Suzanna Francis


Assistant Professor


Keppel Street
United Kingdom

+44 (0)20 7927 2245

+44 (0)20 7636 8739

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.


Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health


Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive & Child Health (MARCH)


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. From 2007 to 2009, Suzanna was based in East Africa as a study coordinator with the Mwanza Interventions Trials Unit (MITU) in Tanzania. She is now based in London and continues to collaborate closely with researchers in Mwanza, as well as strong collaborations across Europe and Africa.

Suzanna’s current research includes

  • A population-based prevalence survey of STIs and bacterial vaginosis among young people aged 15 to 24 years old in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa (iGugu Study, Africa Centre)
  • 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)
  • An individual participant data meta-analysis of sexually transmitted infections among women in sub-Saharan Africa (STIMA Project, WHO/FHI360)
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

Bacterial vaginosis among women at high risk for HIV in Uganda: high rate of recurrent diagnosis despite treatment.
Francis, S.C.; Looker, C.; Vandepitte, J.; Bukenya, J.; Mayanja, Y.; Nakubulwa, S.; Hughes, P.; Hayes, R.J.; Weiss, H.A.; Grosskurth, H.;
Sex Transm Infect
Immune Activation in the Female Genital Tract: Expression Profiles of Soluble Proteins in Women at High Risk for HIV Infection.
Francis, S.C.; Hou, Y.; Baisley, K.; van de Wijgert, J.; Watson-Jones, D.; Ao, T.T.; Herrera, C.; Maganja, K.; Andreasen, A.; Kapiga, S.; Coulton, G.R.; Hayes, R.J.; Shattock, R.J.;
PLoS One
Hormonal Contraception and the Risk of HIV Acquisition: An Individual Participant Data Meta-analysis.
Morrison, C.S. ; Chen, P.L. ; Kwok, C. ; Baeten, J.M. ; Brown, J. ; Crook, A.M. ; Van Damme, L. ; Delany-Moretlwe, S. ; Francis, S.C. ; Friedland, B.A. ; Hayes, R.J. ; Heffron, R. ; Kapiga, S. ; Karim, Q.A. ; Karpoff, S. ; Kaul, R. ; McClelland, R.S. ; McCormack, S. ; McGrath, N. ; Myer, L. ; Rees, H. ; van der Straten, A. ; Watson-Jones, D. ; van de Wijgert, J.H. ; Stalter, R. ; Low, N. ;
PLoS Med
Epidemiology of Curable Sexually Transmitted Infections among Women at Increased Risk for HIV in Northwestern Tanzania: Inadequacy of Syndromic Management.
Francis, S.C. ; Ao, T.T. ; Vanobberghen, F.M. ; Chilongani, J. ; Hashim, R. ; Andreasen, A. ; Watson-Jones, D. ; Changalucha, J. ; Kapiga, S. ; Hayes, R.J. ;
PLoS One
The vaginal microbiota: what have we learned after a decade of molecular characterization?
van de Wijgert, J.H. ; Borgdorff, H. ; Verhelst, R. ; Crucitti, T. ; Francis, S. ; Verstraelen, H. ; Jespers, V. ;
PLoS One
Vaginal Practices among Women at High Risk of HIV Infection in Uganda and Tanzania: Recorded Behaviour from a Daily Pictorial Diary.
Francis, S.C. ; Baisley, K. ; Lees, S.S. ; Andrew, B. ; Zalwango, F. ; Seeley, J. ; Vandepitte, J. ; Ao, T.T. ; van de Wijgert, J. ; Watson-Jones, D. ; Kapiga, S. ; Grosskurth, H. ; Hayes, R.J. ;
PLoS One
Intravaginal Practices, Bacterial Vaginosis, and HIV Infection in Women: Individual Participant Data Meta-analysis
Low, N.; Chersich, M.F.; Schmidlin, K.; Egger, M.; Francis, S.C.; van de Wijgert, J.H.; Hayes, R.J.; Baeten, J.M.; Brown, J.; Delany-Moretlwe, S.; Kaul, R.; McGrath, N.; Morrison, C.; Myer, L.; Temmerman, M.; van der Straten, A.; Watson-Jones, D.; Zwahlen, M.; Hilber, A.M.;
Plos Medicine
Intravaginal Practices, Vaginal Infections and HIV Acquisition: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
Hilber, A.M.; Francis, S.C.; Chersich, M.; Scott, P.; Redmond, S.; Bender, N.; Miotti, P.; Temmerman, M.; Low, N.;
PLoS One
See all Suzanna Francis's Publications