Professor Tim Mitchell PhD, FRCPath

Professor Tim Mitchell

Institute of Microbiology and Infection
Professor of Microbial Infection and Immunity
Deputy Head of School
Joint Microbiology Theme Lead SRMRC

Contact details

Institute of Microbiology and Infection
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
Medical School Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Tim Mitchell is professor of Microbial Infection and Immunity and Deputy Head of the School of Immunity and Infection.

Tim has published over 200 research papers in scientific journals as well as reviews and book chapters in the fields of microbial pathogenesis and immunity. He has received major grants from Wellcome Trust, European Union, Medical Research Council and PATH. He has good links with industry for translational research.

Tim Mitchell is a leading member of the NIHR SRMRC.  You can find out more about the work of this research centre on the SRMRC website.


  • Fellow of Royal College of Pathologists 2004
  • PhD Microbiology 1986
  • BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences 1983


Tim Mitchell qualified with a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences (Microbiology) from the University of Birmingham in 1983. He went on to study for a PhD in Microbiology in Birmingham. Tim was awrded a Wellcome Trust Travelling Fellowship to work at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He returned to the UK to take up a post-doctoral position at University of Leicester. He was then awarded a Royal Society University Fellowship. Tim moved from Leicester in 1996 to take up the Chair of Microbiology at University of Glasgow before returning to Birmingham University in 2012.

Understanding the molecular pathology and immunology of bacterial infections has been a key theme in Tim’s research and he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists in 2004.


BMed Sci Year 1 and 2

Masters course in Microbiology and Infection

Postgraduate supervision

Tim has supervised 25 doctoral students to completion.

Tim is interested in supervising doctoral research students in the following areas:

  • The role of bacterial toxins in the disease process
  • Development of vaccines for diseases caused by Gram positive pathogens
  • Pathogenesis of pneumococcal infection

If you are interesting in studying any of these subject areas please contact Tim on the contact deatils above, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email: or call +44 (0)121 414 5005.

For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings


Infectious diseases, infection and Microbiology


Pathogenesis of pneumonia and meningitis
Tim’s work over the last 25 years has been concerned with understanding the processes involved in disease caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. He has been involved in the study of a number of virulence factors from this organism, including the protein toxin pneumolysin. A detailed structure function study of this protein allowed the identification of several important functional regions of the toxin. Modification of these regions led to the development of a toxoided protein which is now being evaluated as an addition to the human vaccine against pnumococcal disease.

Bacterial pathogenomics
The availability of the genome sequences of many bacterial pathogens allows the investigation of the pathogenesis of many bacterial infections at the molecular level. A combination of the use of bacterial mutants, animal models and transgenic animal models allows the study of host/pathogen interaction at the molecular level to produce information to assist in the design of new vaccines or therapies. Studying bacterial genome variation also allows understanding of pathogen evolution and its impact on interaction with the host immune system. These studies are important in understanding the mechanisms of bacterial escape from host immune mechanisms.

Tim is a named inventor on several patents related to development of new vaccines and therapies for infectious diseases

Other activities

  • Consultant for several pharmaceutical companies
  • External consultant for Scottish Infection Research Network


1.      Croucher, N.J., Mitchell, A.M., Gould, K.A., Inverarity, D., Barquist, L., Feltwell, T., Fookes, M.C., Harris, S.R., Dordel, J., Salter, S.J., Browall,S., Zemlickova,H., Parkhill, J., Normark, S., Henriques-Normark, B., Hinds, J., Mitchell, T.J., Bentley, S.D. Dominant role of nucleotide substitution in the Diversification of Serotype 3 Pneumococci over decades and during a single infection. PLoS Genetics. in press    

2.      Gray, C, Ahmed, M.S., Mubarak, A., Kasbekar, A.V., Derbyshire, S., McCormick, M.S., Mughal, M.K., McNamara, P.S., Mitchell, T.J., Zhang, Q. Activation of memeory Th17 by Domain 4 Pneumolysin in Human Nasopharynx-Associated Lymphoid Tissue and Its Association with Pneumococcal Carriage. Mucosal Immunology. In press

3.      Wippel, C., J. Maurer, C. Fortsch, S. Hupp, A. Bohl, J. Ma, T.J. Mitchell, S. Bunkowski, W. Bruck, R. Nau, and A.I. Iliev, Bacterial cytolysin during meningitis disrupts the regulation of glutamate in the brain, leading to synaptic damage. PLoS Pathog, 2013. 9(6): p. e1003380.

