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2020 NIHR ACF PES Imperial Platform Science and Bioinformatics 3



2020 NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship in Priority Research Themes

HEE Local Office: North West London
Medical School: Imperial College London
Research Theme: Platform Science and Bioinformatics
Specialty Options: Infectious Diseases

Plain English Summary

Imperial pioneered UK training in Infectious Diseases, and hosts trainees in both Infectious Diseases/Internal Medicine as well as Infectious Diseases/microbiology and virology. Academic Clinical Fellows in both Infectious Diseases have had an excellent track record of obtaining competitive PhD fellowships and many previous Training Fellows have gone on to win prestigious post-doctoral fellowship awards from Wellcome and the MRC. Imperial’s four sites and vast clinical diagnostic laboratory provide excellent opportunities for training in infection and will be complemented by a new £2m state of the art research diagnostic laboratory dedicate to promoting anti-microbial resistance research, embedded within the NHS.

Infectious Diseases at Imperial hosts approx. £80m in research activity. Central to research activity in Infection are the multiple NIHR Health Protection Units based at Imperial, that bring an established collaboration with Public Health England and an ability to validate results and data at a national-level. These include the Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Healthcare-associated Infection and AMR, which has a remit to study severe bacterial sepsis, and the HPRU’s in Respiratory Infections, and Modelling. The partnership is further strengthened by the excellent basic science opportunities available to develop projects to their fullest, for example the MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology.

The specific research project undertaken will be developed with the appointee. In adult Infectious diseases, there is opportunity to analyse large datasets and samples already available from >2000 patients with possible sepsis and to focus on developing biomarkers of infection diagnosis (for example, viral or bacterial infection), disease severity (for diseases leading to death), response to treatments and also wider questions of why some patients are susceptible to infection.  This might be done by linking genomic (genetic) data to specific infections or outcome data.

Alternative projects would include comparing infective organisms causing severe disease and sepsis with the normal populations of infectious organisms for example in the gut, nose or mouth. We already have collections of patient data and infectious organisms,  and the platforms on which to undertake these studies.