Professor Alison Elliott
MA MBBS MD DTM&H FRCP FAAS
of Tropical Medicine
Alison Elliott is a physician, specialising in infectious diseases and tropical medical research. After a degree in Natural Sciences and medical training in the UK she went to Zambia in 1988, and undertook early studies on the interaction between tuberculosis and HIV infection. Between 1992 and 1995 she undertook an infectious diseases fellowship in the USA, with research on the immunology of tuberculosis at the National Jewish Center in Denver, Colorado. Since 1996 she has been working in Uganda, supported by Wellcome Trust and MRC funding, at the Medical Research Council / Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, where she is Theme Leader for Vaccines and Immunity and Head of the Immunomodulation and Vaccines Programme.
Alison's main "teaching" activity is in research capacity building in Uganda. She currently leads the Wellcome Trust funded Makerere-UVRI Centre of Excellence for Infection and Immunity Research and Training (MUII; www.muii.org.ug) which aims to attract bright young Ugandans to develop an internationally competitive research career in the field of Infection and Immunity. This programme is a collaboration between the Uganda Virus Research Institute, Makerere University, LSHTM and Cambridge University (with many other, much-valued, regional and international partners). Activities include Open Days for schools, undergraduate internships, and a Masters, PhD and post-doctoral fellowship scheme; as well as a flagship short course in Immunology (Immunology in the Tropics) and a series of Hot Topics seminars presented by scientists who are world leaders in their fields as they visit Uganda.
Alison's research interests focus on the immuno-modulating effects of chronic infections. After early studies on HIV and tuberculosis she developed an interest in the immuno-modulating effects of helminths. Current research particularly addresses the effects of early life exposures on outcomes in adolescence, based on the Entebbe Mother and Baby Study birth cohort (www.emabs.lshtm.ac.uk). The team has just completed a cluster-randomised trial among fishing villages in the islands of Lake Victoria, Uganda, investigating the effects of standard, versus intenstive, intervention against helminth infections on responses to vaccines, to microbial pathogens and to allergens; and is about to embark on a series of new trials investigating the role and reversibility of immunodulating parasitic infections in population differences in vaccines responses.