The Department of Infectious Disease's mission is to apply excellent science and develop new approaches to address the unmet clinical needs for the control of infectious disease, both here in the UK and internationally. Our investigators study all aspects of infectious disease ranging from the fundamental science of microbial pathogens to the clinical outcomes of the infections they cause.

We are actively seeking to support Fellowship applications. One of our key objectives as a Department is to inspire the next generation of infectious disease scientists, which includes developing the careers of our postdoctoral Fellows. We welcome all enthusiastic academics and practitioners to join our Department as Fellows. In particular, we encourage applications from female scientists and scientists from diverse backgrounds who are currently underrepresented within our academic and research community.

On this page, we will introduce you to current Fellows in our Department, as well as signposting relevant funding opportunities and further guidance. For an informal conversation about Fellowship opportunities and applications, please contact

Meet our Fellows

Dr Teresa Thurston, Advanced Research Fellow in the Department of Infectious Disease, discusses her journey to obtaining a Fellowship.

Dr Teresa Thurston

Dr Teresa Thurston, Advanced Research Fellow in the Department of Infectious Disease, discusses her journey to obtaining a Fellowship and advice for prospective applicants.

UKRI Future Leaders Fellow Vanessa Sancho-Shimizu talks about the challenges and highlights of her Fellowship journey so far, and what she enjoys about working in the Department of Infectious Disease.

Dr Vanessa Sancho-Shimizu

UKRI Future Leaders Fellow Vanessa Sancho-Shimizu talks about the challenges and highlights of her Fellowship journey so far, and what she enjoys about working in the Department of Infectious Disease.

Meet our Fellows

Fadil Bidmos

Dr Fadil Bidmos

Section: Paediatric Infectious Disease

Research area: Bacterial vaccines and molecular genetics

Source of Fellowship: MRC Career Development Award

My route to securing a Fellowship: I spent 5.5 years as a postdoc in the Langford lab. This time was spent mostly generating data for follow-on funding, gaining experience with writing successful grants and building a network of collaborators. I engaged in a lot of career development activities, including obtaining Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) in recognition of my teaching work (lectures, small group teaching and research supervision).

Top tip to applicants: Start early (at least 1 year in advance for a sound application) and get your budget right (VERY crucial).

Thomas Clarke

Dr Thomas Clarke

Section: Molecular Microbiology 

Research areas: Microbiota, infection, immunology 

Source of Fellowship: Royal Society and Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale. I was also offered a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship.

My route to securing a Fellowship: I did a five-year postdoc in the USA. I then returned to the UK with a two-year Imperial Fellowship within the MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection. During those two years, I was awarded both a Royal Society and Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale and also a BBSRC David Philips. I accepted the Wellcome Trust Fellowship.  

Top tips to applicants:  

  1. Think about your application early. Any Fellowship or grant takes longer to write than you realise. Ensure you give yourself enough time to do the best job possible because there will always be something that gets delayed or slows you down. Speak to others who have been awarded it. 
  2. All sections of the application are important. While the case for support is undoubtedly the most important section of any proposal, don’t disregard the importance of the other sections too. You want to minimise opportunities to criticise your application. If you don’t know how to complete a certain section, seek help. For example, if you’re using animal models, learn how to do power calculations or speak to an expert.  
  3. Mock interviews are vital. The two mock interviews I had were very helpful. It provided me with insights into how to convey the central idea and importance of my project within a very short period to a broad audience. It highlighted how critical it was to ensure the whole panel was engaged and understood my work, not just a few specialists on the panel. 
Rachel Lai

Dr Rachel Lai

Section: Adult Infectious Disease

Research area: Systems biology. In particular, transcriptional and metabolic responses associated with infection pathology and outcome.

Source of Fellowship: MRC Career Development Award

My route to securing a Fellowship: After completing my PhD at Imperial on Retrovirology, I moved to Cambridge for my first postdoc to work on preclinical vaccine development. This was followed by another postdoc at the Francis Crick Institute, which gave me the opportunities to learn and develop my skills in systems biology and bioinformatics. I was eventually awarded an MRC CDA fellowship to lead my own research team.

Top tips to applicants: 

  • Plan ahead and start writing as early as possible. Discuss your ideas and draft proposal with colleagues within and outside of your field to get their feedback.
  • Every section of the application is important and will be evaluated. Consider carefully where you are planning to carry out your research, with which collaborators and if the budget is justified and sufficient.
  • If you are planning to use human clinical specimens, do you have all the ethics in place?
  • Do as many mock interviews as you can and have panel members outside your field.
  • Do not give up – very often it takes more than one attempt to be successful.
Dr Teresa Thurston

Dr Teresa Thurston

Section: Molecular Microbiology

Research area: Host-pathogen interactions. In particular, we want to understand at the molecular level, what cell-intrinsic innate immune mechanisms protect the host against intracellular bacteria. On the other side, we analyse how bacterial effector proteins, which are delivered into host cells, manipulate innate immune signaling. 

Source of Fellowship: BBSRC

My route to securing a Fellowship: After completing my PhD (2010) and a short postdoctoral position (1 year), I moved to carry out a postdoctoral position with Professor David Holden at Imperial College London. During this time I obtained a Leverhulme Fellowship to carry out research in his lab and then, from 2014-2018, I held an Imperial College Research Fellowship. This semi-independent position paved the way to my fully independent position. 

Top tip to applicants: Take the time to make your application - it is like climbing a mountain but is worth it. It is also really helpful to make contact with previous Fellows to discuss your application.

Dr Ada Yan

Dr Ada Yan

Section: Virology

Research area: I study how influenza viruses adapt to infect humans, using a combination of wet lab work, bioinformatics and mathematical modelling.

Source of Fellowship: Imperial College Research Fellowship

My route to securing a Fellowship: After completing a PhD in mathematics, I worked as a Research Associate at Imperial College, on a Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award project investigating the evolution of influenza viruses. I had the opportunity to collaborate closely with wet lab virologists and bioinformaticians and was encouraged to apply for a fellowship to develop my own skills in these areas, in preparation for leading interdisciplinary research in the future.

Top tip to applicants: Talk to current fellowship holders and seek feedback not only on your research proposal but also on your proposed scientific vision. People are incredibly generous with their time and want to help you succeed.

Fellowship funding opportunities

  • Clinical Research Training Fellowship (CRTF) Pre Doctoral opportunity
  • Clinician Scientist Fellowship (CSF)
  • Clinical Research Training Fellowship (CRTF) Post Doctoral opportunity
  • Senior Clinical Fellowship
  • Senior Non-Clinical Fellowship 
  • Career Development Award

For more information, please visit the MRC-funded fellowships webpage and the Application timelines - MRC - UKRI webpage.

For more information, please visit the NIHR Fellowship Programme webpage.