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Dr Tim Planche

Senior Lecturer in Medical Microbiology
Translational clinical microbiology: NHS lab to bedside (difficile, diagnostics and resistance)

Advances in infection are implemented through the diagnostic laboratory or clinical microbiology. Whether this is novel diagnostics, antibiotic stewardship, monitoring resistance or use of new antibiotics, the diagnostic laboratory is at the heart of implementing change. I am a clinical consultant microbiologist, laboratory director and researcher, my research work is to work with diagnostic laboratory at the heart of the work. This research identifies the needs of patients and clinical teams translate research.

My main responsibilities are as a clinician, laboratory director and researcher and I look after a research team working on translational infection research in infection. I work on projects with academic and industrial partners nationally and internationally on diagnostic, observational and drug studies. My focus is on sepsis and the patient pathway, antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic prophylaxis.

It was while growing up in East Asia that I started to be interested in infection. Since qualifying in medicine from St. Thomas’ Hospital, I initially trained in general(internal) medicine and then specialised in general medicine and infectious diseases, training in London.

I started my research in Thailand and Ghana working on severe malaria, which lead to working on a number of projects including an NIH funded phase III study on dichloroacetate in severe malaria, phase II studies on rectal artesunate. I then worked in Gabon working in Lambaréné and helping set up a research unit in Libreville to study fluid balance in severe malaria and pharmacokinetic studies on intramuscular artesunate. These studies lead to publication of over 20 high impact papers. After gaining my doctorate I then switched training schemes and trained in medical microbiology and infectious diseases.

I became a microbiology consultant in medical microbiology at St. George’s and started research in healthcare associated infections and, in particular, Clostridium difficile diagnostics. I was awarded an NIHR clinical senior lecturer award in 2009 and built research teams in levofloxacin prophylaxis in myeloma and C difficile diagnostics.

I have built my roles over time and been lead for antibiotic stewardship, deputy infection control doctor and microbiology clinical director. In this time I have set up an outpatient parenteral antibiotic service and overseen the merger of three laboratories. This has meant that I am conversant about laboratory management in both its role in improving patient care, but also the commercial aspects that give me insight into how diagnostics and new drugs will be used.

I have had grants from many funding bodies including NIHR and Department of Health. I have also collaborated with industrial partners on many research projects including MSD, Roche, Beckman Coulter, Astellas, Actellion, Pfizer and meridian. The research team has recently developed interest in rapid testing in sepsis and whole genome sequencing and bacterial genomics. I am a member of several advisory boards and a data safety and monitoring boards member for several international trials.

This background and experience provides the ideal environment for translational research in my areas of work, but also to provide support as laboratory director  to make St. George’s an ideal place for translational research in  infection.

My main areas of research are:-

  • the rapid diagnosis of sepsis and bacteraemia
  • Antibacterial prophylaxis – particularly levofloxacin in myeloma
  • Bacterial genomics and resistance
  • difficile


In the past I have worked on projects on severe malaria, pharmacokinetics, diagnostics and been CI or PI on several drug studies on antibiotics and antimalarials.

I work with teams inside and outside St. George's. I have collaborations with teams in the University of Birmingham, University of Cardiff and the University of Leeds.


I lecture undergraduates and post graduates in topics such as laboratory management, antimicrobial resistance and diagnostics

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