Professor Alex Richter MBChB, MRCP, FRCPath, MD

Alex Richter

Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy
Professor and Honorary Consultant in Clinical Immunology

Contact details

Address
Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Alex has been leading a team of experts from the University of Birmingham to develop a SARS-CoV-2 antibody test focussed on improving detection in individuals with mild COVID-19 disease. In collaboration with The Binding Site this is being commercialised.

In collaboration with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Dental Hospital this test has been used to investigate seroprevalence in NHS medical and dental staff, determine antibody status for Oxford vaccine study and determine COVID -19 to be the cause of a newly emerged multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children.

Qualifications

  • MBChB (Birmingham)
  • MRCP (London)
  • FRCPath
  • MD (Birmingham)

Biography

Professor Alex Richter earned her undergraduate medical degree from the University of Birmingham (UoB) and undertook her junior doctor training within the British Army. After 10 years military service she returned to Birmingham to undertake a doctorate exploring the immunology of pulmonary vasculitis and interstitial lung disease. She undertook specialist training in Clinical Immunology and was appointed Clinical Lecturer at UoB to complete her training. She established clinical immunology and allergy services at University Hospitals Birmingham, where she is now a Consultant Clinical Immunologist and won a Best in Care award in 2018.

She is Professor of Clinical Immunology and Director of the Clinical Immunology Service. Her research interests are focussed around secondary immunodeficiency and understanding vaccination responses.

Teaching

Alex undertakes regular teaching at the University and clinical teaching and lecturing on her research areas.

  • Awarded the 2019 REME Teaching Award (Recognising Excellence in Medical Education).
  • Examiner for the Royal College of Pathologists.

Postgraduate supervision

Doctorates

  • MD – Prevalence of MGUS in acute admissions
  • PhD – Role of B cells in HIV
  • PhD - The role of B cells in non small cell lung cancer (current)
  • PhD - The Immunology of recurrent miscarriage (current)
  • DClinSci - Prevalence of secondary immunodeficiency in stem cell transplant recovery (current)

Other

  • Regularly supervisors masters and batchelor degree projects
  • Educational supervisor for clinical lecturer and academic clinical fellow

If you are interesting in studying any of these subject areas please contact Professor Alex Richter directly, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email mds-gradschool@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

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

Research

Research interests include the emerging field of secondary immunodeficiency; developing diagnostics, exploring vaccination responses and management of patients with an immunodeficiency secondary to either malignancy or prolonged immunosuppression for an inflammatory disorder. For many cancers and inflammatory conditions, infection is one of the most significant causes of death and optimising and supporting the immune system can potentially reduce this risk.

During the SARS-CoV 2 pandemic Alex lead a team that developed a high sensitivity antibody test that was commercialised by The Binding Site. This assay was used to establish seroprevalence in a large staff cohort study at UHB (COCO), a Birmingham dental cohort and a haemodialysis cohort. Alex has helped establish the Birmingham Turnkey laboratory to contribute to the pillar 2 testing effort.

Current grants

  • 2020: Confidence in Concept MRC: Development of an annual influenza serotype antibody ELISA
  • 2020: COPE-Birmingham: The contribution of occupational exposures to risk of COVID-19 and approaches to control among healthcare workers. DHSC/UKRI COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative
  • 2020: Development of antibody-based testing for SARS-CoV-2. Proximity to Discovery, MRC
  • 2020: Developing a point of care diagnostic tool for COVID-19 for use in LMIC settings. Institute for Global Innovation (IGI)
  • 2019: Investigating immunity in post-transplant LPD in a clinical trial cohort. Rosetree foundation. Co-investigator.
  • 2019: Treating plagues – public engagement grant from BSI. Co-investigator
  • 2018: Does hospitalisation of older patients with severe community acquired pneumonia and sepsis lead to long term immunoparesis? MRC (MR/S002782/1): Co- investigator

Other activities

University of Birmingham

External appointments

  • Myeloma UK -  Early Diagnosis Steering Committee
  • UK Primary Immunodeficiency Network UKPIN – Trustee
  • NIHR CRF specialist advisory committee at UHB

