The Imperial College research group headed by Professor Michael Levin has a long track record of research on mycobacterial diseases. The group identified the first patients with Mandelian susceptibility to mycobacterial infection (Newport et al NEJM 1996), the seminal work opened up the field of interferon-g IL12 defects and contributed to our understanding of the immunological mechanisms for containment of mycobacteria. The group has made numerous contributions to understanding the immunology and genetics of TB, developing a whole blood mycobacterial killing assay in collaboration with Professor Beate Kampmann and identifying the first cases of auto-antibodies against interferon-g as a mechanism in TB immunity (Kampmann, JCI 2005).

The Imperial College group has led multi-centre studies of both childhood and adult TB in Africa to identify RNA expression signatures for both adult (Kaforou, PloS Medicine 2013) and paediatric TB (Anderson, NEJM 2014) in collaboration with partners at the University of Cape Town, Wellcome Trust Centres in Blantyre and Karonga, Malawi and the Wellcome Trust Research Unit in Kenya.

Current research in the Section for Paediatrics focuses on understanding the genetic and immunological mechanisms for immunity to mycobacteria, unravelling the genetic basis of mycobacterial susceptibility and resistance, and improved diagnosis of TB through the application of genomic and proteomic methods. Members of the research group include:

  • Dr Sandra Newton, Lecturer in Paediatric Infectious Diseaes
  • Dr Melissa Hamilton, who leads the protoemic studies
  • Dr Myrsini Kaforou, who leads the bioinformatic analysis of genomic and proteomic data

The group has long term collaborative studies with Professor Beate Kampmann’s group in the Gambia, West Africa, the University of Cape Town and the University of Malawi.