Dr Emma Harding-Esch

BA(Hons) MPhil MSc PhD AFHEA

Associate Professor


Keppel Street
United Kingdom

020 7612 7982

I am an epidemiologist, with a focus on neglected tropical diseases (primarily trachoma) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). 

I obtained both my MSc (Control of Infectious Diseases) and PhD ("Trachoma control and elimination: Field studies in The Gambia and Senegal") from LSHTM, and led the field studies for the Partnership for the Rapid Elimination of Trachoma (PRET) trial in The Gambia. I also have experience of infectious disease surveillance, having been the Senior Enhanced Surveillance Scientist for CJD at Public Health England, and then a Principal Scientist in PHE's HIV/STI department. I was Senior Trials Coordinator for the eSTI2 Consortium, led by St George's, University of London, and subsequently the Programme Manager and Epidemiology Lead for the Applied Diagnostic Research and Evaluation Unit (ADREU -, where I conducted several diagnostic evaluations to assess the performance, clinical and public health impacts of novel diagnostic technologies for STIs.

I returned to LSHTM in November 2017 as an Associate Professor and Chief Scientist for Tropical Data (, supporting national programmes to collect scientifically robust and standardised neglected tropical disease prevalence data, allowing interventions for disease elimination to be targeted and prioritised. 


Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases
Department of Clinical Research


Antimicrobial Resistance Centre


I am Co-Module Organiser for the Distance Learning module: Control of Infectious Diseases (IDM104), and a Lead Educator for the Eliminating Trachoma MOOC (

I also lecture on trachoma and mapping, am a facilitator on the Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections module, am a personal tutor for the Control of Infectious Diseases MSc, and supervise MSc summer projects.

I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 


My research interests are focused on the epidemiology of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), with a particular focus on trachoma, to inform the achievement and maintenance of disease elimination. This includes working with health ministries whose trachoma prevalence surveys have been supported by the Global Trachoma Mapping Project (GTMP) and Tropical Data, to explore questions relating to what factors are associated with achievement of elimination criteria, and development of methodologies for post-elimination validation surveillance.

I also have a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) epidemiology research focus, and have a particular interest in diagnostics. I recently worked on the ECDC-funded project: "Novel testing technologies, strategies and approaches for testing populations at risk of sexually transmitted infections: a systematic review protocol to inform prevention and control in EU/EEA countries". I am co-director of LSHTM's STI Research Interest Group.

I am interested in exploring the commonalities between ocular and genital C. trachomatis, including the impact of mass drug administration on disease prevalence and antimicrobial resistance. I am a member of LSHTM's AMR Centre.

I am supervising a research degree student whose research topic is modelling trachoma epidemiology and survey methodologies to achieve elimination.

I am interested in supervising doctoral students working on:

- The diagnosis, epidemiology and elimination of trachoma (and other neglected tropical diseases), including for post-elimination validation surveillance.

- The epidemiology of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), evaluation of diagnostics for STIs and their public health impact.

Research Area
Clinical care
Drug resistance
Economic evaluation
Health services research
Sexual health
Disease control
Global Health
Mixed methods
Mobile technologies
Implementation research
Health economics
Molecular epidemiology
GIS/Spatial analysis
Operational research
Social Sciences
Disease and Health Conditions
Infectious disease
Sexually transmitted disease
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
Sexually transmitted infection
Tropical diseases

