UCL Division of Infection & Immunity

Athena SWAN Silver Award

Internal Seminar
1pm | 23 Jan | Cruciform LT1

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Centre for Clinical Microbiology

The Centre for Clinical Microbiology at UCL combines internationally renowned academic, research and clinical expertise in microbiology.


Centre Director: Professor Timothy D McHugh, Graduate Tutor for the Faculty of Medical Science, Academic Lead for the School of Life and Medical Sciences CPD programmes.

The Centre for Clinical Microbiology (CCM) is a constituent research group in the Research Department of Infection within the Division of Infection and Immunity and its UCL staff are located at the Royal Free Campus.

Members of the Centre are also at UCLH and Royal Free Hospital London NHS Trust Departments of Medical Microbiology and many of our staff hold joint or honorary appointments across the institutions. Through research collaborations and joint appointments CCM also includes colleagues from Public Health England (PHE).

Professor Tim McHugh's Review of 2012


[Link to Professor McHugh's 2011 review]

Our Centre

It is almost half way through 2013 as I write this review of 2012; it was a busy year and it has taken me some time to ‘take stock’. The consolidation of the Centre for Clinical Microbiology at the Royal Free Campus provided us with great opportunities for collaborative working and importantly enabled previously disparate teams to understand each other’s work. In the near future this will be reflected in applications for research funding but in the short term it had an immediate effect on the breadth of the research projects we offered out MSc and BSc students. As is often the case the preliminary work undertaken by project students lays the foundation for funding applications and further development.

Research in the Centre is organised around 4 key themes and colleagues have updated me on the progress in each area:


In addition to running HCAI meetings and several MSc student projects, this group has been active in a number of projects aimed at reducing transmission of infection. The site and origin of bacterial reservoirs in wards have been identified and investigated. A important focus of transmission is the ward based computer key board and the HCAI group have developed software to encourage users to clean their keyboards as well as photolytic coatings for keyboards that significantly reduce bacterial contamination in normal ward lighting conditions.

Clostridium difficile is a significant concern in our partner hospitals and the group have been focussed on improvement of both diagnostics and disinfectants for the control of this infection. This is underpinned by a PhD project, in collaboration with Public Health England and LSHTM, exploring the bacterial population structure of C. difficile locally and globally.

Further work addressing the rapid detection of antibiotic resistance in Enterobacteriaceae has been a focuss of our clinical service and funding by a Pfizer Antiinfectives Research Grant has enabled a Clinical Fellow to innovate in this area with mass spectrometry.

Reflecting the changing nature of our associated clinical service, rapid detection of implant associated infections is of increasing importance to our Centre.


2012 continued to be a successful year for the TB group; 2 projects were funded and initiated; INFECT-MET funded by the EMRP (EU) to develop high order metrology for infectious disease diagnostics. We provide expertise in molecular diagnosis of respiratory bacteriology. PreDICT-TB (website) an IMI (EU) funded project with partners which aims to develop robust pathways to evaluation of new drug combinations for treatment of tuberculosis. Our contribution is in the application of the Molecular Bacterial Load assay, developed in our Centre, to enumeration of the treatment effect in in vitro and in vivo models as well as the use of transcriptomic approaches for the understanding of the mechanism of drug action in vivo.

REMoxTB continues to be a major activity in the Centre and this clinical trial completed recruitment in January 2013 with 1931 patients. The last patient will complete the study in July 2013 and the results will be reported in the first months of 2014. We have secured further funding to ensure stability for staff and indeed have expanded the team to ensure a timely conclusion to this important study. One of the major outputs of REMOxTB will be the laboratory manual which enabled us to standardise methods across 3 countries and we have been given further funding to develop this into a universal laboratory manual for TB clinical trials.

TB research in UCL is not just located in the Centre and so we have instigated UCL-TB (www.ucl.ac.uk/tb) to encourage communication and collaboration in TB research across the College. The strength of TB research at UCL was reflected by the World TB Day event, led by myself, Professor Ali Zumla and Dr Marc Lipman (WTBD 2013), the 2012 event saw the launch of a special supplement to the Journal of Infectious Diseases, edited by Professor Zumla (LANCET).


The Centre is the home for 3 MSc programmes. The MSc Infection & Immunity is now well established with our students in demand for PhD programmes and research assistant posts. 

Our MSc Medical Mycology programme was the first of its kind in the world (and remains the only course offering blended learning from international experts in the field) and we are proud that it is in its 10th year. The MSc/PG Dip in Healthcare associated Infection Control, entered its second year, with numbers growing and increased interest in this blended learning programme which allows practitioners to access their learning when their professional schedule allows.

I am pleased to note that Mr Marcus Leung has been awarded his doctorate and our current compliment of current research students to 15 (9 in I&I) working from the RF, PHE Colindale, PHE Porton Down, Barts & London and Jamaica.


We continue to innovate in the area of rapid fungal diagnostics and MALDI-ToF has been a natural centre of attention over the last year. Comparative studies using this technology , PNA-FISH and conventional molecular methods –have led to presentations at national and international meetings with the prize for best oral presentation going to Rebecca Gorton (PhD student and Clinical Scientist) at the British Society for Medical Mycology (BSMM) annual scientific meeting.

Clinical studies feature strongly in this work package and these include ; clinical studies of antifungal prophylaxis strategies, radiological studies and novel immunodiagnostics for invasive mould infections are in progress and some early data have been presented at international conferences. Two major studies that the Centre has made substantial contributions to are the 60,000 patient ICU Candida study and the, now completed, 1000 patient European study on invasive mould disease in patients with haematological malignancy.

