Professor Gwenda Hughes


Deputy Director, UK Public Health Rapid Support Team


Keppel Street
United Kingdom

Gwenda Hughes is a professor in epidemiology and public health. She joined LSHTM in 2021 as Deputy Director and Head of Research with the UK-Public Health Rapid Support Team, where she leads a programme of research in outbreak preparedness and response in low- and middle-income countries. Prior to this she was a public health consultant and scientist in epidemiology with 25 years of experience in HIV and STI surveillance, epidemiology and research. She headed the Blood Safety, Hepatitis, STI & HIV Division in Public Health England (now UK Health Security Agency) and developed and led national surveillance and monitoring programmes on STIs and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in STIs including GUMCAD and the Gonococcal Resistance to Antimicrobials Surveillance Programme.

She co-led the risk reduction theme in (and remains affiliated with) the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit in Blood Borne and Sexually Transmitted Infections between (2014-2021) and an Honorary Professor at the Department of Infection & Population Health at the Institute for Global Health, University College London. She was a visiting professor in STIs and AMR at the Professor at the Department of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, University of São Paulo in Brazil for 6 months (2018-19) and continues to collaborate with this research group. She is a Fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health and an accredited public health specialist on the UK Public Health Register.


Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health


Centre for Epidemic Preparedness and Response


Gwenda has led research to inform and facilitate the development and implementation of public health interventions. She oversees a multi-disciplinary programme of research in outbreak preparedness and response in low- and middle-income countries. Current projects include a feasibility study using community leaders in event-based surveillance in Brazil and Cape Verde, and an epidemiological and clinical investigation of mpox in Nigeria. Other research has focused on understanding the biological and behavioural determinants of STI and AMR epidemics including antimicrobial resistant gonorrhoea and sexually transmitted enteric pathogens. 

Research Area
Drug resistance
Sexual health
Disease control
Global Health
Disease and Health Conditions
Pandemic diseases
Sexually transmitted disease
Emerging Infectious Disease
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
Sexually transmitted infection
Tropical diseases
Zoonotic disease

