Professor Martin Antonio


of Molecular Microbiology & Global Health, Co-Director of LSHTM Centre for Epidemic Preparedness and Response, MRC Investigator


Keppel Street
United Kingdom


I am based at the MRC Unit The Gambia @ LSHTM, where I am MRC Investigator and Co-Director of LSHTM Centre for Epidemic Preparedness and Response. I was the founding Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for New Vaccines Surveillance and now directs the WHO Regional Reference Laboratory for invasive bacterial diseases. I am currently a member of the MRC Unit The Gambia @ LSHTM Senior Strategic Leadership Board and Chairs the Unit’s West Africa Strategy and partnership. In this role, I represent the Unit at most regional meetings in Africa including the West Africa Global Health Alliance, ECOWAS, AU's Africa CDC, WHO AFRO and West Africa Health Organisation.

I obtained my PhD from Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London in 1997. I am a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, Royal College of Pathologist (UK) and Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (London, UK). I am also Honorary Professor at Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK and previously an Honorary Professor at LSHTM until the MRC Unit The Gambia was transferred to LSHTM in Feb 2018.

I serve on numerous Scientific Advisory Boards & Committees including Board member of the West Africa Global Health Alliance (WAGHA), member of The Gambia Government/MRC Joint Ethics Committee (and acted as Scientific advisor on the ethics committee), member of the MRC Unit The Gambia Scientific Coordinating Committee, Co-Chair of The Gambia Government MDR-TB National Committee, member of the International Human Microbiome Consortium, member of WHO technical working group for Invasive Bacterial Vaccine Preventable Disease (IB-VPD) Surveillance Network (Geneva), Expert Panel Member on Antimicrobial Resistance, Department of Health, UK, Special Advisor to WHO on Meningitis Outbreaks in Africa,  a member of Board of Trustees SOS Children's Villages The Gambia. Additionally, served as Expert Panel Member on diarrheal diseases, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

Previously served as a member of European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) Developing Countries Coordinating Committee (TB expert for West Africa Region), member of International Scientific Advisory Board, University of Cape Town Clinical Infectious Diseases Research initiative (CIDRI). Published over 200 research peer-reviewed articles with a research publication H-Index of 56 with over 15060 citations and supervised ten PhD students in UK universities.


Professional Support Services
Department of Infection Biology
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases


TB Centre
Vaccine Centre
Antimicrobial Resistance Centre
Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health


I am the Research Degrees Coordinator at the MRC Unit The Gambia @ LSHTM and I chair the Higher Degrees Committee. 

Developed (lab component) three-week free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on Disease Outbreak.

I contribute to the MSc Distance Learning courses in Medical Microbiology, Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases and Control of Infectious Disease.

I have also hosted MSc summer research project students from LSHTM in The Gambia.

I teach on the Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Course on Molecular Approaches to Clinical Microbiology in Africa. 

I have supervised nine UK PhD students and examined several PhD thesis in UK and South Africa Universities.


My research is focused on the leverage of innovative molecular technologies in diagnosis of tropical diseases (mainly tuberculosis, meningitis, pneumonia, diarrhoeal diseases), investigation of meningitis outbreaks and transmission, antimicrobial resistance and clinical trials. I lead a number of large-scale international research projects, including serving as the WHO Reference Laboratory for Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD) and establishing large IPD surveillance platforms across twelve countries in West and Central Africa for measuring pneumococcal conjugate vaccine impact.

Additional, the WHO Collaborating Centre (WHOCC) for New Vaccines Surveillance provides technical support to countries in the African Region to improve on surveillance of Invasive Bacterial Diseases (IBD). A key objective of the centre is to support WHO sentinel sites to (1) Quantify the burden of invasive bacterial disease to inform policy makers on new vaccine introduction (2) Measure disease burden and vaccine impact (3) Quantify the burden of antimicrobial resistance and its potential on vaccine impact to reduce antimicrobial resistance. The centre also promotes national and regional networking and conduct training courses, workshops and seminars on vaccine preventable diseases in Africa. This is achieved through strong collaboration and capacity building with Ministries of Health in Africa.

The centre also provides expertise and technical assistance during meningitis outbreaks in sub-Saharan Africa. Most notably, I led the WHO rapid support team for meningitis outbreak in Ghana (2016), Nigeria (2017) and Sudan (2019) where I supported the governments and public health officers to identify the causative outbreak agents.

