Infection & Antimicrobial Resistance

Our theme focuses on tackling the high burden of infectious diseases by prioritising:

  • Prevention and Vaccination
  • Diagnostics and Digital Health
  • Therapeutic approaches and precision medicine.
Why is this Research Needed

North-west London has substantial social inequality and an ethnically diverse population. The area has long been associated with a high burden of infectious diseases, but this came into sharp focus with the high mortality from COVID-19. Engagement with the local community and patient groups prior to COVID-19 identified antimicrobial resistance (AMR), HIV and pandemic preparedness as research priorities to safeguard and protect the health of the Northwest London population and beyond.

Theme Aims
  • To develop improved approaches to preventing infection (potentially supported by human challenge studies)
  • To identify new diagnostic markers to determine viral/bacterial infection and novel means for rapid diagnosis
  • To evaluate the impact of rapid diagnostics on clinical pathways
  • To identify novel therapeutic agents and better ways to use existing therapeutics
Upcoming /Ongoing Projects within the Theme

Novel prevention and vaccination strategies

Investigators are working on the next generation of vaccines, particularly RNA-based technologies including self-amplifying RNA. Theme members work closely with colleagues in bioengineering to develop new methodologies for delivery and with industrial partners on Phase I/II studies. Aligned with this, the discovery of monoclonal antibodies for both diagnostics and therapeutics is embedded in the theme, focussed particularly on bacterial infection.

Work on vaccine development is supported by controlled human infection models (CHIM).  Local investigators have a long track record in respiratory virus challenge work (influenza, rhinovirus, RSV) and led the first human challenge studies with SARS-CoV2. In partnership with Imperial College NHS Trust and Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, this programme continues with a wider capacity for human challenges including malaria and salmonella infections.

Diagnostics and digital health

Theme investigators have led the discovery of new diagnostic markers to support the management of patients with a fever (both adults and children). Novel gene expression and metabolic markers are being developed as diagnostics in collaboration with industrial partners. During the COVID-19 pandemic, investigators led the clinical development of COVIDnudge,  a novel point-of-care diagnostic rolled out across the NHS. Translation of new tests to the NHS is supported by the Colebrook Laboratory and the Molecular Diagnostics Unit.

Digital support tools and altering are an area of major focus, investigators continue to evaluate tools for prompt detection and management of sepsis, and selection of antimicrobials, working closely with the BRC Digital Health Theme.

In partnership with the NHS, the BRC Igenios Clinic provides a service for children and young adults with severe infection to identify rare genetic variants that might offer insight into disease susceptibility and guide future management.

Novel therapeutic approaches and precision medicine

Investigators are developing and evaluating novel therapies that offer potential curative therapy for chronic viral infection (particularly HIV, HTLV and hepatitis C). Trials of neutralising antibody therapy are underway and novel cellular therapeutics are in development (for example iNKT cellular therapy). Trials are also underway for novel monoclonal therapy that might prevent the emergence of malignancy in patients living with HTLV.

The theme supports studies that evaluate the optimum way to use existing antimicrobials. The Centre for antimicrobial optimisation explores the optimum dosing, particularly of antibacterials while the theme supports the development of platform therapeutic trials,  including REMAPCAP-flu,  to evaluate different treatments for patients admitted to hospitals with influenza.

Patient and Public Involvement, Engagement and Participation

Our theme research priorities were established through engagement with local community and patient groups. Research projects within our theme are committed to raising public awareness,  delivering educational content and actively surveying the public and research participants for feedback. Our community partners will also provide critical feedback on research projects and lay summaries, and ensure that the research is beneficial to the public.

At the management level, our community partners with lived experience will help guide our theme’s strategy by contributing to the theme steering committee meetings. We also work closely with the BRC Patient Experience Research Centre to coordinate PPIEP activities.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Our research focuses on addressing infections that affect ethnically diverse populations, including underserved and marginalized groups. We are dedicated to promoting diversity in research participation by fostering trust and understanding within the community. Our commitment to inclusivity and diversity also extends to our community partners, who will be chosen from a wide range of backgrounds. Additionally, we apply EDI principles in our recruitment processes to create an inclusive academic community that accommodates individuals with diverse physical needs.

Detailed objectives can be found here

This world AMR Awareness Week (WAAW) 18 to 24 November 2023, let’s look back at the history and find ways to fight this urgent global public health threat- Antimicrobial resistance: securing the future.


Key Individuals
  • Professor Graham Cooke
    Professor Graham Cooke
    Theme lead and Professor of Infectious Diseases
  • Professor Wendy Barclay
    Professor Wendy Barclay
    Theme Lead & Chair in Influenza Virology
  • Dr Andrew Edwards
    Dr Andrew Edwards
    Non-Clinical Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology
  • Dr Anika Singanayagam
    Dr Anika Singanayagam
    Clinical Lecturer
  • Dr Aubrey Cunnington
    Dr Aubrey Cunnington
    Professor of Paediatric Infectious Disease
  • Dr Frances Davies
    Dr Frances Davies
    Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer
  • Dr Luke Moore
    Dr Luke Moore
    Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer
  • Dr Malick Gibani
    Dr Malick Gibani
    Clinical Lecturer
  • Dr Paul Randell
    Dr Paul Randell
    Infectious Diseases Consultant
  • Professor Alison Holmes
    Professor Alison Holmes
    Professor of Infectious Diseases
  • Professor Anthony Gordon
    Professor Anthony Gordon
    Chair in Anaesthesia and Critical Care
  • Professor Charles Bangham
    Professor Charles Bangham
    Chair of Immunology
  • Professor Christopher Chiu
    Professor Christopher Chiu
    Professor of Infectious Diseases
  • Professor Darius Armstrong-James
    Professor Darius Armstrong-James
    Professor of Infectious Diseases and Medical Mycology
  • Professor Faith Osier
    Professor Faith Osier
    Co-Director, IoI, Chair, Immunology & Vaccinology
  • Professor Gad Frankel
    Professor Gad Frankel
    Professor of Molecular Pathogenesis
  • Professor Georgios Kassiotis
    Professor Georgios Kassiotis
    Professor of Retrovirology
  • Professor Graham Taylor
    Professor Graham Taylor
    Professor of Human Retrovirology
  • Professor José R Penadés
    Professor José R Penadés
    Director MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology & Infection
  • Professor Marta Boffito
    Professor Marta Boffito
    Professor of Practice
  • Professor Neil Ferguson
    Professor Neil Ferguson
    Professor of Mathematical Biology
  • Professor Paul Freemont
    Professor Paul Freemont
    Chair in Protein Crystallography
  • Professor Paul Kellam
    Professor Paul Kellam
    Professor of Virus Genomics
  • Professor Robert Wilkinson
    Professor Robert Wilkinson
    Professor in Infectious Diseases
  • Professor Robin Shattock
    Professor Robin Shattock
    Chair in Mucosal Infection and Immunity
  • Professor Rosemary Boyton
    Professor Rosemary Boyton
    Professor of Immunology and Respiratory Medicine
  • Professor Sarah Fidler
    Professor Sarah Fidler
    Professor of HIV medicine
  • Professor Shiranee Sriskandan
    Professor Shiranee Sriskandan
    Professor of Infectious Diseases
  • Professor Sivaramesh Wigneshweraraj
    Professor Sivaramesh Wigneshweraraj
    Professor of Molecular Microbiology
  • Professor Xiao-Ning Xu
    Professor Xiao-Ning Xu
    Chair in Human Immunology
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