Imperial College London

Dr Vanessa Sancho-Shimizu

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Medicine

Senior Research Fellow



+44 (0)20 7594 3914v.sancho-shimizu




235Norfolk PlaceSt Mary's Campus





Dr Vanessa Sancho-Shimizu is a research fellow in the section of paediatrics, division of infectious diseases. She is currently working on understanding the Mendelian predisposition to rare childhood infections specifically: identifying genes underlying childhood (1) herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE), (2) severe viral infections, and (3) invasive meningococcal disease (IMD).


Vanessa Sancho-Shimizu obtained her BSc degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Her PhD project, based in the Centre for the study of Host Resistance to Infectious Disease, focused on investigating the genetics underlying host resistance to Salmonella infection in wild-derived mice. She moved to Paris, France following her PhD, to start her postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Human Genetics of Infectious Disease in the Necker Enfants Malades Hospital at Universite Paris Descartes, developping an expertise in investigating Mendelian predisposition to childhood herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE), and TLR3-antiviral IFN pathways. This led to the identification of human TRIF deficiency as novel genetic aetiology of HSE. She came to Imperial College in 2012 as a Marie Curie research fellow working with Prof M Levin in the section of Paediatrics, continuing her work on the genetic predisposition of childhood HSE in collaboration with her previous lab lead by Prof JL Casanova, but has also extended the search of Mendelian defects to other clinical disease phenotypes including severe childhood viral infections and invasive meningococcal disease (IMD). She has started her own group in 2014 with a career development award from the Medical Research Foundation, within the sections of Virology and Paediatrics.


Vanessa Sancho-Shimizu has been a Marie Cuire fellow from 2008-2010 and 2012-2014. She is currently funded by the Medical Research Foundation.



Israel L, Wang Y, Bulek K, et al., 2017, Human Adaptive Immunity Rescues an Inborn Error of Innate Immunity, Cell, Vol:168, ISSN:0092-8674, Pages:789-+

Sirianni A, Krokowski S, Lobato-Marquez D, et al., 2016, Mitochondria mediate septin cage assembly to promote autophagy of Shigella, Embo Reports, Vol:17, ISSN:1469-221X, Pages:1029-1043

Ahmad L, Zhang S-Y, Casanova J-L, et al., 2016, Human TBK1: A Gatekeeper of Neuroinflammation, Trends in Molecular Medicine, Vol:22, ISSN:1471-4914, Pages:511-527

Holder B, Jones T, Shimizu VS, et al., 2016, Macrophage Exosomes Induce Placental Inflammatory Cytokines: A Novel Mode of Maternal-Placental Messaging, Traffic, Vol:17, ISSN:1398-9219, Pages:168-178

Bamford A, Crowe BHA, Hacohen Y, et al., 2015, Pediatric Herpes Simplex Virus Encephalitis Complicated by N-Methyl-D-aspartate Receptor Antibody Encephalitis, Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, Vol:4, ISSN:2048-7193, Pages:E17-E21

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