Our research

body-our-researchResearch within the Institute is diverse, encompassing fundamental science of model organisms to the biochemical and biophysical analysis of microbial components to transnational research on key pathogens of medical and veterinary importance. 

Infection - Virology

Globally, over 20% of deaths result from an infectious disease. Research in bacteriology and virology at the University of Birmingham brings together world leading strengths in basic and clinical Science to tackle global infections. Particular strengths exist in the study of antibiotic resistance, bacterial and viral pathogenesis and persistent virus infections; all major worldwide causes of morbidity and mortality.

We host a group of prominent, internationally recognised researchers investigating key aspects of infection. We work with a range of bacterial and viral pathogens and study mechanisms of pathogenesis, host-pathogen interactions, pathogen transmission and drug resistance. Our fundamental science underpins the development and application of improved therapies to combat infection.

Particular strengths exist in the study of persistent virus infections, the pathogenesis of Gram negative bacteria and antibiotic resistance where we have an international reputation for our work. Viral persistence and bacterial pathogenesis involve complex host-pathogen interactions to evade innate and adaptive immune responses. We work closely with cell biologists and immunologists to study these interactions. Antibiotic resistance is a global challenge and the topic of the 2011 WHO ‘World Health Day’, we study the mechanisms and transmission routes of antibiotic resistance as well as developing new approaches to treat antibiotic resistant bacteria.

The study of bacterial and viral infection involves significant interdisciplinary collaborations across the University and with local NHS trusts, allowing recent developments of new research into vaccines, novel antimicrobials, and the application of whole genome sequencing to evolution and epidemiology projects.

Research groups

Infection - Microbiology

Microbiology research success is based on the combination of molecular studies on host-pathogen interactions and translation to the clinic through strong NHS collaborations.

To integrate and expand this activity, and to forge links to other activity in the College of Life & Environmental Sciences, an Institute for Microbiology and Infection [A 00 001] (IMI) was established in 2011, co-locating 30 principal investigators including new strategic appointments. Recent key outputs include elucidation of the basis for disseminated Salmonella infections in HIV positive patients and the role of OmpD as an antigenic target in protective immunity against Salmonella. Recent appointments have added expertise in immune cell-pathogen interactions in Streptococcus pneumoniae, an important infection in children and older adults.

Elucidating the role of bacterial toxins in pathology of meningitis facilitates new treatments for and prevention of bacterial infections. Bacterial genomics has highlighted the effect of clinical intervention on evolution and variation of bacteria. Structural studies of bacterial transporters align with development of new antimicrobial agents, and nationally we play a key role in the Antibiotic Action group that advises Government.

Research groups