Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Infectious Disease

Senior Lecturer



+44 (0)20 7594 3868a.mccarthy Website




5.40BFlowers buildingSouth Kensington Campus





My group is based at the Centre for Bacterial Resistance Biology, in the Department of Infectious Diseases, in South Kensington. We study the role of innate immune receptors in the generation and modulation of innate immune responses in host immunity and inflammation, and how pathogens exploit these receptors to manipulate innate immune responses.

Phagocytic immune cells express a plethora of immune receptors to recognise, respond to and kill invading microbes. They also express inhibitory immune receptors that act to ensure that phagocytes do not damage the host by becoming activated in the wrong place or at the wrong time. Some receptors belong to families containing activating and inhibitory receptors, and these families are considered immunomodulatory receptors that act to generate balanced immune responses. These families include the CEACAM and LILR families of receptors, that are expressed on a range of innate and adaptive immune cell types. My laboratory studies the role of receptors from the CEACAM and LILR families in the biology of neutrophils, and how pathogens interact with these receptors to manipulate immune responses. Understanding the mechanisms that modulate innate immune cell activity, and how this is exploited by pathogens, could provide therapeutic approaches for infectious and inflammatory disease situations.  We are currently funded through BBSRC and Wellcome Trust. 

After completing a PhD at the University of Leeds, UK, I joined the laboratory of Prof Jodi Lindsay at St George's University of London, London, UK in 2008 to study the evolution and host-pathogen interactions of S. aureus. In 2013, I joined the laboratory of Prof Peter Taylor at University College London (UCL) School of Pharmacy, London, UK, to study the host-pathogen interactions of E. coli. I was awarded an Intra-European Fellowship for Career Development by EU MSCA to join the laboratory of Prof Jos van Strijp at the University Medical Centre (UMC) Utrecht in 2016 to study the role of LILRs on neutrophils. I am now a lecturer in innate immunity at the MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology of Infection at Imperial College London. 

Visit the Lab Webpage at Alex McCarthy Lab

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Arredondo-Alonso S, Blundell-Hunter G, Fu Z, et al., 2023, Evolutionary and functional history of the Escherichia coli K1 capsule, Nature Communications, Vol:14, ISSN:2041-1723, Pages:1-17

Catton EA, Bonsor DA, Herrera C, et al., 2023, Author Correction: Human CEACAM1 is targeted by a Streptococcus pyogenes adhesin implicated in puerperal sepsis pathogenesis., Nat Commun, Vol:14

Catton EA, Bonsor DA, Herrera C, et al., 2023, Human CEACAM1 is targeted by a Streptococcus pyogenes adhesin implicated in puerperal sepsis pathogenesis, Nature Communications, Vol:14, ISSN:2041-1723, Pages:1-16

Xu X, Marffy ALL, Keightley A, et al., 2022, Group B <i>Streptococcus</i> Surface Protein β: Structural Characterization of a Complement Factor H-Binding Motif and Its Contribution to Immune Evasion, Journal of Immunology, Vol:208, ISSN:0022-1767, Pages:1232-1247

McCarthy AJ, Taylor PW, 2022, Analysis of Escherichia coli K1 Virulence Genes by Transposon-Directed Sequencing., Methods Mol Biol, Vol:2377, Pages:199-213

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