Dr Alba Llibre Serradell PhD

Alba Llibre

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
Assistant Professor
Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow

Contact details

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Llibre trained as a biochemist, biotechnologist and virologist. She did her PhD in immunology and since then she has worked on host-pathogen interactions, with a particular focus on tuberculosis disease. 


  • PhD in Immunology, University of Oxford, 2015
  • MSc in Biology and Pathology of Viruses, Imperial College London, 2011
  • BA in Biochemistry, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, 2010
  • BA in Biotechnology, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, 2010


Dr Llibre grew up in Barcelona, where she did her BA in Biotechnology and Biochemistry. She then moved to the UK to course a MSc in Virology at Imperial College London. She then had the opportunity to pursue a PhD in Human Immunology, funded by Obra Social la Caixa, at the University of Oxford, where she investigated the role of Lectin-Like Transcript 1 (LLT1) in germinal centres. Dr Llibre continued studying host immune responses in the context of infectious disease at the Insitut Pasteur in Paris. During this post-doctoral stage, funded by Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale, she focused on understanding functional immune responses to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. She also implemented a retrospective clinical study to validate a newly developed point of care HCV viral detection kit (in collaboration with Genedrive, UK).

Dr Llibre joined the University of Birmingham in 2020 as a Marie Skołodowska-Curie Individual Fellow. Here, she investigates the host immune and metabolic responses in the context of tuberculosis disease. During the last two years, her research has also focused on studying the interactions between tuberculosis and COVID-19 diseases, in collaboration with the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy. She was promoted to Assistant Professor in April 2023.


  • Lectures on Immunology and Immunometabolism
  • Small group teaching in Immunology
  • Deputy Lead of the Inflammation and Cell Migration module within the MSc in Immunology and Immunotherapy

Postgraduate supervision

During her PhD and postdoctoral studies, Dr Llibre has been involved in the supervision of:

  • MSc students (5)
  • PhD students (2)


Tuberculosis (TB) is a major global public health problem in which one in four of the world’s population is latently infected. Host-directed therapeutics, in which drugs target host-mediated responses to pathogens rather than acting directly on the pathogen, are an emerging and promising strategy. In order to develop this approach towards new drugs for TB, we urgently require a comprehensive understanding of how host-pathogen interactions impact cellular pathways to regulate the immune response to the pathogen and influence disease outcome.

Metabolic reprogramming is crucial for determining successful immune responses. It is now well known that infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) induces a switch in cell metabolism to active glycolysis.

Through an interdisciplinary approach, combining the fields of clinical microbiology, immunology, metabolism and big data, Dr Llibre research focuses in answering the urgent question of how immune-metabolic responses impact the host’s ability to resolve M.tb infection. This knowledge has the potential to reveal new host immune-metabolic therapeutic targets for TB disease.

Other activities

  • 2018: Post-doctoral representative of the Immunology Department (Institut Pasteur)
  • 2015: Science writing for Bang! and Phenotype (Oxford's popular science magazines)


Recent publications

Review article

Certo, M, Llibre, A, Lee, W & Mauro, C 2022, 'Understanding lactate sensing and signalling', Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, vol. 33, no. 10, pp. 722-735. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tem.2022.07.004

Llibre, A, Dedicoat, M, Burel, JG, Demangel, C, O'Shea, MK & Mauro, C 2021, 'Host immune-metabolic adaptations upon mycobacterial infections and associated co-morbidities', Frontiers in immunology, vol. 12, 747387. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.747387

Llibre, A, Grudzinska, FS, O'Shea, MK, Duffy, D, Thickett, DR, Mauro, C & Scott, A 2021, 'Lactate cross-talk in host-pathogen interactions', The Biochemical journal, vol. 478, no. 17, pp. 3157-3178. https://doi.org/10.1042/BCJ20210263

View all publications in research portal