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A deeper understanding of pathogen biology and immune system function is underpinning the development of new tools to diagnose, prevent and treat infectious disease.

Our interests encompass many clinically important human pathogens:

  • bacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, streptococci, MRSA, and Clostridium difficile

  • viruses, including HIV, cytomegalovirus, rabies, paramyxoviruses and influenza virus

  • fungi, including Cryptococcus

  • parasites, including the malaria parasite and intestinal helminths.

Our research on these organisms, and on host responses to them, falls into five themes:

  • pathogen biology and genomics

  • diagnostics

  • immunology and pathophysiology

  • therapeutics and vaccinology

  • clinical and tropical infection.

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Understanding pathogen biology

Building on an internationally leading bacterial microarray resource, we can now draw upon a whole-genome sequencing and bioinformatics facility to support research on bacterial pathogens worldwide.

Characterisation of pathogens based on these approaches is being applied to disease outbreaks, to identify disease epidemiology transmission networks and to track the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.

A better understanding of mechanisms of drug resistance also feeds into resistance-profiling tools and supports the development of new strategies to combat resistance.

Metagenomic profiling is providing new insight into the natural microflora of the human body and how this is altered in disease, increasing susceptibility to infection.

Host responses and immune system function

We are studying immune responses at mucosal surfaces, particularly that of lung epithelium. We are interested in the innate immune responses used by epithelial cells to resist viral invasion and bacterial colonisation. These studies offer insight into susceptibility to infection in a range of pathological conditions.

We are pursuing a long-term interest in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) disease associations and are characterising novel innate immune receptors. We are also developing methods to study zoonotic viral infections in their natural hosts.

Our interest in immunity extends to allergic and inflammatory conditions, as well as cancer, in particular understanding the molecular and cellular basis of disease. This is feeding into the design of new drugs for asthma and cancer immunotherapy.

Read more about our research into infection and immune responses


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