£1.6M boost for research into African Salmonella

Professor Jay Hinton has received a second prestigious Wellcome Investigator Award to further his world-leading research on ‘killer’ African Salmonella.

Bloodstream infections caused by variants of two types of Salmonella (Typhimurium and Enteritidis) cause around 50,000 deaths each year in sub-Saharan Africa. This endemic disease has recently become a major public health concern.

Professor Hinton has been studying Salmonella for more than thirty years. His most recent research, supported by a previous Wellcome Investigator Award, has provided fundamental understanding of the epidemiology, transmission and virulence of African Salmonella to drive forward the development of new treatments and vaccines.

The new £1.6m award will support a five-year project to determine how African Salmonella survive and replicate whilst they infect and hijack human cells. Using state of the art functional genomic techniques, Professor Hinton will carry out experimental comparisons between African and gastroenteritis-associated Salmonella while they are growing inside human macrophages. It is hoped the findings will reveal the hidden “Achilles’ heel” of African Salmonella to improve our ability to combat future epidemics of invasive non-typhoidal Salmonellosis.

Professor Hinton, from the University’s Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences, said: “The progress we have made so far reflects the skills of my remarkable research team, and close collaborations with Professors Melita Gordon and Nick Feasey at the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome (MLW) Clinical Research Programme.

“Thanks to the Wellcome Trust, my laboratory will have another five years of funding to continue this vital work. The new award will allow us to study African Salmonella in human cells for the first time and take our investigation of this devastating disease to the next level.”

Wellcome Trust Investigator Awards support exceptional, world-class researchers to address the most important questions of human disease. Professor Hinton’s funding will run from 2022 to 2027 and support a team of four postdoctoral researchers and a PhD student.