Mentzer-Hill Group: Infection Immunogenetics
Researching genetic variants and molecular mechanisms that may be responsible for increasing susceptibility to a range of infectious diseases.
Our lab is researching the genetic variants and molecular mechanisms that may be responsible for increasing susceptibility to a range of infectious diseases including tuberculosis, malaria, bacterial sepsis and a range of viral infections including herpes and hepatitis viruses and most recently SARS-CoV-2. Testing for susceptibility can be performed using case-control analyses including samples from patients with confirmed disease, or using samples from patients with immune measures that are related to specific diseases such as antibody or T-cell measures following natural infection of vaccination.
Our lab uses both approaches and therefore has major links with both local hospitals and many other worldwide collaborators for collecting cases, and we have collaborated widely to help develop a validated platform for multiplexed pathogen antibody testing that can be applied to very large cohort studies such as UK Biobank.
We focus particularly on regions of the genome that appear to be associated with susceptibility to multiple infections such as the major histocompatibility complex and these vary substantially by geography. Ultimately we want to find ways to apply our findings to improve outcomes of patients with severe infection that may include approaches such as vaccination, early diagnostics and prognostication markers.
Our research involves methods including genetics and genomics, transcriptomics, population genetics, immunology, complex clinical phenotyping and diagnostic testing and validation.
Potential project areas: infection, sepsis, genomics, genetics, bioinformatics, immunology, experimental medicine, clinical trials.