Furthermore, my research applies molecular tools to understand the impact of air pollution on the nasopharyngeal microbiome and epidemic meningitis in Africa.

Research Area
Child health
Climate change
Global Health
Genetic epidemiology
Molecular epidemiology
Molecular biology
Disease and Health Conditions
Diarrhoeal diseases
Infectious disease
Emerging Infectious Disease
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
Respiratory disease
Burkina Faso
Central African Republic
Cote d'Ivoire
Republic of the Congo
United Kingdom
Sierra Leone
South Sudan
South Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)

Selected Publications

International genomic definition of pneumococcal lineages, to contextualise disease, antibiotic resistance and vaccine impact.
Gladstone RA; Lo SW; Lees JA; Croucher NJ; van Tonder AJ; Corander J; Page AJ; Marttinen P; Bentley LJ; Ochoa TJ
Pneumococcal lineages associated with serotype replacement and antibiotic resistance in childhood invasive pneumococcal disease in the post-PCV13 era: an international whole-genome sequencing study.
Lo SW; Gladstone RA; van Tonder AJ; Lees JA; du Plessis M; Benisty R; Givon-Lavi N; Hawkins PA; Cornick JE; Kwambana-Adams B
The Lancet Infectious Diseases
Putative novel cps loci in a large global collection of pneumococci.
van Tonder AJ; Gladstone RA; Lo SW; Nahm MH; du Plessis M; Cornick J; Kwambana-Adams B; Madhi SA; Hawkins PA; Benisty R
Microbial Genomics
Colonization factors among enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli isolates from children with moderate-to-severe diarrhea and from matched controls in the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS).
Vidal RM; Muhsen K; Tennant SM; Svennerholm A-M; Sow SO; Sur D; Zaidi AKM; Faruque ASG; Saha D; Adegbola R
Meningococcus serogroup C clonal complex ST-10217 outbreak in Zamfara State, Northern Nigeria.
Kwambana-Adams BA; Amaza RC; Okoi C; Rabiu M; Worwui A; Foster-Nyarko E; Ebruke B; Sesay AK; Senghore M; Umar AS
Scientific reports
Second-line anti-tuberculosis drug resistance testing in Ghana identifies the first extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis case
Osei-Wusu S; Amo Omari M; Asante-Poku A; Darko Otchere I; Asare P; Forson A; Otu J; Antonio M; Yeboah-Manu D
Infection and Drug Resistance
Comparative genomics of Mycobacterium africanum Lineage 5 and Lineage 6 from Ghana suggests distinct ecological niches.
Otchere ID; Coscollá M; Sánchez-Busó L; Asante-Poku A; Brites D; Loiseau C; Meehan C; Osei-Wusu S; Forson A; Laryea C
Scientific Reports
Comparative Genomic Analysis and In Vivo Modeling of Streptococcus pneumoniae ST3081 and ST618 Isolates Reveal Key Genetic and Phenotypic Differences Contributing to Clonal Replacement of Serotype 1 in The Gambia.
Bricio-Moreno L; Ebruke C; Chaguza C; Cornick J; Kwambana-Adams B; Yang M; Mackenzie G; Wren BW; Everett D; Antonio M
The Journal of infectious diseases
The global distribution and diversity of protein vaccine candidate antigens in the highly virulent Streptococcus pnuemoniae serotype 1.
Cornick JE; Tastan Bishop Ö; Yalcin F; Kiran AM; Kumwenda B; Chaguza C; Govindpershad S; Ousmane S; Senghore M; du Plessis M
Incidence of macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B resistance amongst beta-haemolytic streptococci in The Gambia.
Foster-Nyarko E; Kwambana B; Ceesay F; Jawneh K; Darboe S; Mulwa SN; Ceesay B; Secka OO; Adetifa I; Antonio M
BMC research notes
Identification of Subsets of Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli Associated with Diarrheal Disease among Under 5 Years of Age Children from Rural Gambia.
Ikumapayi UN; Boisen N; Hossain MJ; Betts M; Lamin M; Saha D; Kwambana-Adams B; Dione M; Adegbola RA; Roca A
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene
Rapid replacement by non-vaccine pneumococcal serotypes may mitigate the impact of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine on nasopharyngeal bacterial ecology.
Kwambana-Adams B; Hanson B; Worwui A; Agbla S; Foster-Nyarko E; Ceesay F; Ebruke C; Egere U; Zhou Y; Ndukum M