The clinical research experience of this group is reflected in publication of national and international guidelines on diagnosis and management of fungal infection and the re-election of Professor Chris Kibbler for a further year as President of the British Society for Medical Mycology.

Molecular diagnosis

Molecular diagnosis underpins much of the work of the Centre but as a work package on its own it accounts for a substantial output from the team. In 2012 Professor Zumla was awarded an EU FP7 award RiD-RTI [see "News, Media Coverage & Outreach" section] , to develop new rapid diagnostics for respiratory infections. This initiative includes partners from across Europe and takes a syndromic approach to diagnosis of infection.

Working with the Academic Centre for Respiratory Medicine we continue to support a substantial effort considering the role of infection in COPD with Respiratory Medicine for which I lead the microbiology.

Together with Prof Andrew Burroughs (Liver unit), Dr Ronnie Chee (Consultant Immunologist) at the Royal Free and Dr Harry Antoniades (Imperial College), Dr Bambos Charalamabous is investigating the translocation of bacterial products from the gut into the systemic circulation in liver disease patients as a biomarker of outcome. With an MSc in Infection & Immunity student the team have optimised a molecular based method to extract and quantitate bacterial DNA from blood alongside the determination of viable bacteria.


The aim of CCM is to deliver research, training and education of the highest standard in infectious diseases.

Funding & Collaborations

London is a cosmopolitan city and this provides an exciting environment to study infectious diseases, however, our work in London is placed into a global context by our international collaborations of which our relationships with UTH, Lusaka, Zambia (led by Professor Zumla) and KCMC, Moshi, Tanzania (led by Professor Tim McHugh from the Royal Free) are the longest established. Whilst focussed on delivery of high quality research, relevant to the location, our collaborations have been underpinned by a commitment to capacity development both in people and infrastructure.  

A number of researchers in the Centre are part of UCL's Institute for Global Health and the Institute's Grand Challenges programme; you can find out more about the Institute here.

Research in the Centre reflects the challenges presented by a diagnostic service in central London, thus our main research themes are:

  • Molecular diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Mycology
  • Respiratory infections
  • Evolution of antibiotic resistance
  • Hospital Acquired Infection

Support for our work comes from substantial funding from the EU, EDCTP (read more here), MRC, Wellcome Trust , NIHR and the Gates Foundation amongst others. 

REMox Laboratory Manual (2012)


We believe that our training programmes for Clinical Microbiologists are second to none and course developments are grounded in our research practice and findings.

We provide programmes to undergraduate science and medicine students, postgraduate taught courses as well as providing academic support for continuing professional development for all grades of Health Care Scientist and Medical Trainees. Details of the programmes we run can be found here.  The Centre provides research training through PhD and MD programmes closely aligned with our research interests.

The courses we currently offer (session 2012/2013) are as follows:

Postgraduate taught/distance learning:
MSc/PG Diploma/PG Cert Medical Mycology;
MSc/PG Diploma/PG Cert Infection and Immunity;
MSc/Postgraduate Diploma in Healthcare associated Infection Control

Research Degrees: MPhil/PhD

10 Recent Publications

Most publications by staff at the Centre can be found on UCL Discovery: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/

Below is a selection of 10 from March to May 2013

Professor Graham Rook

(1) Rook et al (2013) Microbial "Old Friends", immunoregulation and psychiatric disorders. In "The gut mictobiome and the nervous system, Volume 26 (Heidt et al, eds), Old Herborn University, Herborn 61.
Link: http://www.old-herborn-university.de/literature/book/OHUni_book_26_article_6.pdf

Professor A Zumla: Publications of Research Group

(2) Authors: Al-Hajoj S, Varghese B, Shoukri MM, Al-Omari R, Al-Herbwai M, Alrabiah F, Alrajhi AA, Abuljadayel N, Al-Thawadi S, Zumla A, Zignol M, Raviglione MC, Memish Z.
Title: Epidemiology of antituberculosis drug resistance in saudi arabia: findings of the first national survey.
Journal/Ref: Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2013 May;57(5):2161-6. doi: 10.1128/AAC.02403-12. Epub 2013 Mar 4.
Weblink: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23459478

(3) Authors: Bates M, Mudenda V, Mwaba P, Zumla A.
Title: Deaths due to respiratory tract infections in Africa: a review of autopsy studies.
Journal/Ref: Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2013 May;19(3):229-37. doi: 10.1097/MCP.0b013e32835f4fe4.
Weblink: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23429099

(4) Authors: Al-Tawfiq JA, Zumla A, Memish ZA.
Title: Respiratory tract infections during the annual Hajj: potential risks and mitigation strategies.
Journal/Ref: Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2013 May;19(3):192-7. doi: 10.1097/MCP.0b013e32835f1ae8.
Weblink: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23429098

(5) Authors: Reddington K, Tuite N, Barry T, O'Grady J, Zumla A.
Title: Advances in multiparametric molecular diagnostics technologies for respiratory tract infections.
Journal/Ref: Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2013 May;19(3):298-304. doi: 10.1097/MCP.0b013e32835f1b32.
Weblink: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23425918