4.      Luttge, M., M. Fulde, S.R. Talay, A. Nerlich, M. Rohde, K.T. Preissner, S. Hammerschmidt, M. Steinert, T.J. Mitchell, G.S. Chhatwal, and S. Bergmann, Streptococcus pneumoniae induces exocytosis of Weibel-Palade bodies in pulmonary endothelial cells. Cell Microbiol, 2012. 14(2): p. 210-25.

5.     Lucas, R., G. Yang, B.A. Gorshkov, E.A. Zemskov, S. Sridhar, N.S. Umapathy, A. Jezierska-Drutel, I.B. Alieva, M. Leustik, H. Hossain, B. Fischer, J.D. Catravas, A.D. Verin, J.F. Pittet, R.B. Caldwell, T.J. Mitchell, S.D. Cederbaum, D.J. Fulton, M.A. Matthay, R.W. Caldwell, M.J. Romero, and T. Chakraborty, Protein kinase C-alpha and arginase I mediate pneumolysin-induced pulmonary endothelial hyperpermeability. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol, 2012. 47(4): p. 445-53.

6.      Daigneault, M., T.I. De Silva, M.A. Bewley, J.A. Preston, H.M. Marriott, A.M. Mitchell, T.J. Mitchell, R.C. Read, M.K. Whyte, and D.H. Dockrell, Monocytes regulate the mechanism of T-cell death by inducing Fas-mediated apoptosis during bacterial infection. PLoS Pathog, 2012. 8(7): p. e1002814.

7.       Witzenrath, M., F. Pache, D. Lorenz, U. Koppe, B. Gutbier, C. Tabeling, K. Reppe, K. Meixenberger, A. Dorhoi, J. Ma, A. Holmes, G. Trendelenburg, M.M. Heimesaat, S. Bereswill, M. van der Linden, J. Tschopp, T.J. Mitchell, N. Suttorp, and B. Opitz, The NLRP3 inflammasome is differentially activated by pneumolysin variants and contributes to host defense in pneumococcal pneumonia. J Immunol, 2011. 187(1): p. 434-40.

8.       Croucher, N.J., S.R. Harris, C. Fraser, M.A. Quail, J. Burton, M. van der Linden, L. McGee, A. von Gottberg, J.H. Song, K.S. Ko, B. Pichon, S. Baker, C.M. Parry, L.M. Lambertsen, D. Shahinas, D.R. Pillai, T.J. Mitchell, G. Dougan, A. Tomasz, K.P. Klugman, J. Parkhill, W.P. Hanage, and S.D. Bentley, Rapid pneumococcal evolution in response to clinical interventions. Science, 2011. 331(6016): p. 430-4.

9.       Bewley, M.A., H.M. Marriott, C. Tulone, S.E. Francis, T.J. Mitchell, R.C. Read, B. Chain, G. Kroemer, M.K. Whyte, and D.H. Dockrell, A cardinal role for cathepsin d in co-ordinating the host-mediated apoptosis of macrophages and killing of pneumococci. PLoS Pathog, 2011. 7(1): p. e1001262.

10.      Johnston, C., J. Hinds, A. Smith, M. van der Linden, J. Van Eldere, and T.J. Mitchell, Detection of large numbers of pneumococcal virulence genes in streptococci of the mitis group. J Clin Microbiol, 2010. 48(8): p. 2762-9.