New Professors join the University to tackle global infectious diseases

Dr Hannah Levis, Reader in Ophthalmic Bioengineering, Eye & Vision Sciences

New chairs in HLS

(l to r, top to bottom) Professor Adam Cunningham, Professor Peter Diggle, Professor Neil French, Professor Anna-Maria Geretti, Professor Aras Kadioglu and Professor Sarah O’Brien

The University of Liverpool has appointed six new chairs in its Institute of Infection and Global Health as part of a wider £20 million initiative to attract additional world-class researchers to the University’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.

These new appointments will help tackle some of the 21st century’s major infectious diseases. These include viral infections such as HIV and Hepatitis C, bacterial diseases including non-typhoidal salmonella and pneumococcus and food-borne diseases such as campylobacter.

The six new chairs are part of an initiative to recruit to 23 academics of global standing across the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, which brings together world-leading expertise from Medicine, Biomedicine, Veterinary Health and Biological Sciences.

Professors Adam Cunningham, Neil French, Anna–Maria Geretti, Sarah O’Brien, Aras Kadioglu and Peter Diggle will join the Institute of Infection and Global Health in the summer this year.

Professor Tom Solomon, Head of the Institute of Infection and Global Health, said: “These new appointments not only strengthen research within the Institute, but also support study into infection at the School of Tropical Medicine and the Institutes of Integrative Biology and Translational Medicine. They will also make important contributions to Liverpool’s NIHR Biomedical Research Centre in Microbial Diseases.”

Professor Cunningham comes to Liverpool from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Immune Regulation in Birmingham, where he studies immune responses to non-typhoidal salmonella. He has been appointed Chair in Infection Immunology.

Previously a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow based in Liverpool and Malawi, Professor French returns to the University, after five years as Director of the Karonga Prevention Study in Malawi. He works on the epidemiology of HIV and interventions to improve care, particularly clinical trials of vaccines against pneumococcus. He has been appointed to Chair in Infectious Diseases and Global Health.

Professor Geretti is an expert on viral infections, particularly HIV and Hepatitis C, with an extensive research portfolio in the UK and the Tropics. She takes up a Chair in Infectious Diseases.

Professor Kadioglu, from the University of Leicester, works on Pseudomonas and Pneumococcal disease and takes up a chair in Bacterial Pathogenesis. His research will cut across the Institute of Infection and Global Health and the School of Tropical Medicine.

Professor O’Brien, from the University of Manchester, has been appointed Chair of Epidemiology and Zoonotic Diseases. Her research focuses on food safety, particularly diseases such as Campylobacter and Listeria. She is also Chair of the Government’s Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food.

Biostatistician, Professor Diggle, originally from the University of Lancaster, has an adjunct position at Johns Hopkins University in the United States. He has particular expertise in mapping the spread of emerging infections and is has been appointed Professor of Statistics and Epidemiology at the University’s Institute.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Howard Newby said: “These new posts, as well as a new building with state-of-the-art laboratories, underscore the University’s commitment to this vitally important area of work.”

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