Professor Martin Hibberd
Emerging Infectious DIsease
Martin Hibberd is Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases in the department of Pathogen Molecular Biology, at the London School Of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He is also Associate Director at the Genome Institute of Singapore, and Senior Group Leader for the Infectious Disease group there. He has adjunct positions at the National University of Singapore School of Public health; and the Sanger Genome Institute. He graduated in Applied Biology from Brunel University in 1985 and worked in the (then) Public Health Laboratory Service both at Porton Down, at Centre for Applied Microbiology & Research, (Legionella Reference Laboratory) and at the Central Public Health Laboratory Colindale (Enteric Pathogens); before moving to King’s College, London; where he received his Doctorate, on the immune-genetics of the human T-cell antigen receptor in 1994. Following post doctoral work at Plymouth Post Graduate Medical School, he obtained a lectureship in Paediatric Infectious Disease at Imperial College in 2006. In 2003 he moved to the Genome Institute in Singapore where he developed Human Genetic and Infectious Disease work to become associate director and then joined the LSHTM in 2012. He has a broad scientific background spanning both microbial and human determinants of infectious and inflammatory diseases; with previous achievements including: identification of sources of Legionella disease spread, leading to legislation for water treatment that halted outbreaks in the UK (1988); development work towards an enterotoxigenic E. coli live oral vaccine for the WHO (1990); the development of one of the first quantitative PCR techniques (1992); work with Zenica to identify genetic risk factors for diabetic complications (1996); and Identification of risk factors for meningococcal disease and disease severity identifying new treatment approaches (1999 and 2003). More recently his work has attempted to undertake a more comprehensive analysis of infectious diseases, covering both pathogen and host aspects, understanding how microbial agents cause the observed disease (including pathogen identification and sequence characterization) and why specific individuals are susceptible to the disease (using host genetics on a genomic scale). Approaching infectious disease from these two directions also allows specific host pathogen responses to be investigated (utilizing RNA microarrays and sequencing). This work aims to identify key host responses to specific pathogens that could be targeted by new therapies.
Current research topics include Meningococcal disease and other sepsis causing agents (partially funded by an EU FP7 genomics grant), Inflammatory Bowel Disease and the role of commensals in disease outcomes, Dengue disease (and potentially other flaviviruses such as TBE), Tuberculosis and MTB, Hepatitis B, Kawasaki disease, Influenza and other emerging infectious diseases; often in collaboration with industry as well as Public Health groups. In particular, my work aims to utilize population diversity (human and microbe) to investigate the roles of microbial complexity (including bacterial and virus community diversity, identified by genomic scale diagnosis) on the intricacies of clinical outcome.