(6) Authors: Rakotosamimanana N, Doherty TM, Andriamihantasoa LH, Richard V, Gicquel B, Soares JL, ZumlaA, Razanamparany VR.
Title: Expression of TNF-Alpha-Dependent Apoptosis-Related Genes in the Peripheral Blood of Malagasy Subjects with Tuberculosis.
Journal/Ref: PLoS One. 2013 Apr 12;8(4):e61154. Print 2013.
Weblink: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23593415

(7)  Authors: Brodin P, Valentini D, Uhlin M, Mattsson J, Zumla A, Maeurer MJ.
Title: Systems level immune response analysis and personalized medicine.
Journal/Ref: Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2013 Apr;9(4):307-17. doi: 10.1586/eci.13.9.
Weblink: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23557267

(8) Authors: Kapata N, Chanda-Kapata P, O'Grady J, Bates M, Mwaba P, Janssen S, Marais B, Cobelens F, Grobusch M, Zumla A.
Title: Trends in childhood tuberculosis in zambia: a situation analysis.
Journal/Ref: J Trop Pediatr. 2013 Apr;59(2):134-9. doi: 10.1093/tropej/fms065. Epub 2012 Dec 12.
Weblink: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23243079

(9) Authors: Wallis RS, Kim P, Cole S, Hanna D, Andrade BB, Maeurer M, Schito M, Zumla A.
Title:Tuberculosis biomarkers discovery: developments, needs, and challenges.
Journal/Ref: Lancet Infect Dis. 2013 Apr;13(4):362-72. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(13)70034-3. Epub 2013 Mar 24.
Weblink: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23531389

(10) Authors: Lawn SD, Mwaba P, Bates M, Piatek A, Alexander H, Marais BJ, Cuevas LE, McHugh TD, Zijenah L, Kapata N, Abubakar I, McNerney R, Hoelscher M, Memish ZA, Migliori GB, Kim P, Maeurer M, Schito M, Zumla A.
Title: Advances in tuberculosis diagnostics: the Xpert MTB/RIF assay and future prospects for a point-of-care test.
Journal/Ref: Lancet Infect Dis. 2013 Apr;13(4):349-61. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(13)70008-2. Epub 2013 Mar 24.
Weblink: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23531388

Events & Seminars



"Targeting zero deaths from TB: progress, reality and hope
Date: Monday, 25 March, 2013 - all day from 9am
Start time: 9am
Venue: Atrium, Royal Free Hospital
Register at: http://uclworldtbday.eventbrite.com
Download programme

Title: Acid Fast Club
Date: Friday, 11 January
Start time: 12.30
Venue: Atrium, Royal Free Hospital
Organiser: Prof Tim McHugh

Title: Healthcare Associated Infection meeting
Organisers: Prof Peter Wilson, UCLH; Dr Damien Mack, NHS
Date: Friday, 18 January 2013
Time: 3.30pm to 5.00pm
Venue: Tutorial Room 11 (ground floor), Medical School, Royal Free Hospital
Agenda (WORD)


Professor Peter Wilson and Professor Tim McHugh: Inaugural Lectures and Reception.  

Thursday, 13 December, 2012

Professor Alimuddin Zumla - Karolinska Institute's Annual Clinical Science Prize


Professor Zumla delivered his presentation ‘Questioning dogma in Medicine and Science – a lifetime’s perspective on infectious diseases’ on November 8 at Birkeaulan, Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge, Sweden. 
Karolinska Institutet (link)

UCL Grand Challenge of Global Health: 1-day conference on TB

Tuberculosis: Local and Global

Friday, 23 March, 8.30-6.30 at the Royal Free.
The UCL Institute for Global Health is marking World TB Day with a meeting that addresses tuberculosis as a challenge to London and UK health services and sets it in a global context, with the launch of Tuberculosis and TB/HIV; Controversies and unanswered questions, a Journal of Infectious Diseases special supplement edited by Professor Ali Zumla (UCL Centre for Clinical Microbiology) and Marco Schito (National Institutes of Health, USA).

The meeting will be of interest to scientists, clinicians and students. The conference is free to attend but registration is required. 

More details. Register for this event.

Centre for Clinical Microbiology Meeting

Wednesday, 11 January, 2012 1.30pm (half-day mtg)

Chair: Dr Tim McHugh, Director
Venue: Peter Samuel Hall, Flr 1, Royal Free
Programme of presentations (downloads)



Healthcare Associated Infections Research Group: 15 December 2011, 3.30pm-5.30pm

Venue: Tutorial Room 5, Lower Ground Floor, Royal Free Hospital

Healthcare Associated Infection meeting is hosted by Peter Wilson (UCLH) and will include presentations from his team. 

Agenda (WORD doc)


Tackling Tuberculosis on a Global Scale

Thursday 24th March 2011
1.30 - 6pm, Cruciform Lecture Theatre 1 and South Cloisters, UCL.

World TB day, 24th March, commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced the dicovery of mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. Join us to explore UCL research on TB through a series of short presentations and posters.Everyone Welcome!

Registration Link: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/global-health/events


UCLP TB Afternoon (3 November, 2010)

A report and presentations from UCLP's Infection Theme's first TB afternoon can be seen here.