Publications

Recent publications

Article

Parry, H, McIlroy, G, Bruton, R, Ali, M, Stephens, C, Damery, S, Otter, A, McSkeane, T, Rolfe, H, Faustini, S, Wall, N, Hillmen, P, Pratt, G, Paneesha, S, Zuo, J, Richter, A & Moss, P 2021, 'Antibody responses after first and second Covid-19 vaccination in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia', Blood Cancer Journal, vol. 11, no. 7, 136. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41408-021-00528-x

Shields, A, Faustini, S, Kristunas, C, Cook, A, Backhouse, C, Dunbar, L, Ebanks, D, Emmanuel, B, Crouch, E, Kroeger, A, Hirschfeld, J, Sharma, P, Jaffery, R, Nowak, S, Gee, S, Drayson, M, Richter, A, Dietrich, T & Chapple, I 2021, 'COVID 19: Seroprevalence and vaccine responses in UK dental care professionals', Journal of Dental Research, vol. 100, no. 11, pp. 1220-1227. https://doi.org/10.1177/00220345211020270

Faustini, S, Jossi, S, Perez-Toledo, M, Shields, A, Allen, JD, Watanabe, Y, Newby, ML, Cook, A, Willcox, C, Salim, M, Goodall, M, Heaney, J, Marcial-Juarez, E, Morley, G, Torlinska, B, Wraith, D, Veenith, T, Harding, S, Jolles, S, Mark, PJ, Plant, T, Huissoon, A, O’Shea, MK, Willcox, B, Drayson, M, Crispin, M, Cunningham, A & Richter, A 2021, 'Development of a high-sensitivity ELISA detecting IgG, IgA and IgM antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein in serum and saliva', Immunology. https://doi.org/10.1111/imm.13349

Ptasinska, A, Whalley, C, Bosworth, A, Poxon, C, Bryer, C, Machin, N, Grippon, S, Wise, EL, Armson, B, Howson, ELA, Goring, A, Snell, G, Forster, J, Mattocks, C, Frampton, S, Anderson, R, Cleary, D, Parker, J, Boukas, K, Graham, N, Cellura, D, Garratt, E, Skilton, R, Sheldon, H, Collins, A, Ahmad, N, Friar, S, Burns, D, Williams, T, Godfrey, KM, Deans, Z, Douglas, A, Hill, S, Kidd, M, Porter, D, Kidd, SP, Cortes, NJ, Fowler, V, Williams, T, Richter, A & Beggs, AD 2021, 'Diagnostic accuracy of loop-mediated isothermal amplification coupled to nanopore sequencing (LamPORE) for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection at scale in symptomatic and asymptomatic populations', Clinical Microbiology and Infection. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmi.2021.04.008

Richter, AG, Shields, AM, Karim, A, Birch, D, Faustini, SE, Steadman, L, Ward, K, Plant, T, Reynolds, G, Veenith, T, Cunningham, AF, Drayson, MT & Wraith, DC 2021, 'Establishing the prevalence of common tissue-specific autoantibodies following severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection', Clinical and Experimental Immunology, vol. 205, no. 2, pp. 99-105. https://doi.org/10.1111/cei.13623

Faniyi, AA, Lugg, ST, Faustini, SE, Webster, C, Duffy, JE, Hewison, M, Shields, A, Nightingale, P, Richter, AG & Thickett, DR 2021, 'Genetic polymorphisms, vitamin D binding protein and vitamin D deficiency in COVID-19', The European respiratory journal, vol. 57, no. 5, 2100653. https://doi.org/10.1183/13993003.00653-2021

Shields, AM, Brown, H, Phillips, N, Drayson, MT, Richter, AA & Richter, AG 2021, 'Health Care Professionals' Confidence and Preferences for Diagnostic Assays for SARS-CoV-2: A Global Study', Frontiers in public health, vol. 9, 569315. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.569315

