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Department of Clinical Research

Head of Department: Philippe Mayaud

Department Research Degree Co-ordinators: Martin Holland and Sarah Polack

Departmental Operating Officer: Susan Sheedy

Tel: +44(0)20 7927 2256 Fax: +44(0)20 7927 2739


The research interests of the Department of Clinical Research focus on diseases of public health importance in resource-constrained settings, with particular strengths in mycobacterial disease (tuberculosis and leprosy), malaria, sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, eye health and disability, and tropical and travel medicine. 

Activities include trials of new therapies, vaccines and public health interventions; population and clinic-based epidemiological studies; the development and evaluation of new diagnostic tests; studies investigating the immunological and molecular correlates of pathogenesis and protective immunity, and genetic polymorphisms conferring protection or susceptibility to infectious diseases; health services research which aims to identify the most efficient and cost-effective ways to deliver health care, interwoven with health policy analysis.

Details of some of the larger research projects and groups can be found on our Research page

Our work

Several members of the Department practise clinical medicine at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, in purpose-built accommodation within the University College Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, five minutes' walk from the School. However, our research is multidisciplinary, extending from basic laboratory science (immunology and molecular biology) through clinical medicine to epidemiology, public health and economics. We collaborate extensively with other Departments in the School, in the UK and overseas, especially in Africa, but also in Asia and South America. Department staff are based in The Gambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa and India, and we have research degree students based in many other countries.

The Department has particular strengths in research on HIV and related infections. Work on the interactions between HIV and other sexually transmitted infections has focused particularly on HSV-2, and the effect of HSV treatment on HIV transmission, with studies in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa. We also conduct research on the control of Human papilloma virus (HPV) and cervical cancer in HIV-infected and non-infected populations in Africa.

Several staff research interactions between HIV infection and tuberculosis in Zambia, Malawi and South Africa, including trials of population-based tuberculosis case finding; novel strategies using isoniazid preventive therapy; and studies of new diagnostics.

Work in leprosy includes research into the pathogenesis and treatment of leprosy reactions, interaction with HIV, and investigation of new drugs, with studies in India, Nepal, Ethiopia and Brazil.

Eye health projects, ongoing in India, Nepal, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Brazil, include work on causes of blindness, retinopathy of prematurity, and the effect of services for children with impaired vision. Work on trachoma in The Gambia and Tanzania ranges from studies of pathogenesis to interventions to control this disease.