Prof Martin Antonio

MRC-Prof Mol MicroBiol & Global Health*

Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at LSHTM
Atlantic Road, Fajara
United Kingdom

I am based mainly in The Gambia at the MRC Unit The Gambia @ LSHTM, where I am MRC Principal Investigator and the Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for New Vaccines Surveillance. I am 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 West Africa including the West Africa Global Health Alliance, ECOWAS, 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 Royal College of Pathologist (UK) by published works and Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (London, UK) since 2012. 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 the 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, serve 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 more than 175 peer-reviewed scientific publications and supervised nine PhD students in UK universities


MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM


Centre for Epidemic Preparedness and Response
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 Degree Committee. Developed (lab component) three-week free Massive Open Online
Courses (MOOCs) on Disease Outbreak and 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 in The Gambia. I
teach on the Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses 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 (Tuberculosis, meningitis, pneumonia, Diarrhoeal), investigation of microbial outbreaks and transmission, antimicrobial resistance and clinical trials. Prof Antonio leads 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 PCV impact.

Additional, I am the Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre (WHOCC) for New Vaccines Surveillance. The WHOCC 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 provides expertise and technical assistance during meningitis outbreaks in sub-Saharan Africa. My team led the WHO rapid support team for meningitis outbreaks in West Africa, most notably in Ghana (2016) and Nigeria (2017) where his team supported the Ghanaian and Nigerian governments and public health officers to identify the causative outbreak pathogens. More recently, applying molecular tools to understand the impact of air pollution on the nasopharyngeal microbiome and epidemic meningitis in Africa.

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
Research Area
Child health
Clinical trials
Drug resistance
Environmental Health
Global Health
Molecular biology
Molecular epidemiology
AMR (Antimicrobial resistance)
Disease and Health Conditions
Diarrhoeal diseases
Hospital acquired infection
Tropical diseases
Respiratory diseases
Burkina Faso
Cote d'Ivoire
New Zealand
Sierra Leone
South Africa
South Sudan
United Kingdom
United States

Selected Publications

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; Dagan, R; Everett, D; ANTONIO, M; Klugman, KP; Von Gottberg, A; Breiman, RF; McGee, L; Bentley, SD; The Global Pneumococcal Sequencing Consortium,;
Microbial Genomics
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; Law, PY; Ho, PL; ANTONIO, M; Everett, DB; Dagan, R; Von Gottberg, A; Klugman, KP; McGee, L; Breiman, RF; Bentley, SD; Global Pneumococcal Sequencing Consortium,;
The Lancet Infectious Diseases
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; Ho, PL; Du Plessis, M; Cornick, JE; Kwambana-Adams, B; Benisty, R; Nzenze, SA; Madhi, SA; Hawkins, PA; Everett, DB; ANTONIO, M; Dagan, R; Klugman, KP; Von Gottberg, A; McGee, L; Breiman, RF; ... Global Pneumococcal Sequencing Consortium,
The incidence, aetiology, and adverse clinical consequences of less severe diarrhoeal episodes among infants and children residing in low-income and middle-income countries: a 12-month case-control study as a follow-on to the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS).
Kotloff, KL; Nasrin, D; Blackwelder, WC; Wu, Y; Farag, T; Panchalingham, S; Sow, SO; Sur, D; Zaidi, AK M; Faruque, AS G; Saha, D; Alonso, PL; Tamboura, B; Sanogo, D; Onwuchekwa, U; Manna, B; Ramamurthy, T; Kanungo, S; Ahmed, S; Qureshi, S; Quadri, F; Hossain, A; Das, SK; ANTONIO, M; HOSSAIN, MJ; ... Levine, MM.
The Lancet. Global health
Immunogenicity of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine formulations containing pneumococcal proteins, and immunogenicity and reactogenicity of co-administered routine vaccines - A phase II, randomised, observer-blind study in Gambian infants.
ODUTOLA, A; Ota, MO C; ANTONIO, M; Ogundare, EO; Saidu, Y; Owiafe, PK; Worwui, A; Idoko, OT; Owolabi, O; KAMPMANN, B; GREENWOOD, BM; Alderson, M; Traskine, M; Swinnen, K; Verlant, V; Dobbelaere, K; Borys, D;
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, AK M; Faruque, AS G; Saha, D; Adegbola, R; HOSSAIN, MJ; Alonso, PL; Breiman, RF; Bassat, Q; Tamboura, B; Sanogo, D; Onwuchekwa, U; Manna, B; Ramamurthy, T; Kanungo, S; Ahmed, S; Qureshi, S; Quadri, F; Hossain, A; Das, SK; ... Levine, MM.
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; Usman, R; Atiku, A; Abdullahi, G; Buhari, Y; Sani, R; Bako, HU; Abdullahi, B; Yarima, AI; Sikiru, B; Moses, AO; Popoola, MO; Ekeng, E; Olayinka, A; Mba, N; Kankia, A; ... ANTONIO, M.
Scientific reports
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; Yahayah, AI; Baddoo, A; Ansa, GA; Aboagye, SY; Asare, P; Borrell, S; Gehre, F; Beckert, P; Kohl, TA; N'dira, S; Beisel, C; ANTONIO, M; Niemann, S; De Jong, BC; Parkhill, J; ... Yeboah-Manu, D.
Scientific Reports
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