Scientific reports
Isolation of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Multidrug-resistant Elizabethkingia meningoseptica From Neonates Within Minutes of Birth.
Kwambana-Adams BA; Laxton CS; Foster-Nyarko E; Laxton CS; Weinstock G; Antonio M
The Pediatric infectious disease journal
Impact of the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccination on pneumonia in The Gambia: population-based surveillance and case-control studies.
Mackenzie GA; Hill PC; Sahito SM; Jeffries DJ; Hossain I; Bottomley C; Uchendu U; Ameh D; Ndiaye M; Osuorah CD
The Lancet infectious diseases
Large Outbreak of Neisseria meningitidis Serogroup C - Nigeria, December 2016-June 2017.
Nnadi C; Oladejo J; Yennan S; Ogunleye A; Agbai C; Bakare L; Abdulaziz M; Mohammed A; Stephens M; Sumaili K
MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report
Whole-genome sequencing illuminates the evolution and spread of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Southwest Nigeria.
Senghore M; Otu J; Witney A; Gehre F; Doughty EL; Kay GL; Butcher P; Salako K; Kehinde A; Onyejepu N
PloS one
Ancient hybridization and strong adaptation to viruses across African vervet monkey populations.
Svardal H; Jasinska AJ; Apetrei C; Coppola G; Huang Y; Schmitt CA; Jacquelin B; Ramensky V; Müller-Trutwin M; Antonio M
Nature genetics
A tuberculosis nationwide prevalence survey in Gambia, 2012.
Adetifa IM; Kendall L; Bashorun A; Linda C; Omoleke S; Jeffries D; Maane R; Alorse BD; Alorse WD; Okoi CB
Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The emerging threat of pre-extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis in West Africa: preparing for large-scale tuberculosis research and drug resistance surveillance.
Gehre F; Otu J; Kendall L; Forson A; Kwara A; Kudzawu S; Kehinde AO; Adebiyi O; Salako K; Baldeh I
BMC medicine
Genomic diversity of EPEC associated with clinical presentations of differing severity.
Hazen TH; Donnenberg MS; Panchalingam S; Antonio M; Hossain A; Mandomando I; Ochieng JB; Ramamurthy T; Tamboura B; Qureshi S
Nature microbiology
Evolution of atypical enteropathogenic E. coli by repeated acquisition of LEE pathogenicity island variants.
Ingle DJ; Tauschek M; Edwards DJ; Hocking DM; Pickard DJ; Azzopardi KI; Amarasena T; Bennett-Wood V; Pearson JS; Tamboura B
Nature microbiology
An outbreak of pneumococcal meningitis among older children (≥5 years) and adults after the implementation of an infant vaccination programme with the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in Ghana.
Kwambana-Adams BA; Asiedu-Bekoe F; Sarkodie B; Afreh OK; Kuma GK; Owusu-Okyere G; Foster-Nyarko E; Ohene S-A; Okot C; Worwui AK
BMC infectious diseases
Use of quantitative molecular diagnostic methods to identify causes of diarrhoea in children: a reanalysis of the GEMS case-control study.
Liu J; Platts-Mills JA; Juma J; Kabir F; Nkeze J; Okoi C; Operario DJ; Uddin J; Ahmed S; Alonso PL
Effect of the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccination on invasive pneumococcal disease in The Gambia: a population-based surveillance study.
Mackenzie GA; Hill PC; Jeffries DJ; Hossain I; Uchendu U; Ameh D; Ndiaye M; Adeyemi O; Pathirana J; Olatunji Y
The Lancet infectious diseases
Transmission of Staphylococcus aureus from Humans to Green Monkeys in The Gambia as Revealed by Whole-Genome Sequencing.
Senghore M; Bayliss SC; Kwambana-Adams BA; Foster-Nyarko E; Manneh J; Dione M; Badji H; Ebruke C; Doughty EL; Thorpe HA
Applied and environmental microbiology
Reactogenicity, safety and immunogenicity of a protein-based pneumococcal vaccine in Gambian children aged 2-4 years: A phase II randomized study.
Odutola A; Ota MO; Ogundare EO; Antonio M; Owiafe P; Worwui A; Greenwood B; Alderson M; Traskine M; Verlant V
Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics
The genome of the vervet (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus).
Warren WC; Jasinska AJ; García-Pérez R; Svardal H; Tomlinson C; Rocchi M; Archidiacono N; Capozzi O; Minx P; Montague MJ
Genome research
See more Publications