. This novel Indicator of Sedation Need (IOSN) tool uses ranked and combined information on the patient's anxiety, general health and treatment complexity. It can be used to support clinicians in their decision making and commissioners who need to identify patient need in order to plan and deliver appropriate sedation services.

He is to leading research to facilitate a global change in the practice of health professionals and their teams regarding identification and referral of their patients who present with physical injury or other signs that might indicate Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA).

Professor Coulthard has supervised over forty MSc, Mphil and PhD students and has published over 180 scientific papers. 


Funding for my research interests totalling in excess of £2.5M personal share has come from the following sources:

  • NHS Manchester
  • Medical Research Council Studentship
  • Chiroscience
  • MDS Harris
  • Smithkline Beecham Consumer Healthcare
  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Astrazeneca
  • Ethicon, a Johnson and Johnson Company
  • Pfizer
  • Menarini Richerche
  • The Royal College of Surgeons of England
  • Medical Research Collaboration Unit, Department of Health, Japan
  • National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institute of Health, USA
  • The Health Foundation


Professor Coulthard has had responsibility for the undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes in Dentistry and to the External Professional Regulators. He makes a significant personal contribution to teaching and learning of undergraduate students and surgical trainees. He is passionate about evidence-based practice and introducing this concept to students. He is proud to produce high calibre graduates in science and clinicians who are research and public health thinking. He has produced a regular weekly ‘Dentistry News’ communication and enjoys a high level of personal engagement with attendance at sports, charity and social events including annual student and graduation balls. In his role as Faculty Vice Dean and Head of the School of Medical Sciences he also has responsibility for the MBChB programe and a wide range of postgraduate taught programmes.

Professor Paul Coulthard developed MSc programmes of three-years duration incorporating clinical training that maps to Royal College curricula and so enabling eligibility to take specialty Membership Examinations. He was Director of the MSc Programmes in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for many years until 2017 and he continues to teach on this programme. He also teaches on the MSc Programme in Dental Implantology that he introduced in 2006. 

The third edition of his textbook Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Radiology, Pathology and Oral Medicine (Master Dentistry Volume 1) was published in May 2013. This has been published for distribution in China and Poland. Professor Coulthard has also co-authored chapters for six other textbooks and has many scientific publications relating to teaching and learning.

Professor Coulthard has been a member of the Higher Education Academy since 2002. He also undertook training in teaching with the Resuscitation Council (UK) and was an Advanced Life Support Instructor for many years. He undertook his teaching practice at HMS Haslar Institute of Naval Medicine. He held the post of Director of Graduate Education and Research in the School of Dentistry for four years during which he introduced seven new graduate taught courses enhancing the school portfolio and increasing flexibility. In particular he introduced three-year Clinical MSc courses that offer clinical training alongside masters study and initiated the development of a distance learning MSc in Aesthetic Dentistry in collaboration with the commercial educational company, Smile-On. Subsequently as Head of the School of Dentistry he introduced further programmes including an an MSc in Paediatric Dentistry. He is a member of the University Faculty Fitness to Practice Committee.

Professor Coulthard has held many examinerships over the years at institutions across the UK and internationally. He is currently external examiner at Glasgow University and Kuwait University. Professor Coulthard is the Royal College of Surgeons of England nominated member of the Intercollegiate Examination Board in Oral Surgery. He is Past Chairman of the Dental Sedation Teachers Group and was Chair of the Working Group that published 'Conscious Sedation in Dentistry Standards for Postgraduate Education'. He is frequently invited overseas to lead conscious sedation workshops or lecture about evidence-based oral and maxillofacial surgery.

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • British Association of Oral Surgeons (Council Member and President-Elect, President 2019-21)
  • British Dental Association Hospital Group (President)
  • British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (Fellow)
  • Association of British Academic Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (Committee Member)
  • International Association for Dental Research (Group Past President and currently Councillor)
  • Dental Sedation Teachers Group (Past Chairman)
  • Dental System Leadership Group, Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership (Chair)
  • GM Oral Surgery Managed Clinical Network (Chair)
  • NHS England NHS Commissioning Board published, 'Securing excellence in commissioning NHS dental services' 2013 (Member)
  • NHS England Commissioing Working Group publihsed, 'Introductory Guide for Commissioining Dental Specialties' 2015 (Member)
  • NHS England Commissioning Working Group published 'Guide for Commissioning Oral Surgery and Oral Medicine' 2015 (Chair)
  • NHS England Commissioning Working Group published 'Guide for Commissioning Dental Specialties – Supporting Specialties (Dental and Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral Microbiology)' in press (Chair)
  • Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) published, 'Conscious Sedation in Dentistry - Dental Clinical Guidance' 2017 (Member)
  • NHS England Commissioning Working Group published, 'Commissioning Dental Services - Conscious Sedation in a Primary Care Setting' 2017 (Chair)


BDS (University of Manchester)
MFGDP(UK) (Royal College of Surgeons of England)
MDS (University of Manchester)
FDSRCS (Royal College of Surgeons of England)
FDSRCS(OS) (Royal College of Surgeons Intercollegiate Board)
PhD Neuroscience (University of Manchester)

My collaborations

Professor Coulthard has developed research and student exchange collaborations between the School of Dentistry at the University of Manchester with the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Boston, USA; Nippon Dental University at Tokyo and Niigata, Japan: Faculty of Dental Surgery, The University of Hong Kong; Faculdade de Odontologia, Universidade de São Paulo; Departament d'Odontoestomatologia, Universitat De Barcelona.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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