Professor David Mabey DM FRCP FMedSci

Professor of Communicable Diseases


David Mabey is a physician specialising in Infectious and Tropical Diseases. After training in the UK, he went to work at the Medical Research Council unit in The Gambia, West Africa in 1978, and was in charge of clinical services there from 1982-86. He joined the School as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Clinical Sciences in 1986, and was made Professor of Communicable Diseases in 1994. He is an Honorary Consultant Physician at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London. He was head of the Clinical Research Unit in the School from 1995-2002, and has been Director of the Wellcome Trust Bloomsbury Centre for Clinical Tropical Medicine/Global Health Research since 1995. He was responsible for the Knowledge Programme on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections, funded at the School by the Department for International Development from 1991-2007. He is a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group of the WHO Department of Reproductive Healh and Research, and was Director of the WHO Collaborating centre for the Prevention and Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections at the School from 2003-9.  He has been Chair of the Field Trials Committee of the STD Diagnostics Initiative at WHO/TDR since 2001. He is a member of the WHO Global Alliance for the elimination of trachoma, and has sat on the Trachoma Expert Committee of the International Trachoma Initiative. He was awarded the CBE in 2014 for services to health development in Africa and Asia.




David Mabey ran the DTM&H course at the School from 1988 to 1996. He set up the MSc course in Sexually Transmitted Diseases with colleagues at UCL, and started a study unit in the Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in 1996. He teaches on the London DTM&H course and the MScs in Control of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine and International Health.  Since 2010 he has worked with Philip Gothard and colleagues at Makerere University, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Washington in Seattle to establish the School's new East African DTM&H course.



David Mabey became interested in trachoma, caused by ocular infection with Chlamydia trachomatis, and in genital C. trachomatis infection, while working in the Gambia. Since the early 1980s he has continued to do research on both trachoma and sexually transmitted infections, with many collaborators both within and outside the School. Most of his field work has been done in The Gambia and Tanzania, and he also runs a laboratory at the School where he has worked on the pathogenesis of and immune response to C. trachomatis infection. He is particularly interested in the link between HIV infection and other STIs, and worked with Richard Hayes on the Mwanza intervention trial, which showed that it was possible to reduce the transmission of HIV by improved case management of other STIs at the primary health care level. With Robin Bailey,  Martin Holland and Matthew Burton, he has established one of the largest research groups in the world working on the pathogenesis, control and elimination of blinding trachoma. In recent years he has become particularly interested in the development and evaluation of new,  point-of-care diagnostics for infectious diseases, and worked with Rosanna Peeling to establish the International Diagnostics Centre at the School in 2012. Since 2012 he has been doing research on yaws in Papua New Guinea, Ghana and and the Solomon Islands, in support of the new WHO eradication programme.

Research areas

  • Bacteria
  • Clinical care
  • Clinical trials
  • Diagnostics
  • Disease control
  • Impact evaluation
  • Implementation research
  • Innate immunity
  • Sexual health


  • Bacteriology
  • Epidemiology
  • Genetic epidemiology
  • Immunology
  • Immunopathology
  • Medicine
  • Microbiology
  • Opthalmology

Disease and Health Conditions

  • Blindness
  • Eye diseases
  • Infectious disease
  • Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
  • Sexually transmitted disease
  • Sexually transmitted infection
  • Skin disease
  • Syphilis
  • Trachoma
  • Tropical diseases


  • East Asia & Pacific (all income levels)
  • Latin America & Caribbean (developing only)
  • Sub-Saharan Africa (developing only)


  • Brazil
  • China
  • Ethiopia
  • Gambia, The
  • Ghana
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Hong Kong SAR, China
  • Malawi
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia

Other interests

  • Africa
  • Clinical Tropical Medicine
  • EA DTM&H
  • East Africa
  • Ebola
  • Gambia
  • HIV prevention
  • Neglected Tropical Diseases
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • Wellcome Trust
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