Selected Publications

Global phylogeny of Treponema pallidum lineages reveals recent expansion and spread of contemporary syphilis.
Beale MA; Marks M; Cole MJ; Lee M-K; Pitt R; Ruis C; Balla E; Crucitti T; Ewens M; Fernández-Naval C
Nature Microbiology
Emergence of novel strains of Shigella flexneri associated with sexual transmission in adult men in England, 2019-2020.
Dallman TJ; Charles H; Prochazka M; Sinka K; Hughes G; Godbole G; Jenkins C
Journal of Medical Microbiology
Substantial underdiagnosis of lymphogranuloma venereum in men who have sex with men in Europe: preliminary findings from a multicentre surveillance pilot.
Cole MJ; Field N; Pitt R; Amato-Gauci AJ; Begovac J; French PD; Keše D; Klavs I; Zidovec Lepej S; Pöcher K
Sexually transmitted infections
Phylogenomic analysis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae transmission to assess sexual mixing and HIV transmission risk in England: a cross-sectional, observational, whole-genome sequencing study.
Town K; Field N; Harris SR; Sánchez-Busó L; Cole MJ; Pitt R; Fifer H; Mohammed H; Hughes G
The Lancet. Infectious diseases
Genomic and Phenotypic Variability in Neisseria gonorrhoeae Antimicrobial Susceptibility, England.
Town K; Harris S; Sánchez-Busó L; Cole MJ; Pitt R; Fifer H; Mohammed H; Field N; Hughes G
Emerging infectious diseases
Genetic relatedness of ceftriaxone-resistant and high-level azithromycin resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae cases, United Kingdom and Australia, February to April 2018.
Jennison AV; Whiley D; Lahra MM; Graham RM; Cole MJ; Hughes G; Fifer H; Andersson M; Edwards A; Eyre D
Acceptability and potential impact of delivering sexual health promotion information through social media and dating apps to MSM in England: a qualitative study.
Kesten JM; Dias K; Burns F; Crook P; Howarth A; Mercer CH; Rodger A; Simms I; Oliver I; Hickman M
BMC public health
Epidemiology of gonorrhoea: a global perspective.
Kirkcaldy RD; Weston E; Segurado AC; Hughes G
Sexual health
Genomic epidemiology of Shigella in the United Kingdom shows transmission of pathogen sublineages and determinants of antimicrobial resistance.
Baker KS; Dallman TJ; Field N; Childs T; Mitchell H; Day M; Weill F-X; Lefèvre S; Tourdjman M; Hughes G
Scientific reports
Horizontal antimicrobial resistance transfer drives epidemics of multiple Shigella species.
Baker KS; Dallman TJ; Field N; Childs T; Mitchell H; Day M; Weill F-X; Lefèvre S; Tourdjman M; Hughes G
Nature communications
Prevalence of and factors associated with MDR Neisseria gonorrhoeae in England and Wales between 2004 and 2015: analysis of annual cross-sectional surveillance surveys.
Clifton S; Bolt H; Mohammed H; Town K; Furegato M; Cole M; Campbell O; Fifer H; Hughes G
The Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy
Is previous azithromycin treatment associated with azithromycin resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae? A cross-sectional study using national surveillance data in England.
Clifton S; Town K; Furegato M; Cole M; Mohammed H; Woodhall SC; Kevin Dunbar J; Fifer H; Hughes G
Sexually transmitted infections
Gonorrhoea treatment failure caused by a Neisseria gonorrhoeae strain with combined ceftriaxone and high-level azithromycin resistance, England, February 2018.
Eyre DW; Sanderson ND; Lord E; Regisford-Reimmer N; Chau K; Barker L; Morgan M; Newnham R; Golparian D; Unemo M
Sustained transmission of high-level azithromycin-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae in England: an observational study.
Fifer H; Cole M; Hughes G; Padfield S; Smolarchuk C; Woodford N; Wensley A; Mustafa N; Schaefer U; Myers R
The Lancet Infectious diseases
Mycoplasma genitalium: the next sexually transmitted superbug?
Hughes G; Saunders J
BMJ (Clinical research ed.)
Persistence of an outbreak of gonorrhoea with high-level resistance to azithromycin in England, November 2014‒May 2018.
Smolarchuk C; Wensley A; Padfield S; Fifer H; Lee A; Hughes G
Neisseria gonorrhoeae molecular typing for understanding sexual networks and antimicrobial resistance transmission: A systematic review.
Town K; Bolt H; Croxford S; Cole M; Harris S; Field N; Hughes G
The Journal of infection
Fall in new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM) at selected London sexual health clinics since early 2015: testing or treatment or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)?
Brown AE; Mohammed H; Ogaz D; Kirwan PD; Yung M; Nash SG; Furegato M; Hughes G; Connor N; Delpech VC
Prevalence and characteristics of gastrointestinal infections in men who have sex with men diagnosed with rectal chlamydia infection in the UK: an 'unlinked anonymous' cross-sectional study.
Hughes G; Silalang P; Were J; Patel H; Childs T; Alexander S; Duffell S; Saxon C; Ison C; Mitchell H
Sexually transmitted infections
The prospect of untreatable gonorrhoea.
Johnson AP; Hughes G
BMJ (Clinical research ed.)
Ethnic variations in sexual behaviours and sexual health markers: findings from the third British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3).
Wayal S; Hughes G; Sonnenberg P; Mohammed H; Copas AJ; Gerressu M; Tanton C; Furegato M; Mercer CH
The lancet Public health
Failure of Dual Antimicrobial Therapy in Treatment of Gonorrhea.
Fifer H; Natarajan U; Jones L; Alexander S; Hughes G; Golparian D; Unemo M
The New England journal of medicine
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