Members of the Centre (Email)

Staff are all based at the Centre on UCL's Royal Free campus unless otherwise identified. (Reviewed: 15 May 2013)

 Dr Shanom Ali Postdoctoral Scientist (Environmental Research Group) shanom.ali [at]uclh.nhs.uk
Dr Catherine Arnold Honorary Senior Lecturer (PHE Colindale) catherine.arnold [at]phe.org.uk
Dr Joanna Bacon  Honorary Lecturer (PHE Porton Down) Joanna.Bacon [at] phe.org.uk
Dr Indran Balakrishnan Honorary Senior lecturer and Consultant Indran.Balakrishnan [at] nhs.net
Dr Matthew Bates  Postdoctoral Scientist (based in Zambia)
matthew.bates [at] ucl.ac.uk
Dr Anna Bateson Postdoctoral Scientist a.bateson [at] ucl.ac.uk
 Michelle Cairns
 Clinical Scientist/ PhD Student (PHE RMN) michelle.cairns [at] phe.org.uk
Dr Bambos Charalambous Senior Lecturer b.charalambous [at] ucl.ac.uk
Anne Dickens Divisional Teaching Administrator a.dickens [at] ucl.ac.uk
Dr Helen Donoghue Senior Lecturer in Medical Microbiology h.donoghue [at] ucl.ac.uk
 Dr Hugh Dyson
 Hon Snr Lect, DSTL
 ehdyson [at] dstl.gov.uk
 Clare Eckold
 Research Assistant
 clare.eckhold.11 [at]ucl.ac.uk
 Dr Virve (Vicky) Enne
 Senior Research Assistant, RiD-RTI EU Project
 v.enne [at] ucl.ac.uk
Dr Vanya Gant Consultant microbiologist/ Head Clinical Infection (UCLH) vanya.gant [at] uclh.nhs.uk
Rebecca Gorton  Clinical Scientist/ PhD Student rebecca.gorton [at] nhs.net
Dr Ljuban Grgic Rid-RTI Project Administrator and Coordinator  To be advised
Dr Isobel Honeyborne  Postdoctoral Scientist i.honeyborne [at] ucl.ac.uk
Dr Susan Hopkins  Honorary Senior lecturer and Consultant susanhopkins [at] nhs.net
Dr Jim Huggett Postdoctoral Scientist (Lab for Government Chemist) jim.huggett [at] lgcgroup.com
 Robert Hunt  Laboratory Co-ordinator r.hunt [at] ucl.ac.uk
Dr Claire Jenkins   Honorary Lecturer (PHE Colindale) claire.jenkins [at] phe.org.uk
Professor Chris Kibbler Professor of Medical Mycology/Clinical Lead Consultant c.kibbler [at] ucl.ac.uk
Professor Nigel Klein Professor (ICH) n.klein [at] ich.ucl.ac.uk
Dr Mary Lenahan Research Associate, Rid-RTI EU Project and postdoctoral scientist  m.lenahan [at] ucl.ac.uk
Dr Clare Ling Postdoctoral Scientist (Shoklo Malaria Research Unit, Thailand) Clare [at] tropmedres.ac
 Dr Damien Mack
Hon Clin Snr Lecturer and consultant microbiologist
 damien.mack [at] nhs.net
Victoria Maddox Clinical Scientist Victoria.Maddox [at] nhs.net
Dr Bruce McRae Consultant Microbiologist and Clinical Lead (UCLH) Bruce.macrae [at] uclh.nhs.uk
Professor Tim McHugh Director, CCM; Professor t.mchugh [at] ucl.ac.uk
 Alice Morgan
 Research Assistant
 alice.morgan [at] ucl.ac.uk
 Dr Steve Morris-Jones  Consultant Microbiologist (UCLH)  stephen.morris-jones [at] uclh.nhs.uk; s.morris-jones [at] ucl.ac.uk
Dr Sara Murthy Clinical Fellow
s.murthy [at] ucl.ac.uk
 Dr Monika Muzslay  Research Assistant (Environmental Research Group)  monika.muzslay [at]uclh.nhs.uk
 Solomon Mwaigwisya Research Assistant  rebmsbm [at] ucl.ac.uk
Sangita Patel Research Administrator sangita.patel [at] ucl.ac.uk
 Gareth Platt
Research Assistant, RiD-RTI EU Project
 g.platt [at] ucl.ac.uk
Simon Rattenbury Laboratory Manager simon.rattenbury [at] nhs.net
Professor Graham Rook Professor g.rook [at] ucl.ac.uk
Dr Rob Shorten  Clinical Scientist Rob.Shorten [at] nhs.net
Dr Andrew Simpson  Hon snr lect (DSTL, Porton Down) AJSIMPSON [at] mail.dstl.gov.uk
Katie Smith
Senior Trials Manager - REMoxTB
katie.h.smith [at] ucl.ac.uk
Dr Robin Smith Honorary Senior lecturer and Consultant Robin.Smith [at] royalfree.nhs.uk
 Professor Mark Spigelman
Visiting Fellow
 spigelman [at] btinternet.com
Professor John Stanford Bacteriology j.stanford [at] ucl.ac.uk
 Dr Stefania Starnino
Postdoctoral Research Associate
 sejjtar [at] ucl.ac.uk
Dr Gemma Vanstone  Postdoctoral Scientist Gemma.Vanstone [at] nhs.net
Professor Peter Wilson Consultant Microbiologist peter.wilson [at] uclh.nhs.uk
Professor Alimuddin Zumla Professor and Consultant in infectious diseases a.zumla [at] ucl.ac.uk

TB: CCM's work

PanACEA (Pan African Consortium for the Evaluation fo Antituberculosis Antibiotics): http://panacea-tb.net/

Date: 5 August, 2013
This research programme is made up of a consortium of scientists from more that 14 countries with skills in clinical trials, pulmonology, mycobacteriology, pharmacokinetics, statistics and delivery of clinical service. This joint initiative comes from the recognition that only by working together across countries and disciplines can the spectre of TB be controlled.

