Imperial College London

Dr Vanessa Sancho-Shimizu

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Infectious Disease

UKRI Future Leaders Fellow (Proleptic Lecturer)



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




309Norfolk 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.



Sancho-Shimizu V, Brodin P, Cobat A, et al., 2021, SARS-CoV-2–related MIS-C: A key to the viral and genetic causes of Kawasaki disease?, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Vol:218, ISSN:0022-1007, Pages:1-16

Gupta RK, Harrison EM, Ho A, et al., 2021, Development and validation of the ISARIC 4C Deterioration model for adults hospitalised with COVID-19: a prospective cohort study, The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Vol:9, ISSN:2213-2600, Pages:349-359

Gao D, Ciancanelli MJ, Zhang P, et al., 2021, TLR3 controls constitutive IFN-beta antiviral immunity in human fibroblasts and cortical neurons, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Vol:131, ISSN:0021-9738

Klionsky DJ, Abdel-Aziz AK, Abdelfatah S, et al., 2021, Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (4th edition)1., Autophagy, Vol:17, Pages:1-382

Hait AS, Olagnier D, Sancho-Shimizu V, et al., 2020, Defects in LC3B2 and ATG4A underlie HSV2 meningitis and reveal a critical role for autophagy in antiviral defense in humans, Science Immunology, Vol:5, ISSN:2470-9468

More Publications