Microbiology, Immunology
and Infection

Lead: Prof Robert Read

Co-lead: Prof Saul Faust

COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of discovering and improving ways to prevent, diagnose, treat and reduce the transmission of infectious diseases.

 

This is especially true in light of the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance – where bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections much harder to treat.

 

We aim to improve the health and resilience of individuals and the NHS by engineering new solutions to reduce infectious disease and antimicrobial resistance.

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What we are tackling – Research Questions

Saving lives: Resuscitation & acute care

Led by
Prof Sandy Jack

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Preventing

and controlling infectious disease

How can we prevent and control infectious disease?

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Accelerating diagnosis

How can we accelerate diagnosis to improve patient care and reduce antimicrobial resistance?

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Treating antibiotic resistant infections

How can we treat infections resistant to antibiotics in hospitals using novel antimicrobial strategies?

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Improving infection management

in primary care

How can we improve infection management in primary care by responsible antibiotic usage and use of rapid diagnostics?

Our impact

We are one of very few centres worldwide able to safely infect healthy volunteers to study infectious diseases like meningitis. We’ve used this to find new ways of preventing infection and advancing vaccination efforts. We are also leading national and international trials that address the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance. Our Point-of-Care Testing expertise was rapidly translated into real-world impact during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • In a world-first controlled infection with genetically modified bacteria, we showed stronger resulting immunity against Neisseria meningitidis. We’re now trialling freeze-dried bacteria in West Africa, a site of major outbreaks.

  • Our controlled infection studies were key to confirming theories about whooping cough and advancing prevention. We are now developing new infection measures, enabling vaccine trials for herd immunity. Read more

  • We have developed and shared a range of tests and behavioural approaches that help reduce the use of antibiotics. Our work is referred to in guidelines setting standards of care for the NHS. The national GP’s online antibiotic use toolkit and NHS patient information draws upon our research.

  • Our pioneering Point-of-Care Testing (POCT) research has substantially cut diagnosis times of respiratory diseases. Two key studies between 2014 and 2020 have been fed by Dr Tristan Clark into UK POCT testing guidelines.

  • When COVID-19 hit, we rapidly evaluated POCT technology for SARS-CoV-2 and cut diagnosis time from over 21 hours to under two hours. Read more

  • By January 2021, all acute NHS hospitals were using these rapid COVID-19 tests. The technology cut in-hospital infections, saved lives across the NHS and helped turn the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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COVICutting COVID-19 infection test times from days to hours

COVID-19 showed how vital rapid testing is to stop the spread of infections. Our pioneering Point-of-Care Testing (POCT) research cut diagnosis times from 21-48 hours to under two hours. Read more

 

Our people

Meet key individuals leading and enabling Microbiology, Immunology and Infection research in Southampton.

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Prof Robert Read

Professor of Infectious Diseases

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Prof Salim Khakoo

Professor of Hepatology

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Dr Stuart Clarke

Associate Professor in Infectious Disease Epidemiology

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Prof Saul Faust

Professor of Paediatric Immunology and Infectious Diseases

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Dr Chrissie Jones

Associate Professor in Paediatric Infectious Diseases

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Prof Ian Clarke

Professor of Molecular Microbiology / Virology

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Dr Franklin Nobrega

Consultant Microbiologist

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Prof Jeremy Webb

Director of the National Biofilm Innovation Centre and Professor of Microbiology within Biological Sciences

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Dr Tristan Clark

Associate Professor and Honorary Consultant in Infectious Diseases

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Dr Sandra Wilks

Lecturer in Medical Microbiology

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Dr Jacqui Prieto

Associate Clinical Professor, Infection Prevention

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Prof Myron Christodoulides

Professor of Bacteriology

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Prof James Wilkinson

Professor of Optoelectronics

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Prof Michael Moore

Professor of Primary Health Care Research

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Prof Timothy Leighton

Professor of Ultrasonics and Underwater Acoustics

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Prof Paul Little

Professor of Primary Care Research