Selected Publications

Impact of mass drug administration of azithromycin for trachoma elimination on prevalence and azithromycin resistance of genital Mycoplasma genitalium infection.
Harrison MA; Harding-Esch EM; Marks M; Pond MJ; Butcher R; Solomon AW; Zhou L; Tan N; Nori AV; Kako H
Sexually Transmitted Infections
A 30-Min Nucleic Acid Amplification Point-of-Care Test for Genital Chlamydia trachomatis Infection in Women: A Prospective, Multi-center Study of Diagnostic Accuracy.
Harding-Esch EM; Cousins EC; Chow S-LC; Phillips LT; Hall CL; Cooper N; Fuller SS; Nori AV; Patel R; Thomas-William S
Diagnostic accuracy of a prototype rapid chlamydia and gonorrhoea recombinase polymerase amplification assay: a multicentre cross-sectional preclinical evaluation.
Harding-Esch EM; Fuller SS; Chow S-LC; Nori AV; Harrison MA; Parker M; Piepenburg O; Forrest MS; Brooks DG; Patel R
Clinical microbiology and infection
"Test n Treat" (TnT): a cluster randomised feasibility trial of on-site rapid Chlamydia trachomatis tests and treatment in ethnically diverse, sexually active teenagers attending technical colleges
Oakeshott P; Kerry-Barnard S; Fleming C; Phillips R; Drennan VM; Adams EJ; Majewska W; Harding-Esch E; Cousins EC; Planche T
Clinical Microbiology and Infection
The eSexual Health Clinic system for management, prevention, and control of sexually transmitted infections: exploratory studies in people testing for Chlamydia trachomatis.
Estcourt CS; Gibbs J; Sutcliffe LJ; Gkatzidou V; Tickle L; Hone K; Aicken C; Lowndes CM; Harding-Esch EM; Eaton S
The lancet Public health
Population-based prevalence survey of follicular trachoma and trachomatous trichiasis in the Casamance region of Senegal.
Harding-Esch EM; Kadimpeul J; Sarr B; Sane A; Badji S; Laye M; Sillah A; Burr SE; MacLeod D; Last AR
BMC public health
Impact of deploying multiple point-of-care tests with a 'sample first' approach on a sexual health clinical care pathway. A service evaluation.
Harding-Esch EM; Nori AV; Hegazi A; Pond MJ; Okolo O; Nardone A; Lowndes CM; Hay P; Sadiq ST
Sexually transmitted infections
Costs of testing for ocular Chlamydia trachomatis infection compared to mass drug administration for trachoma in the Gambia: application of results from the PRET study.
Harding-Esch E; Jofre-Bonet M; Dhanjal JK; Burr S; Edwards T; Holland M; Sillah A; West S; Lietman T; Keenan J
PLoS neglected tropical diseases
Can remote STI/HIV testing and eClinical Care be compatible with robust public health surveillance?
Harding-Esch E; Nardone A; Gibbs J; Sutcliffe L; Sonnenberg P; Estcourt C; Hughes G; Mohammed H; Gill N; Sadiq ST
DH15 (2015)
Mass treatment with azithromycin for trachoma: when is one round enough? Results from the PRET Trial in the Gambia.
Harding-Esch EM; Sillah A; Edwards T; Burr SE; Hart JD; Joof H; Laye M; Makalo P; Manjang A; Molina S
PLoS neglected tropical diseases
A diagnostics platform for the integrated mapping, monitoring, and surveillance of neglected tropical diseases: rationale and target product profiles.
Solomon AW; Engels D; Bailey RL; Blake IM; Brooker S; Chen J-X; Chen J-H; Churcher TS; Drakeley CJ; Edwards T
PLoS neglected tropical diseases
Diagnostic accuracy of a prototype point-of-care test for ocular Chlamydia trachomatis under field conditions in The Gambia and Senegal.
Harding-Esch EM; Holland MJ; Schémann J-F; Molina S; Sarr I; Andreasen AA; Roberts CH; Sillah A; Sarr B; Harding EF
PLoS neglected tropical diseases
Trachoma prevalence and associated risk factors in the gambia and Tanzania: baseline results of a cluster randomised controlled trial.
Harding-Esch EM; Edwards T; Mkocha H; Munoz B; Holland MJ; Burr SE; Sillah A; Gaydos CA; Stare D; Mabey DCW
PLoS neglected tropical diseases
Epidemiology and control of trachoma: systematic review.
Hu VH; Harding-Esch EM; Burton MJ; Bailey RL; Kadimpeul J; Mabey DCW
Tropical medicine & international health
Active trachoma and ocular Chlamydia trachomatis infection in two Gambian regions: on course for elimination by 2020?
Harding-Esch EM; Edwards T; Sillah A; Sarr I; Roberts CH; Snell P; Aryee E; Molina S; Holland MJ; Mabey DC
PLoS neglected tropical diseases
Two doses of azithromycin to eliminate trachoma in a Tanzanian community.
Solomon AW; Harding-Esch E; Alexander ND; Aguirre A; Holland MJ; Bailey RL; Foster A; Mabey DC; Massae PA; Courtright P
The New England journal of medicine
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