Mr James Cross
Research Degree Student
of Epidemiology and Population Health
James H. Cross, originally from Norwich (UK) is a PhD student at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) currently based at MRC Keneba, The Gambia. In 2015, James completed a BSc (Hons) with a Year in Industry (located at MRC Keneba) in Medical Microbiology at the University of Bristol, UK. At the University of Bristol, James produced two dissertations titled “Iron supplementation and susceptibility to bacterial infections” and “Nasopharyngeal carriage of Kingella kingae in healthy pre-school children in Bristol, UK.” James began his MRC Unit – The Gambia sponsored PhD studentship in early September 2015, titled "NeoInnate Study: Neonatal iron metabolism and risk of infection". Additionally, James is the student representative on the management team for the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Centre based at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
James’ initial laboratory work at MRC Keneba examined how iron supplementation affected susceptibility to bacterial infections, as many bacteria utilize iron as a growth factor. This work was conducted via the production of an ex vivo bacterial growth assay, which is detailed in Nature Scientific Reports titled “Oral iron acutely elevates bacterial growth in human serum.” This has led to James’ involvement in the safety analyses for the Hepcidin and Iron in Global Health (HIGH) study, where he is conducting bacteria growth susceptibility assays in serum from study subjects undergoing iron supplementation. James is now beginning a PhD looking specifically at how nutritional immunity – host restriction of pathogen access to essential nutrients as an innate defense – affects neonatal sepsis. His project will investigate whether it is feasible to augment this nutritional immunity in at-risk neonates as a broad spectrum bacteriostatic strategy to reduce the burden of neonatal sepsis, particularly in the developing world where the rise of antibiotic resistance is of concern.