The programme website launched this month can much more information:

http://panacea-tb.net/.  Work at UCL is led by Professor Tim McHugh.

PreDiCT-TB: http://www.predict-tb.eu/

Date: 2 July, 2013
This EU Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) funded proejct: "PreDiCT-TB: Model-based preclinical development of anti-tuberculosis drug combinations" is in it's second year and  the consortium have launched a project website at www.predict-tb.eu.  The website shows the aims of the project and the work of the participants.  UCL's work is led by Professor Tim McHugh.

World TB Day 2013: Targeting zero deaths from TB: progress, reality and hope

Date: 25 March, 2013

This year's World TB Day event featured speakers from around the globe - to read an overview and selection of photographs from this  highly successful meeting follow the link: LINK

www.ucl.ac.uk/tb: the launch of a TB research website

Date: December 2012
www.ucl.ac.uk/tb is a new website connecting researchers in UCL and across their networks with the aim of improving research into TB, dissemination of research outcomes and new funding opportunities for research groups.  The website is run by Professor Tim McHugh.

World TB Day 2012: Tuberculosis: Local and global

Date: 23 March 2012

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To mark World TB Day 2012 the UCL Institute for Global Health held a meeting to address tuberculosis as a challenge to London and UK health services and set it out in a global context. The meeting also marked the launch of 'Tuberculosis and TB/HIV: Controversies and unanswered questions', a Journal of Infectious Diseases special supplement edited by Professor Ali Zumla (UCL Centre for Clinical Microbiology) and Marco Schito (National Institutes of Health, USA). MORE

REMox TB achieves recruitment target (Jan 2012)

Dr Tim McHugh, Director of the Centre for Clinical Microbiology, is pleased to announce that the recruitment target of 1900 was achieved (final number 1904).   REMoxTB is a phase III regulatory clinical trial designed to test treatment shortening regimens for tuberculosis. The ultimate outcome of REMoxTB is a new regimen for treatment of TB and the study leaves a substantial legacy the network of trials sites prepared to test the next generation of compounds and regimens.

To read more from Dr McHugh about this project.
Details of the Trial on NIH Clinical Trials website.
TB Alliance press release
(1 February, 2012)

PanACEA - introduction to the Project (2011)

PanACEA, The Pan African Consortium for the Evaluation of Antituberculosis Antibiotics, is an externally funded international collaborative project exploring new drugs that have the potential to shorten TB treatment.

One of the centre's biggest projects, PanACEA, The Pan African Consortium for the Evaluation of Antituberculosis Antibiotics, is an externally funded international collaborative project exploring new drugs that have the potential to shorten TB treatment.

World TB Day (24 March 2011)

Tackling Tuberculosis on a Global Scale

Thursday 24th March 2011
1.30 - 6pm, Cruciform Lecture Theatre 1 and South Cloisters, UCL.

World TB day, 24th March, commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced the dicovery of mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. Join us to explore UCL research on TB through a series of short presentations and posters.Everyone Welcome!

Registration Link: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/global-health/events

Lancet Seminar: Tuberculosis (March 18, 2011)

As world TB day approaches on 24 March, The Lancet publishes a Seminar Online First that reports that, with increasing rates of drug-resistant TB, the progress being made for decades by world TB programmes is under threat. It also discusses the how other risk factors, such as smoking and diabetes, are increasingly important in fuelling the global burden of TB.

The Seminar is by Professor Alimuddin Zumla, University College London Medical School, UK, and Dr Stephen Lawn, University of Cape Town, South Africa. 
(Press Release, Abstract, PDF)

TB Afternoon (3 November 2010)

A report and presentations from UCLP's Infection Theme's first TB afternoon can be seen here.

EDCTP & UK-TBD: Our Research Commitments

Support for our work comes from substantial funding from the EU, EDCTP (read more here), MRC, Wellcome Trust , NIHR and the Gates Foundation amongst others.  Our MRC-funded project to develop collaboration between TB research groups in the UK has it's kick-off conference in January - read more about TBD-UK here.

News, media coverage & outreach

MAMS-TB trial stops recruiting patients to two arms (10 March 2014)

The MAMS-TB trial is a TB clinical trial with an innovative study design.  The trial is  being conducted by the PanACEA consortium, of which UCL is a major partner; the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL are responsible for data analysis and the UCL Centre for Clinical Microbiology provide the laboratory expertise.

The MAMS-TB trial aims to identify combinations of drugs that could shorten tuberculosis (TB) treatment. Standard TB treatment currently lasts around 6 months. The MAMS-TB trial is comparing 4 new combinations of drugs with the standard 6-month combination. It uses the innovating multi-arm, multi-stage approach, which allows several treatments to be assessed against a single control arm. Those that are not sufficiently promising can be dropped after interim analyses. This allows resources to be focused on those treatments that are most likely to be an improvement compared to the current standard treatment.

The trial is stopping recruiting patients to two of its arms. This follows a meeting of the Independent Data Monitoring Committee (IDMC) which looked at interim analyses. The IDMC recommended that the arms testing the HRZQ and HR20ZQ combinations of drugs should be closed, as the interim results were not promising enough. These two arms include the drug SQ109 instead of ethambutol in the standard 6-month combination with rifampicin given at the higher dose of 20mg/kg in the HR20ZQ arm. Patients are still being recruited to the other three arms of the trial.

