Division of Infection and Immunity


Dr Gillian Tomlinson

MRC Clinician Scientist


Research in the Tomlinson lab focusses on improving understanding of the molecular determinants of both protective and pathogenic immune responses in tuberculosis, to inform development of novel treatments and vaccines and new ways to stratify risk of active disease.

Research summary

Differences in the immune response to tuberculosis make a major contribution to clinical outcome, and evidence suggests that the best responses require inflammation to kill the bacteria, balanced by regulation to avoid pathology, but the molecular mechanisms that control this are unclear.

We integrate a cutting-edge human experimental tuberculosis challenge model with studies using zebrafish to identify and validate host factors that calibrate a favourable immune response in tuberculosis. The zebrafish Mycobacterium marinum infection model provides a natural host-pathogen interaction with granulomatous inflammation that is an excellent model of human tuberculosis. Moreover, zebrafish larvae are optically transparent allowing us to visualise bacterial growth and cellular responses to infection.

We collaborate closely with Dr Mahdad Noursadeghi's and Professor Benny Chain's groups which study host immune responses to infectious diseases at genome‑wide level with a particular focus on tuberculosis.


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