Infection & Antimicrobial Resistance

Imperial College London has national centres of excellence in infection, which are coordinated by the NIHR Imperial BRC and involve partnerships with a number of national and international funders and institutions. The BRC provides a structure to underpin work in bacteriology, HIV immunology, retrovirology, point of care diagnostics, healthcare associated infections and antimicrobial resistance, asthma, respiratory infection, global health, and the development of modelling methodology. The approach is to integrate fundamental discovery science, clinical medicine and epidemiology with the aim to treat or prevent human diseases of global importance. There are three main streams to the coordinated work of the BRC Infection theme:

Innovative diagnostics to improve management of infection
We are working to develop tests that can distinguish bacterial from viral infection, diagnose sepsis early, and identify the causative pathogen. By developing better diagnostics, we are protecting the health of current patients and also contributing to the slowing of antimicrobial resistance. We are developing a rapid point of care diagnostic in collaboration with the Institute of Bioengineering, and DNA Electronics Ltd. We are also employing new genetic sequencing technology to develop preventative strategies for viral transmission; understand the evolution of gastrointestinal microbiota from birth, in order to predict the risk and outcome of neonatal sepsis and necrotizing enterocolitis; and explore susceptibility to severe bacterial infections, including scarlet fever, E.coli bacteremia, maternal sepsis, and transmission routes of nosocomial group B streptococcus in neonatal units.

New therapeutic approaches to treatment of infection
We are using our understanding of signature biomarkers in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) to evaluate new antivirals, and we continue our quest for a ‘cure’ for the common cold, focusing on antivirals and disease modification. Middle Eastern Respiratory Coronavirus (MERS) and Dengue fever virus continue to cause outbreaks globally – we are looking for new treatments, based on monoclonal antibodies. We are also exploring new antibacterial agents, including bacteriophages, enzyme inhibitors of LtaS, and inhibitors of type 6 secretion systems. By stratifying patients, we are predicting risk factors, and treatment failure or success, for a number of infections including HIV, hepatitis B and Human T-cell lymphotropic virus.

Preventing infection
Our new vaccine technologies, based on modified synthetic and replicating nucleic acid sequences (RNA/DNA vaccines) are enabling us to expedite the development of next generation vaccines against protracted and emerging viral diseases, such as Dengue fever, Zika virus disease, SARS, MERS, viral hemorrhagic fevers, and influenza. Our new tuberculosis vaccine provides a fluorescent indication of vaccine efficiency, and we are also looking for vaccine targets for other common bacterial pathogens. Our aim is not only to develop new vaccines, we are also seeking to improve existing vaccines and vaccination strategies. Alongside this work, we are developing new systems to test safety and efficacy of vaccines.

The work of the infection theme continues to inform guidelines in care, nationally and internationally – we are already world leaders in molecular diagnostics and translation of basic research into clinical delivery and aim to build on this strong position. The Imperial Vaccine Centre will support early phase trials of vaccines and platform vaccine technologies. To achieve our longer term aims to rapidly integrate new technologies into clinical practice and develop new immunomodulators and antimicrobials, we are perfectly placed to take advantage of advanced diagnostics, imaging and integrated informatics.

Key Individuals
  • Professor Jonathan Weber
    Professor Jonathan Weber
    Director, NIHR Imperial BRC
  • Professor Peter Openshaw
    Professor Peter Openshaw
    Theme Lead, Infection
  • Dr Alan Winston
    Dr Alan Winston
    Reader in Genito-Urinary Medicine
  • Dr Andrew Edwards
    Dr Andrew Edwards
    Non-Clinical Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology
  • Dr Christopher Chiu
    Dr Christopher Chiu
    Senior Clinical Research Fellow
  • Dr David Aanensen
    Dr David Aanensen
    Senior Lecturer
  • Dr Goedele Maertens
    Dr Goedele Maertens
    Lecturer
  • Dr Graham Cooke
    Dr Graham Cooke
    Clinical Senior Lecturer in Infectious Diseases
  • Dr Jill Gilmour
    Dr Jill Gilmour
    Reader in Vaccine Immunology
  • Dr Marcus Dorner
    Dr Marcus Dorner
    Non-Clinical Lecturer in Immunology
  • Dr Onn Min Kon
    Dr Onn Min Kon
    Consultant Respiratory Physician
  • Dr Sarah Fidler
    Dr Sarah Fidler
    Reader and consultant physician in HIV and GUM
  • Professor Adnan Custovic
    Professor Adnan Custovic
    Clinical Chair in Paediatric Allergy
  • Professor Ajit Lalvani
    Professor Ajit Lalvani
    Chair of Infectious Diseases
  • Professor Alison Holmes
    Professor Alison Holmes
    Professor of Infectious Diseases
  • Professor Anne O'Garra
    Professor Anne O'Garra
    Chair in Infection Immunology
  • Professor Bryony Dean Franklin
    Professor Bryony Dean Franklin
    Executive Lead Pharmacist (Research)
  • Professor Charles Bangham
    Professor Charles Bangham
    Chair of Immunology
  • Professor David Holden
    Professor David Holden
    Director of the Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection
  • Professor Douglas Young
    Professor Douglas Young
    Fleming Professor of Medical Microbiology
  • Professor Eric Yeatman
    Professor Eric Yeatman
    Professor of Micro-Engineering
  • Professor Francis Drobniewski
    Professor Francis Drobniewski
    Professor of Global Health and Tuberculosis
  • Professor Graham Taylor
    Professor Graham Taylor
    Professor of Human Retrovirology
  • Professor Joanna Haigh
    Professor Joanna Haigh
    Co-Director, Grantham Institute for Climate Change & Environment
  • Professor Jonathan Friedland
    Professor Jonathan Friedland
    Chair in Infectious Diseases and Immunity
  • Professor Kathryn Maitland
    Professor Kathryn Maitland
    Professor of Tropical Paediatric Infectious Diseases
  • Professor Maria Zambon
    Professor Maria Zambon
    Visiting Professor / Director of UK Health Protection Agency
  • Professor Martin Buck FRS
    Professor Martin Buck FRS
    Professor of Molecular Microbiology
  • Professor Michael Levin
    Professor Michael Levin
    Chair in Paediatrics & International Child Health
  • Professor Myra McClure
    Professor Myra McClure
    Professor of Retrovirology
  • Professor Neil Ferguson
    Professor Neil Ferguson
    Professor of Mathematical Biology
  • Professor Nicholas Grassly
    Professor Nicholas Grassly
    Professor of Infectious Disease & Vaccine Epidemiology
  • Professor Robert Wilkinson
    Professor Robert Wilkinson
    Professor in Infectious Diseases/Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellow
  • Professor Robin Shattock
    Professor Robin Shattock
    Chair in Mucosal Infection and Immunity
  • Professor Sebastian Johnston
    Professor Sebastian Johnston
    NIHR Senior Investigator/Asthma UK Clinical Professor
  • Professor Shiranee Sriskandan
    Professor Shiranee Sriskandan
    Professor of Infectious Diseases
  • Professor Sivaramesh Wigneshweraraj
    Professor Sivaramesh Wigneshweraraj
    Professor of Molecular Microbiology
  • Professor Wendy Barclay
    Professor Wendy Barclay
    Chair in Influenza Virology
  • Professor Xiaodong Zhang
    Professor Xiaodong Zhang
    Professor of Macromolecular Structure and Function
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