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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.


What we are tackling – Research Questions

Saving lives: Resuscitation & acute care

Led by
Prof Sandy Jack

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and controlling infectious disease

How can we prevent and control infectious disease?



Accelerating diagnosis

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


Treating antibiotic resistant infections

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


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.


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

Our people

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


Prof Robert Read

Chair of Infectious Diseases


Prof James Wilkinson

Professor of Optoelectronics


Prof Ian Clarke

Professor of Virology


Prof Saul Faust

Professor of Paediatric Immunology and Infectious Diseases


Prof Paul Little

Professor of Primary Care Research


Prof Timothy Leighton

Professor of Ultrasonics and Underwater Acoustics


Dr Franklin Nobrega

Consultant Microbiologist


Dr Jacqui Prieto

Associate Clinical Professor, Infection Prevention


Prof Tristan Clark

Professor and Honorary Consultant in Infectious Diseases


Professor Stuart Clarke

Professor of Microbiology and Public Health


Prof Myron Christodoulides

Professor of Bacteriology


Prof Michael Moore

Professor of Primary Health Care Research


Dr Adam Dale

NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in Infectious Diseases


Dr Chrissie Jones

Associate Professor in Paediatric Infectious Diseases


Prof Salim Khakoo

Professor of Hepatology


Dr Jay Laver

Principal Research Fellow in Molecular Microbiology and Controlled Human Infection


Prof Jeremy Webb

Professor of Microbiology


Dr Sandra Wilks

Lecturer in Medical Microbiology

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