To read the full story in SLMS News:


RiD-RTI EU-funded Research Team Meeting (April 2013)


Front row (right to left): Dr Ljuban Grgic (UCL, UK - Project Administrator), Prof Laura Huopaniemi (Mobidiag, Finland - Co-investigator), Prof Alimuddin Zumla (UCL, UK - Principal Investigator), Prof Vanya Gant (UCLH,UK - Co-investigator), Dr Claude Weisbuch (Genewave, France, Technical Coordinator)

Standing (right to left): Mr Marko Kuisma (Mobidiag, Finland - Business Development Manager), Dr Juha Kirveskari (Mobidiag, Finland), Ms Ilaria Marsili (UCL, UK – ERDO Manager ) Dr Nina L. Tuite (NUIG, Ireland - Senior Postdoctoral Researcher), Dr Kate Reddington (NUIG, Ireland - Postdoctoral Researcher),  Dr Mary Lenahan (UCL, UK – Postdoctoral Research Associate), Dr Francis Domain (Genewave, France – Product Manger, Biology), Dr Yann Marcy (Genewave, France – Head of R&D), Dr Philippe Loiseau (Genewave, France – Project Officer), Ms Kirsi Moilanen (Mobidiag, Finland - Research Assistant).

Professor Zumla chaired a meeting in April with representatives from 5 European country partners to discuss progress on their multi-million euros EU-funded collaborative R&D programme grant on development of new diagnostic platforms for rapid point of care screening for a range of bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens from a single sputum sample within an hour of obtaining the specimen. 

The final platform will have inbuilt tech for it to run from solar power so, if successful, it can be useful in developing countries at points of care.   

Research Project leaflet: Download PDF

"Infectious disease: TB's revenge."

Leigh Phillips' News feature in January's edition of "Nature" featured comments by Professor Tim McHugh on the extent of the threat of drug resistance strains of TB in the world.
LINK TO NATURE ARTICLE. Date: 2 January, 2013.

EU grant 6 million euros (£4.7million) award provides unique opportunity for multidisciplinary solutions

Centre members Professor Alimuddin Zumla (Professor of Infectious Diseases and International Health), Dr Justin O’Grady (senior postdoctoral scientist) and Dr Vanya GANT (consultant microbiologist, University College London Hospitals NHS Trust) have successfully signed a contract with the EU, Brussels for  six million euros (£4.7 million pounds)  they competitively obtained from European Union programme entitled ‘Health Innovation’.
    At the first partners meeting held at UCL earlier this month, Professor Zumla, Dr Justin O’Grady and Dr Vanya Gant said they were “absolutely delighted to receive this award since it consolidates our leadership of global infectious diseases research and development and the special excellent collaborative partnerships which UCLH and UCL have with our overseas partners.   They said they will use these monies to enhance their existing fruitful collaborative research activities on bacterial pneumonia, influenza and tuberculosis and to develop a diagnostic test that will rapidly and  detect the exact cause of serious lung infections, which would allow the most appropriate specific antibiotics to be prescribed quickly thus improving treatment outcomes.
    “It provides an ideal opportunity for us to develop a unique multidisciplinary network of clinicians, basic scientists, molecular biologist, microbiologists linked in with industry to work in unison to achieve a multiplier effect in improving the clinical treatment management outcomes of  respiratory infections, such as bacterial pneumonia, tuberculosis and fungal infections
     “There is a great need for rapid, accurate molecular diagnostics tests capable of identifying a large panel of causative microorganism/s to enable appropriate microorganism-specific therapy to be rapidly initiated for improved management outcomes”
    “This exciting grant award will further enhance our collaborative activities between UCLH and UCL and with our partners in Finland, Ireland and France, in the fight against these killer respiratory diseases which kill millions of people each year.”
Date: 24 July 2012

"Should medical postgrad courses teach management skills?"

Date: 19 June, 2012
Stephen Hoare's article for The Guardian reported how changes in postgraduate healthcare training will improve patient care. Professor Tim McHugh was interviewed for this article.

The Health Show: TB Special

A film on the GeneXpert machine will be transmitted on Saturday 13 August 2011 on The Health Show as part of a TB special.  The film features Dr Tim McHugh and Dr Bertie Squire and also includes: a feature on the new TMC 207 drug, a feature about tracing TB patients who don't take their treatment in Lesotho and a studio interview with Prof Ajit Lalvani from Imperial College, London. 

The show and the films on the website cannot be seen in the UK but you can watch it live on www.rentadrone.org and you can watch it anytime on www.rockhopper.tv from the morning of Saturday 13 August 2011 (link to TB short films including GeneXpert).  It can also be downloaded from the Rockhopper site 28 days after transmission. The GeneXpert film will be on the BBC website from 11 August 2011 (Thursday afternoon).  

