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

For any general doctoral research enquiries, please email: dr@contacts.bham.ac.uk or call +44 (0)121 414 5005.

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

Chicca, I, Heaney, J, Iqbal, G, Dunn, J, Bowcock, S, Pratt, G, Yong, K, Planche, T, Richter, A & Drayson, M 2020, 'Anti-bacterial Antibodies in Multiple Myeloma Patients at Disease Presentation, in Response to Therapy and in Remission: Implications for Patient Management', Blood Cancer Journal.

Atkin, C, Sapey, E & Richter, A 2020, 'Change in blood test results prior to diagnosis in multiple myeloma', Clinical Medicine, Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London, vol. 20, pp. S99-S100. https://doi.org/10.7861/CLINMED.20-2-S99

Patel, AJ, Nightingale, P, Naidu, B, Drayson, MT, Middleton, GW & Richter, A 2020, 'Characterising the impact of pneumonia on outcome in non-small cell lung cancer: identifying preventative strategies', Journal of Thoracic Disease, vol. 12, no. 5, pp. 2236-2246. https://doi.org/10.21037/jtd.2020.04.49

Faustini, SE, Jossi, SE, Perez-Toledo, M, Shields, A, Allen, JD, Watanabe, Y, Newby, ML, Cook, A, Willcox, CR, Salim, M, Goodall, M, Heaney, JL, Marcial-Juarez, E, Morley, GL, Torlinska, B, Wraith, DC, Veenith, T, Harding, S, Jolles, S, Mark, PJ, Plant, T, Huissoon, A, O'Shea, MK, Willcox, BE, Drayson, MT, Crispin, M, Cunningham, AF & Richter, AG 2020, 'Detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein in both serum and saliva enhances detection of infection', medRxiv : the preprint server for health sciences. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.06.16.20133025

Rapson, A, Collman, E, Faustini, S, Yonel, Z, Chapple, I, Drayson, M, Richter, A, Campbell, JP & Heaney, J 2020, 'Free light chains as an emerging biomarker in saliva: biological variability and comparisons with salivary IgA and steroid hormones', Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity, vol. 83, pp. 78-86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2019.09.018

Richter, A, Plant, T, Kidd, M, Bosworth, A, Mayhew, M, Megram, O, Ashworth, F, Crawford, L, White, T, Moles-Garcia, E, Mirza, J, Percival, B & McNally, A 2020, 'How to establish an academic SARS-CoV-2 testing laboratory', Nature Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-020-00818-3

Ramcharan, T, Nolan, O, Lai, CY, Prabhu, N, Krishnamurthy, R, Richter, AG, Jyothish, D, Kanthimathinathan, HK, Welch, SB, Hackett, S, Al-Abadi, E, Scholefield, BR & Chikermane, A 2020, 'Paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome: temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS): cardiac features, management and short-term outcomes at a uk tertiary paediatric hospital', Pediatric Cardiology, vol. 41, no. 7, pp. 1391–1401. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00246-020-02391-2

Bosworth, A, Whalley, C, Poxon, C, Wanigasooriya, K, Pickles, O, Aldera, EL, Papakonstantinou, D, Morley, GL, Walker, EM, Zielinska, AE, McLoughlin, D, Webster, C, Plant, T, Ellis, A, Richter, A, Kidd, IM & Beggs, AD 2020, 'Rapid implementation and validation of a cold-chain free SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic testing workflow to support surge capacity', Journal of Clinical Virology, vol. 128, 104469. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcv.2020.104469

Shields, A, Faustini, SE, Perez-Toledo, M, Jossi, S, Aldera, E, Allen, JD, Al-Taei, S, Backhouse, C, Bosworth, A, Dunbar, LA, Ebanks, D, Emmanuel, B, Garvey, M, Gray, J, Kidd, IM, McGinnell, G, McLoughlin, DE, Morley, G, O'Neill, J, Papakonstantinou, D, Pickles, O, Poxon, C, Richter, M, Walker, EM, Wanigasooriya, K, Watanabe, Y, Whalley, C, Zielinska, AE, Crispin, M, Wraith, DC, Beggs, AD, Cunningham, AF, Drayson, MT & Richter, AG 2020, 'SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence and asymptomatic viral carriage in healthcare workers: a cross-sectional study', Thorax, vol. 75, no. 12, pp. 1089-1094. https://doi.org/10.1136/thoraxjnl-2020-215414

Oxford COVID Vaccine Trial Group 2020, 'Safety and efficacy of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222) against SARS-CoV-2: an interim analysis of four randomised controlled trials in Brazil, South Africa, and the UK', The Lancet, vol. 397, no. 10269, pp. 99-111. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32661-1

Perez-Toledo, M, Faustini, SE, Jossi, SE, Shields, AM, Kanthimathinathan, HK, Allen, JD, Watanabe, Y, Goodall, M, Wraith, DC, Veenith, TV, Drayson, MT, Jyothish, D, Al-Abadi, E, Chikermane, A, Welch, SB, Masilamani, K, Hackett, S, Crispin, M, Scholefield, BR, Cunningham, AF & Richter, AG 2020, 'Serology confirms SARS-CoV-2 infection in PCR-negative children presenting with Paediatric Inflammatory Multi-System Syndrome', medRxiv : the preprint server for health sciences. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.06.05.20123117

Atkin, C, Reddy-Kolanu, V, Drayson, MT, Sapey, E & Richter, AG 2020, 'The prevalence and significance of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance in acute medical admissions', British Journal of Haematology, vol. 189, no. 6, pp. 1127-1135. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjh.16487

Patel, AJ, Richter, A, Drayson, MT & Middleton, GW 2020, 'The role of B lymphocytes in the immuno-biology of non-small-cell lung cancer', Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00262-019-02461-2

Faniyi, A, Lugg, S, Faustini, S, Webster, C, Duffy, J, Hewison, M, Shields, A, Nightingale, PG, Richter, A & Thickett, D 2020, 'Vitamin D status and seroconversion for COVID-19 in UK healthcare workers', European Respiratory Journal. <https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/early/2020/11/26/13993003.04234-2020>

Letter

Heaney, J, Richter, A, Bowcock, S, Pratt, G, Child, A, Jackson, G, Morgan, G, Truesson, I & Drayson, M 2020, 'Excluding myeloma diagnosis using revised thresholds for serum free light chain ratios and M-protein levels', Haematologica, vol. 105, no. 4, pp. e169-e171. https://doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2019.224360

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