Vanessa Sancho Shimizu

Improving diagnosis, treatment and prevention of severe childhood infections

The Infection theme brings together world-leading research teams focused on improving diagnosis, treatment and prevention of globally important severe and life-threatening infections in children. We study common infectious diseases which can affect any child, whilst also seeking to explain and learn from those who have unusually severe infections. Translational research programs link patients recruited at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and elsewhere with sophisticated laboratory and informatics research methods. Complementary research is also benefitting animal health by tackling important veterinary pathogens. The interdisciplinary membership of the theme includes clinicians, laboratory scientists, molecular and cell biologists, microbiologists, proteomics experts, bioinformaticians and statisticians. The Paediatric Infectious Diseases Research Group was awarded the 2019 President’s Medal for Outstanding Research Team in Imperial College.

Research interests and theme leadership

Key research areas


  • Genetic determinants of susceptibility and severity of infection
  • Pathogenesis of infectious and inflammatory diseases
  • Diagnosis and prognosis of infectious diseases
  • Immune responses and vaccine design
  • Personalised medicine
  • Omics approaches
  • Severe and chronic viral infections, including HIV and viral hepatitis
  • Bacterial infections
  • Tuberculosis
  • Malaria

Theme lead


Dr Aubrey Cunnington
Reader in Paediatric Infectious Diseases

Dr Aubrey Cunnington is Reader in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at Imperial College and Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at St Mary's Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. His research focuses on the interactions between hosts and pathogens which result in severe infectious diseases, particularly severe malaria.

Further information on Dr Cunnington

Theme members

Dr Evangelos Bellos

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Dr Evangelos Bellos
Research Associate in Statistical Genomics

Heather Hanna

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Heather Hanna
Teaching Fellow

Professor Gareth Tudor-Williams

Professor Gareth Tudor-Williams

Professor Gareth Tudor-Williams
Professor of Paediatric Infectious Diseases