The transmission times are Saturdays at 10:10 and 20:10 GMT and on Sundays at 07:10 and 23:10 GMT. See link for more information about the show - http://bbc.in/ntogPP

Centre for Clinical Microbiology Meeting: January 11, 2012

Venue: Peter Samuel Hall, Royal Free Hospital

Programme of presentations

13:30 Dr Tim McHugh (Director: UCL Centre for Clinical Microbiology): Welcome & Introduction

13:45 Rebecca Gorton
Title: A comparison of three rapid diagnostic techniques for the identification of yeasts direct from blood cultures (Download)
Supervisors: Prof Chris Kibbler and Dr Tim McHugh

14:00 Michelle Cairns
Title: Clostridium difficile: phylogenetics and disease severity (Download)
Supervisors: Dr Tim McHugh, Dr Nandini Shetty & Prof Brendan Wren (LSHTM)

14:15 Dr Gemma Vanstone
Title: The rapid detection of resistant gram negatives directly from specimens. (Download)
PIs: Dr Bambos Charalambous & Dr Indran Balakrishnan

14:30 Dr Ginny Moore
Title: Are mobile phones used by healthcare workers bugged?
PI: Dr Peter Wilson

14:45 Dr Samana Schwank
Title: Capacity Development for TB-NEAT (Download)
PI: Prof Ali Zumla

15:00 Dr Justin O’Grady
Title: Evaluation of the burden of tuberculosis in adult inpatients at a tertiary referral hospital in Zambia using the Xpert MTB/RIF assay (Download)
PI: Prof Ali Zumla

15:45 Sarah Thurston
Title: COPD sputum producers and the influence on antibiotic resistance (Download)
Supervisors: Prof Wisia Wedzicha & Dr Tim McHugh

16:00 Marcus Leung
Competence stimulatory peptide gene comC as a promising target for differentiating Streptococcus pseudopneumoniae from Streptococcus pneumoniae and other streptococcal species (Download)
Supervisors: Dr Bambos Charalambous & Prof Stephen Gillespie (University of St Andrews)

16:15 Dr Isobella Honeyborne
Title: A culture free biomarker for quantification of TB in sputum (Download)
PI: Dr Tim McHugh

16:30 Joana Fonseca
Title: A transposon mutagenesis library to study mechanisms of drug resistance in Mtb (Download)
Supervisors: Dr Tim McHugh, Dr Bambos Charalambous & Dr Sharon Kendall (RVC)

16:45 Dr Kasha Singh
Rapid evaluation of moxifloxacin for Tuberculosis (Download)
PI: Dr Tim McHugh

17:00 Dr Anna Bateson
Title: REMoxTB: a microbiological challenge (Download)
PI: Dr Tim McHugh

17:15 Prof Chris Kibbler (Clinical Lead, Royal Free Department Medical Microbiology): Closing remarks

Research Students at the Centre

(Reviewed: 13 May, 2013)

Current Students and their project titles (session 2012/13)

Student Name: Ms Michelle Cairns
Based at Health Protection Agency, Royal London Hospital
Title: Clostridium difficile: phylogenomics and disease severity.
Supervisors: Professor Tim McHugh, Professor Brendan Wren and Dr Nandini Shetty
Email; Wren Lab


Student Name: Ms Marie Anne Chattaway (based at Health Protection Agency, Colindale)
Title: A Novel Approach to Pathogen Recognition in association with Diarrheagenic Enteroaggregative E. coli
Supervisors: Professor John Wain, Dr Clare Jenkins, Professor Tim McHugh

Student Name: Ms Nicole Christian (based at UWI Mona Campus, Jamaica)
Title: A Prospective Study of Quinolone Resistance in a Tertiary Care Referral Centre in the West Indies.
Supervisors: Professor Tim McHugh, Dr Bambos Charalambous and Dr Gemma Vanstone

Student Name: Ms Joana Fonseca
Title: Evolution of drug resistance in tuberculosis.
Supervisor: Professor Tim McHugh, Dr Sharon Kendall (RVC), Dr Bambos Charalambous

Student Name: Mr Davinder Garcha
Title: Role of bacteria in COPD exacerbations.
Supervisor: Professor Tim McHugh, Professor Wisia Wedzicha

Student Name: Dr Eleanna Giannatou
Title: Diagnosis and management of invasive aspergillosis.
Supervisor: Professor Chris Kibbler, Professor Hans Stauss

Student Name: Ms Rebecca Gorton
Title: Molecular diagnosis of invasive fungal disease.
Supervisor: Professor Chris Kibbler, Professor Tim McHugh

Student Name: Ms Alice Marriott
Title: Resistance and persistence in Mycobacterium tuberculosis against frontline therapeutics.
Supervisor: Dr Joanna Bacon, Professor Tim McHugh

Student Name: Ms Jessica Mears
Title:Evaluation of the National TB strain typing service
Supervisors: Professor Ibrahim Abubakar (UCL & HPA), Dr Pam Sonnenberg (UCL) and Professor Tim McHugh (UCL)

Student Name: Mr Kartykayan Moganeradj
Working title: The Role of the Transposable Element IS6110 in the evolution of successful lineages of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Supervisors:  Dr Catherine Arnold (UCL & HPA), Professor Ibrahim Abubakar (UCL & HPA), Dr Pam Sonnenberg (UCL) and Professor Tim McHugh

Student Name: Dr Michael E Murphy
Title: Predicting the outcome of tuberculosis treatment
Supervisor: Professor Stephen H Gillespie (University of St Andrews), dr Marc Lipman (RF NHS)
Project synopsis, publications and presentations

Student: Dr Sara Murthy
Title: Tuberculosis: measuring outcomes in clinical trials
Supervisors: Professor Tim McHugh, Professor Stephen Gillespie (St Andrews)


Student Name: Dr Giovanni Satta
Title: Meeting the challenge of drug resistant tuberculosis
Supervisors: Professor Tim McHugh and Dr Marc Lipman
PhD Proposal (PDF)

