Name: Tom Harrison
Position: Professor of infectious diseases and medicine; Joint head of the Infection and Immunity Research Centre
Research centre: Infection and Immunity
Division: Clinical Sciences
Room: Wellcome Laboratory Office
Tel +44(0)20 8725 0447
Cryptococcal meningitis, opportunistic Infection in HIV tuberculosis, chemotherapy and drug resistance systemic fungal infection, antifungal chemotherapy clinical research, international health.
My initial research training was in the laboratory of Professor Stuart Levitz in Boston, where I worked on immune responses to cryptococcus neoformans, fungal organisms that can cause diseases including meningitis.
My clinical research training was through the programmes in Clinical Effectiveness and International Health at Harvard Medical School. On returning to the UK, clinical trial work was developed first in Thailand, and subsequently in Africa.
In the first study of its kind, the fungicidal activities of different drug treatments for cryptococcal meningitis were directly compared to determine the rate of clearance of infection. The technique was shown to be much more powerful than prior markers of response, opening the way for more rapid assessment of novel treatments.
Follow up trials have been completed in Cape Town, Uganda and Malawi. Associated laboratory projects are examining the effects of other pathogen and host factors on the outcome of infection.
The feasibility of preventing of cryptococcal meningitis through screening for sub-clinical infection and pre-emptive therapy has been demonstrated, and a novel point-of-care test for immunodiagnosis is being developed with collaborators to aid screening. With colleagues in the InterTB Group at St George’s, phase II and III trials of chemotherapy for tuburculosis are under way, and novel methods for rapid and reliable testing for drug sensitivity of tuberculosis isolates are being developed.
- Infectious Diseases Society of America Division Fellowship in Medical Mycology.
- Young Investigator Award.
- NIH/Fogarty HIV, Aids and Related Illnesses Collaboration Award.
- Advanced Training Fellowship. The Wellcome Trust.
- MRC College of Experts. Advisor to the Health Services and Public Health Research Board.
- Infectious Diseases Society of America expert panel member.