Wall, N, Godlee, A, Geh, D, Jones, C, Faustini, S, Harvey, R, Penn, R, Chanouzas, D, Nightingale, P, O'Shea, M, Richter, A, Moss, P, Cunningham, A & Harper, L 2021, 'Latent cytomegalovirus infection and previous capsular polysaccharide vaccination predict poor vaccine responses in older adults, independent of chronic kidney disease', Clinical Infectious Diseases, vol. 2021, no. 00, ciab078, pp. 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciab078

The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium, Meng, B, Kemp, SA, Papa, G, Datir, R, Ferreira, IATM, Marelli, S, Harvey, WT, Lytras, S, Mohamed, A, Gallo, G, Thakur, N, Collier, DA, Mlcochova, P, Duncan, LM, Carabelli, AM, Kenyon, JC, Lever, AM, De Marco, A, Saliba, C, Culap, K, Cameroni, E, Matheson, NJ, Piccoli, L, Corti, D, James, LC, Robertson, DL, Bailey, D & Gupta, RK 2021, 'Recurrent emergence of SARS-CoV-2 spike deletion H69/V70 and its role in the Alpha variant B.1.1.7', Cell Reports, vol. 35, no. 13, 109292. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109292

Kidd, M, Richter, A, Best, A, Cumley, N, Mirza, J, Percival, B, Mayhew, M, Megram, O, Ashford, F, White, T, Moles-Garcia, E, Crawford, L, Bosworth, A, Atabani, SF, Plant, T & McNally, A 2021, 'S-variant SARS-CoV-2 lineage B1.1.7 is associated with significantly higher viral loads in samples tested by ThermoFisher TaqPath RT-qPCR', The Journal of Infectious Diseases. https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiab082

Syrimi, E, Fennell, E, Richter, A, Vrljicak, P, Stark, R, Ott, S, Murray, PG, Al-Abadi, E, Chikermane, A, Dawson, P, Hackett, S, Jyothish, D, Kanthimathinathan, HK, Monaghan, S, Nagakumar, P, Scholefield, BR, Welch, S, Khan, N, Faustini, S, Davies, K, Zelek, WM, Kearns, P & Taylor, GS 2021, 'The immune landscape of SARS-CoV-2-associated Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) from acute disease to recovery', iScience, vol. 24, no. 11, 103215. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2021.103215

Cook, AM, Faustini, SE, Williams, LJ, Cunningham, AF, Drayson, MT, Shields, AM, Kay, D, Plant, T, Huissoon, A, Wallis, G, Beck, S, Jossi, SE, Perez-Toledo, M, Newby, ML, Allen, JD, Crispin, M, Harding, S & Richter, AG 2021, 'Validation of a combined ELISA to detect IgG, IgA and IgM antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 in mild or moderate non-hospitalised patients', Journal of Immunological Methods, vol. 494, 113046. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jim.2021.113046

Ferguson, J, Dunn, S, Best, A, Mirza, J, Percival, B, Mayhew, M, Megram, O, Ashford, F, White, T, Moles-Garcia, E, Crawford, L, Plant, T, Bosworth, A, Kidd, M, Richter, A, Deeks, J & McNally, A 2021, 'Validation testing to determine the sensitivity of lateral flow testing for asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 detection in low prevalence settings: testing frequency and public health messaging is key', PLoS Biology, vol. 19, no. 4, e3001216. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3001216

Letter

Banham, G, Godlee, A, Faustini, S, Cunningham, A, Richter, A, Harper, L, Backhouse, C, Casey, A, Dunbar, L, Emmanuel, B, Fahy, M, Moss, P, Nightingale, P, Ratcliffe, L & Stringer, S 2021, 'Hemodialysis patients make long-lived antibodies against SARSCOV-2 that may be associated with reduced reinfection', Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, vol. 32, no. 9, pp. 2140-2142. https://doi.org/10.1681/ASN.2021020188

Review article

Warner, S, Richter, A, Stamataki, Z & Kelly, D 2021, 'Understanding COVID-19: are children the key?', BMJ Paediatrics Open, vol. 5, no. 1, e001063. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjpo-2021-001063

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