Student Name: Ms Laura Stoffels
Topic: Synthesis of novel antibacterial proteins in microalgae.
Supervisors: Dr Saul Purton (ISMB, primary), Dr Bambos Charalambous


Student Name: Mr Henry Taunt
Topic: Synthesis of novel antibacterial proteins in microalgae.
Supervisors: Dr Saul Purton (ISMB, primary), Dr Bambos Charalambous


Student Name: Ms Sarah Thurston
Title: Antibiotic resistance in COPD
Supervisors: Professor Tim McHugh, Professor Wisia Wedzicha

Recently completed Research degrees (sessions 2010/11/12)

Student Name: Dr Marcus Leung
Title: Multiple colonization of Streptococcus pneumoniae as means of cell-to-cell communication and adaptive microevolution.
Supervisor: Dr Bambos Charalambous
Project synopsis, publications and presentations
Presentation (Jan 2012):Competence stimulatory peptide gene comC as a promising target for differentiating Streptococcus pseudopneumoniae from Streptococcus pneumoniae and other streptococcal species (Download)

Student Name: Dr Ndekya Oriyo
Title: Longitudinal study on carriage, antibiotic resistance and prevalent serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae in a semi-isolated community in North-East Tanzania
Supervisor: Dr Bambos Charalambous
Second Supervisor: Professor Stephen H Gillespie (University of St Andrews)

Student Name: Dr Robert Shorten
Title: The molecular epidemiology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in north London.
Supervisor: Professor Tim McHugh

Student Name: Dr Amani M Alnimr
Title: Microbiological assessment of novel anti-tuberculosis compounds
Supervisors: Professor Tim McHugh, Professor Stephen H Gillespie (University of St Andrews)

Professor Tim McHugh's Inaugural Lecture (December 2012)

Title: Drug resistant tuberculosis: fit for the challenge
Delivered: 13 December, 2012

Professor Peter Wilson's Inaugural Lecture (December 2012)

Title: Healthcare-acquired infection: control by innovation.
Delivered on 13 December, 2012.


Professor Alimuddin Zumla

Professor Alimuddin Zumla

Professor Ali Zumla has been awarded the Zambian Order of Distinguished Service (First Division) by the President of Zambia during the Zambia presidential award investiture ceremony on 24 October, during Zambia's independence day celebrations, at the Presidential State House in Lusaka. The award was made to recognise Professor Zumla's considerable achievements in medicine and international development.

He has been further honoured as winner of the Karolinska Institute's Annual Clinical Science Prize and will be delivering the his presentation ‘Questioning dogma in Medicine and Science – a lifetime’s perspective on infectious diseases’ on November 8 at Birkeaulan, Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge, Sweden.  Karolinska Institutet.

International Collaboration: University of the West Indies (UWI), Jamaica

Under the supervision of Professor Tim McHugh, the UCL Centre for Clinical Microbiology continues to maintain several international ties with research and development centres and institutions around the world. The aims of the secondments are to provide an opportunity to investigate and explore on-going and new challenges in research, and to encourage the sharing of knowledge and resources between academic communities in different parts of the world.

One such collaboration is that which began in 2011 with Professor Professor John Lindo’s team in the Department of Microbiology at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Jamaica.

Each year scientists at the Royal Free campus are given the opportunity to carry out a 3 to 6 week research and development secondment in the Department of Microbiology, UWI.

This year, Ms Chika Ozongwu, a Trainee Clinical Scientist (Microbiology) at the Royal Free, travelled to Kingston to undertake a 5 weeks’ long placement in the Molecular laboratory at UWI. She was asked to assist with molecular research work with two members of their team: Ms Alcia Jones, a PhD student, and Medical Consultant, Dr Camile Thompson. Chika provided supervision and training on molecular techniques, in particular, DNA/RNA extraction methods and conventional multiplex PCR.

The research projects included work on the detection of plasmid-mediated Fluoroquinolone resistance genes in Escherichia coli isolates, and of carbapenemase genes; of extraction and detection of Trichomonas vaginalis associated virus (TVV), and of Vitek validation using MALDI-ToF isolates.

Whilst in Jamaica, Chika gave an oral presentation entitled “Use of a real-time multiplex PCR, to detect bacterial enteric pathogens directly from stool samples”.  This was an opportunity to share with the department some of the more recent developments within the Royal Free Hospital Microbiology diagnostic service.

Chika report wholeheartedly supported her secondment:

“This secondment provided me with the opportunity to translate many of my laboratory skills and practices to the team at UWI. Through observation, demonstration and training, I was able to apply learned technique.

“Working in Jamaica proved an extremely rewarding and enjoyable experience that required me to adapt to working in a different environment.

“What’s next for the staff and students at UWI Department of Microbiology? The team has shown much enthusiasm towards the continued development of their laboratory, and the department is currently working towards formal recognition of competence in the form of accreditation.

“In addition, the department is preparing to have a fully functioning containment level 3 laboratory by 2014.

“Implementation of both of these changes will require much planning and preparation and therefore I feel this is an area that UCL could potentially assist in, as the collaboration continues to strengthen.”


If photo carousel below does not open, click on the links below to see individual photographs of Chika's time in Jamaica:

Jamaica, Chika in the lab, Chika making her presentation, Fried Fish, Somerset Falls.

Page last modified on 27 nov 14 16:29