series event

Human challenge models to advance vaccines against respiratory pathogens

WHO World Immunisation Week 2021 campaign poster depicting a woman carrying her child. The poster also portrays this year's theme - "Vaccines bring us closer".

World Immunisation Week 2021

To mark World Immunisation Week 2021 from 24 to 30 April, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) Vaccine Centre is hosting a series of webinars. The theme this year is ‘Vaccines Bring Us Closer’. Each day of the week we focus on an important area of vaccine research, science and debate bringing together experts in the field. We end the week with the Vaccine Centre Annual Lecture on 30 April. 

In this event, we focus on the use of controlled human infection models to accelerate the development of the next generation of vaccines against bacterial and viral respiratory pathogens, such as pertussis and SARS-CoV-2. Dr Chris Chiu will discuss "The COVID-19 human challenge model" and Professor Robert Read will explore "Advancing the development of improved vaccines against pertussis through a human challenge model".


Dr Chris Chiu, Imperial College London 

Chris Chiu is a Clinical Reader and Honorary Consultant in Infectious Diseases. He underwent his basic medical training at Cambridge and Oxford Universities and later was awarded a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellowship to undertake a PhD with Charles Bangham and Margaret Callan initially at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine and then at Imperial College London, investigating transcriptional programming of the early CD8 T cell response to acute viral infection. On completion of his specialist clinical training, he was awarded an MRC Clinician Scientist fellowship and furthered his research by working with Rafi Ahmed's group at Emory University, examining antibody, B cell and T cell responses to influenza and varicella zoster virus vaccines. 

His research interests focus on pathogenesis and human protective immunity in respiratory viral infections, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza and SARS-CoV-2. These are some of the most important causes of severe disease worldwide and there is an urgent need for effective vaccines against these pathogens. He is an expert in human infection challenge studies and leads a group that uses experimental infection and vaccination of volunteers as well as patient-centred research to investigate systemic and mucosal immunity against these infections. These highly specialised methods provide a unique opportunity to examine correlates and mechanisms of protection and disease severity in human beings. The work encompasses early phase clinical vaccine trials as well as fundamental studies of human immunity, which together enhance our understanding of how respiratory viral illnesses may be prevented and accelerate the development of better vaccines. 

Professor Robert Read, University of Southampton

Professor Robert Read is Head of Clinical and Experimental Sciences within Medicine at the University of Southampton, and Director of the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research centre. 

Robert Read trained in Medicine at the University of Sheffield, UK and completed his Doctorate Degree at Imperial College London. He is Professor of Infectious Diseases and Honorary Consultant Physician in Infectious Diseases at University Hospital Southampton, and is Director of the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre. Professor Read trained in Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine in various posts in Leeds, Bristol, London and Nottingham, at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, and at the Division of Infectious Diseases, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) at San Francisco General Hospital, USA. He was previously Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Sheffield before moving to Southampton in 2012. 

His research interests include the pathogenesis and prevention of infections arising within or involving the respiratory tract. He has a major interest in the use of controlled human infection to investigate pathogenesis, immunology and prevention of upper respiratory tract colonization by pathogens. 


World Immunisation Week 2021 banner

Other events taking place around this year's World Immunisation Week


Season 3 of the LSHTM Viral podcast is exploring vaccines and vaccinations in a COVID-19 world, from ingredients to manufacturing, and through to the realities of distribution to a global population. In each episode our experts also answer the most pressing questions from the public on the COVID-19 vaccines, so send your questions to LSHTM Viral is Spotify’s 13th most popular science podcast in the UK. Subscribe now: AnchorApple PodcastsBreakerCastboxGoogle PodcastsOvercastPocket CastsRadioPublicSpotifyStitcher.

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