Suzanna Francis


Associate Professor


Keppel Street
United Kingdom

+44 (0)20 7927 2245

Suzanna Francis has been at the School since 2006. She completed her PhD in 2011 in Infectious Disease Epidemiology and held an UK MRC Post-Doctoral Population Health Scientist Fellowship from 2011 to 2015. She was awarded a 3-year MRC New Investigator Research Grant in 2016. Prior to coming to the School, she worked as an STI/HIV Nurse Practitioner for the San Francisco Department of Public Health's municipal STI clinic. She graduated with a Master in Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2006, an MSc in Nursing from University of California, San Francisco in 1999, and a Bachelor in Arts and Bachelor in Science from the University of Washington in 1995.


Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health
Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology


Centre for Maternal Adolescent Reproductive & Child Health (MARCH)
Antimicrobial Resistance Centre (AMR)


Suzanna is a Project Organiser for the MSc in Epidemiology Distance Learning (DL) Course. She also teaches on two in-house modules: “Control of STIs” and “Research Design & Analysis.” Previously, she was clinical faculty of the California STD/ HIV Prevention Training Center (National Network of STD/HIV Prevention Training Centers, USA), and taught the assessment and management of STIs, including diagnostic laboratory skills, to visiting clinicians, medical students, medical fellows and nurse practitioner students.


Suzanna is an epidemiologist, whose research focuses on the prevention and control of reproductive tract infections (including HIV) with a particular interest in intravaginal practices, vaginal ecology and physiological susceptibility to HIV among adolescents/young women and sex worker populations. She has carried out multi-disciplinary studies employing both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and she has expertise in clinical studies utilising laboratory testing of sexually transmitted infections and vaginal microbiota. Suzanna has collaborations with the Mwanza Interventions Trials Unit (MITU) in Tanzania, MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, and the Africa Health Research Institute in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. 

Suzanna’s current research includes

  • A feasibility and acceptability study of self-collected genital sampling among young women in secondary schools in Entebbe, Uganda (Hibiscus Study, MRC Uganda)
  • A cross-sectional study to investigate STIs and bacterial vaginosis among young women in secondary schools around the time of sexual debut in Mwanza, Tanzania (RHASA Study, MITU)
  • A longitudinal study to investigate the effect of norethisterone enantate (NET-EN) on the reduction of recurrent bacterial vaginosis among women at increased risk for HIV in Kampala, Uganda (HCBV Study, MRC Uganda)
  • A study to investigate the effect of the vaginal microbiota and its metabolites on the host immune response among women at increased risk for HIV in Mwanza, Tanzania (VMB Study, MITU)
  • Vaginal microbiota among young women aged 15 to 24 years old in rural Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa (iGugu Study, Africa Centre)

Research Area
Sexual health
Systematic reviews
Adolescent health
Disease control
Global Health
Reproductive health
Disease and Health Conditions
Sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted infection
South Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa (developing only)
Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)

Selected Publications

Uptake of and factors associated with testing for sexually transmitted infections in community-based settings among youth in Zimbabwe: a mixed-methods study.
Martin K; Olaru ID; Buwu N; Bandason T; Marks M; Dauya E; Muzangwa J; Mabey D; Dziva Chikwari C; Francis SC
The Lancet. Child & adolescent health
The Vaginal Microbiota Among Adolescent Girls in Tanzania Around the Time of Sexual Debut.
Francis SC; Crucitti T; Smekens T; Hansen CH; Andreasen A; Jespers V; Hardy L; Irani J; Changalucha J; Baisley K
Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology
Menstrual health intervention and school attendance in Uganda (MENISCUS-2): a pilot intervention study.
Kansiime C; Hytti L; Nalugya R; Nakuya K; Namirembe P; Nakalema S; Neema S; Tanton C; Alezuyo C; Namuli Musoke S
BMJ open
Assessing the effectiveness of a comprehensive menstrual health intervention program in Ugandan schools (MENISCUS): process evaluation of a pilot intervention study.
Nalugya R; Tanton C; Hytti L; Kansiime C; Nakuya K; Namirembe P; Nakalema S; Neema S; Alezuyo C; Namuli Musoke S
Pilot and feasibility studies
Examining the Association of Socioeconomic Position with Microcephaly and Delayed Childhood Neurodevelopment among Children with Prenatal Zika Virus Exposure.
Power GM; Francis SC; Sanchez Clemente N; Vasconcelos Z; Brasil P; Nielsen-Saines K; Brickley EB; Moreira ME
Beyond the barrier: Female Genital Schistosomiasis as a potential risk factor for HIV-1 acquisition.
Sturt AS; Webb EL; Francis SC; Hayes RJ; Bustinduy AL
Acta Tropica
Menstrual product choice and uptake among young women in Zimbabwe: a pilot study.
Tembo M; Renju J; Weiss HA; Dauya E; Bandason T; Dziva-Chikwari C; Redzo N; Mavodza C; Losi T; Ferrand R
Pilot and feasibility studies
See more Publications