Professor Tim McHugh's Review (2011)

Dr Tim McHugh (2011)

Our Centre

Many members of our Centre are not based at the Royal Free campus - our geographical spread is broad and includes the Gower Street Campus, Mona Campus UWI, HPA Porton Down, Colindale & RMN at Barts & London, and DSTL Porton Down - and we aim to ensure that all parts of the network are reflected by the Centre's activities and publications.

Despite the distractions of the first half of this year with staff moving to the Free from the Windeyer, there has been substantial activity by the working groups and here are a few highlights that have come to my attention and give a flavour of the diversity in the Centre.


This group has held several well attended meetings and the theme has been further supported by UCLP. Dr Peter Wilson’s research team has relocated to the Royal Free Campus and we hope this will help collaborative working and allow the HCAI group to flourish.


International research programmes continue to be a focus of the Centre. The projects led by Professor Ali Zumla are reflected in publications and further funding and REMoxTB, for which I am UCL lead, has achieved recruitment of  1600 patients and is on track to complete the recruitment phase of the study by December 2012. We have secured further funding to ensure stability for staff and publications are beginning to appear from this project.

TB research is not just located in the Centre and so in a new initiative we have instigated a UCL TB Strategy Group to encourage communication and collaboration in TB research across the College. The enthusiasm for this was demonstrated at the World TB day event  and at the UCLP TB meeting  (November, 2010) and has been reflected in new grant proposals and collaborative projects.


The Centre is the home for 3 MSc programmes. The MSc Infection & Immunity is now entering its third year and as I write has enrolled 42 students: good news in terms of our reputation and cash flow although it will be challenging to find projects. The MSc in Medical Mycology is gradually increasing its international clientele and continues to provide training in this critical area of expertise. An important development is the start of the new MSc/PG Dip in Healthcare associated Infection Control, led by Susan Hopkins and again utilising our combined expertise in this area. Enrolment for this blended programme is currently 7 students.

I am pleased to note that Ms Ndekya Oriyo has been awarded her doctorate and reduced our compliment of current research students to 13 (8 in I&I) working from the RF, HPA Colindale, HPA, Barts & London, Tanzania and Jamaica.


The introduction of MALDI-TOFF to the RF department has provided a focus for the mycology theme since Easter. Moving rapidly to develop expertise and apply it to clinical research we are already seeing the first papers submitted from this group. The fungal work is being pursued in parallel with studies of the use of MALDI-TOFF in diagnosis of sepsis.

Molecular diagnosis

Molecular diagnosis has been a key theme of the Centre and is an area that will be strengthened by the combined resources of the groups now co-located at the RF. This is an area that will have increased focus in the new academic year particularly with Ali Zumla's EDCTP funded projects for enhanced diagnosis of TB; an NIHR funded projected addressing rapid diagnosis in hard to reach groups led by Andrew Haywood with support from Marc Lipman and myself, and NIHR- and MRC-funded projects on the role of infection in COPD with Respiratory Medicine for which I lead the microbiology. A good example of an area that our combined resource will consider is the management of sepsis in with Bambos Charalambous and Ali Zumla are combining to develop.

Page last modified on 15 may 13 11:11 by Karen Rumsey