Microbiology and Infection

Tackling the global challenge of infectious diseases for the benefit of society.

The study of infectious diseases has never been so important. The team at the Institute for Microbiology and Infection (IMI) lead global research on key pathogens of global importance in both the developed and developing world.

Our work is collaborative: as well as expert microbiologists, researchers include immunologists, biochemists and experts in genomics. Together we bring technical expertise to solve global challenges including the threat of pathogens that are resistant to antimicrobial drugs and the surveillance and diagnosis of infectious diseases.

Our aim is to harness the power of fundamental microbiology research to solve global threats to humanity. These include age-old diseases like Tuberculosis and newly emerging pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2. Our research is also addressing the enormous challenge of antimicrobial resistance.

With one of the largest communities of academic microbiologists in the world, we are at the forefront of innovative research into combatting these threats. We do this by developing new approaches in three areas: diagnosis, treatment and prevention.  By bringing together a community of internationally-recognised researchers, we are developing strategies that range from novel antimicrobial surfaces, through hand-held DNA sequencers, to novel drugs and new vaccines. 

At the heart of all of these approaches is an unwavering dedication to innovative microbiology research – something that has been integral to the University of Birmingham since its foundation more than a century ago. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that microbes will continue to be a threat to human health in the future. Indeed, due to numerous factors including climate change, globalisation and increasing populations densities, it is likely that we will see more pandemics during our lifetime as pathogens jump from animal hosts to humans. In addition, the increasing burden of infections caused by drug-resistant microbes is another threat to global health. The IMI is uniquely positioned to address these challenges by providing a unique environment for experts in microbiology and infectious diseases to work together to perform research and provide education at the highest level of excellence."

Professor Willem van Schaik

Professor Willem van Schaik

Director of the Institute of Microbiology and Infection

Discover more

  • Institute of Microbiology and Infection

    Research 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.

  • Confronting Antimicrobial Resistance (CARe)

    Infections have been the major cause of mortality in human history. In low- and middle-income countries, infections remain a major cause of mortality, due to poor sanitation, and lack of access to antibiotics and vaccines.

  • The University of Birmingham combatting COVID

    Colleagues from across the University have come together to tackle COVID

  • Antibiotic Resistance

    Our researchers are tackling this global issue by understanding how antibiotics work and finding new ways to prevent and treat infections.

  • Clinical Research Facilities

    Situated in the largest healthcare region in the country, the College of Medical and Dental Sciences has a range of facilities which support both its teaching and research activities.

  • Key staff

    Find out about our researchers who work collaboratively within this field.

  • Media experts

    The University of Birmingham is one of the UK's leading universities for research and can offer expertise to the media on many different subjects.

  • Policy experts

    University of Birmingham researchers and academic experts are working across all major policy areas, this guide aims to enable policy makers to contact researchers quickly and efficiently.