TBTuberculosis, or TB, is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs. It is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the active respiratory disease. 

In healthy people, infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis often causes no symptoms, since the person's immune system acts to “wall off” the bacteria. The symptoms of active TB of the lung are coughing, sometimes with sputum or blood, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. Tuberculosis is treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics.

Information from the World Health Organisation

Professor Beate Kampmann

Childhood TB & Vaccinology

Professor Beate Kampmann's research programme in the UK and Africa focuses on childhood tuberculosis and vaccinology. As the Head of the Vaccinology theme at the MRC-The Gambia, she leads work in tuberculosis, infant immunology and molecular diagnostics within the core goal of the unit to improve maternal & child health in West Africa.

She has developed an "Open Lab strategy" for members of staff based in either the UK or Africa, which facilitates the interaction of people and ideas around key areas of research in both places.

Her laboratory has developed novel immunogenicity assays to study vaccines, including for tuberculosis and is also evaluating novel diagnostic tools for childhood TB. She is particularly interested in research questions and tools applicable to children in resource-poor settings.

Professor Ajit Lalvani

The Tuberculosis Research Centre

The Tuberculosis Research Centre, led by Professor Ajit Lalvani, addresses the world’s most severe respiratory infections: tuberculosis and pandemic influenza.

The Centre’s work has transformed our understanding of the natural history of TB infection, uncovered the mechanism of action of the BCG vaccine and defined the blueprint for a new universal pandemic influenza vaccine. The scientific discoveries enabled practical solutions for tackling infectious diseases including the FDA-approved, NICE-endorsed ELISpot IGRA (interferon-gamma release assay), which has transformed diagnosis and screening of TB. The ongoing research programme probes the immunologic and genetic factors that shape the natural history and clinical outcomes of TB and influenza infection while maintaining a strong translational theme by developing next-generation biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis and risk stratification of TB and influenza infection.

Recently, the group’s epidemiological and public health research in collaboration with Public Health England (PHE) delivered the evidence-base and blueprint for the new PHE and NHS National TB Strategy.

Professor Jon Friedland

Tuberculosis Research Group

Tuberculosis is a worldwide threat affecting about a third of the world's population and killing over 2 million each year. Increased drug resistance in the form of multi- and extreme- drug resistant disease (MDR/XDR-TB) is a major emergent threat.

The Tuberculosis Research Group (TRG) has a broad-based, highly successful research programme undertaken both in modern laboratories on the Hammersmith campus of Imperial and overseas particularly in their main base in Peru where Dr Carlton Evans runs a large group.  The majority of research work is part of a collaboration between Imperial and the Universidad Cayetano Heredia Peruana, Lima, Peru and Johns Hopkins University, USA.  Currently, there is an emerging TB research collaboration with Professor R. Wilkinson in Cape Town, South Africa.

The group undertakes three main areas of research, including innate immune responses to infection and the role of matrix metalloproteinases in the tissue destruction that results in morbidity and mortality in tuberculosis and novel diagnostic approaches to infection such as the MODS assay and factors influencing susceptibility to tuberculosis.  The research is supported by diverse sources including the MRC (UK), the NIHR and the Wellcome Trust, including the Imperial College London Wellcome Trust Centre for Global Health Research.