Imperial College London

Professor Francis Drobniewski

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Infectious Disease

Chair in Global Health and Tuberculosis







Commonwealth BuildingHammersmith Campus





He is Chair in Global Health and Tuberculosis at Imperial College, London (ICL), a physician and microbiologist (accredited in Microbiology, Virology and Immunology). He has 25 years’ experience as PI/Co-I for complex respiratory disease research programmes focusing on TB/HIV and antimicrobial drug resistance, integrating clinical, biological and social themes. He has held multiple Board leadership roles in academia and the NHS.

He is: Fellow of ESCMID (2017- ); Member ICL Antimicrobial Research Collaborative; NIHR Health Protection Research Unit Respiratory Infections, ICL (2014-2017); Founder member ECDC TB Reference Lab Network (2009-onwards); Global CrypTIC TB DST Consortium; Director UK National Mycobacterium (TB) Reference Laboratory (1996-2015) Consultant Microbiologist (p/t) University Hospitals Dorset 2017- current;  Member of British Thoracic Society MDRTB National Advisory Panel; NICE Clinical TB Adviser; Member MRC DPFS Grants Panel (2021-  ); Member NICE-TAC (determines NHS drug etc purchasing/provision).  UK NHS COVID Clinical Reference Group and diagnostics (2020-21).

Research expertise in diagnostics, AMR, disease risk factor and survival analysis, covid vaccine: TB/HIV LMIC programme development and implementation (eg EU FP6, FP7, H2020, Horizon Europe, DFID and WHO); ECDC TB Network (see above) focuses on diagnostics and analysis of drug resistance; training programmes (including Ukraine) for WHO, British Council; published over 280 peer-reviewed papers in these areas. Current Chief Investigator VAROT Study looking at post aminoglycoside hearing analysis and Horizon Europe EuCARE Covid 19 UK (UK arm of a multicenter Covid 19 consortium considering all aspects of Covid infection from diagnosis and genomics to survival by variant, immunology vaccine hesitancy, and UK NHS COVID Clinical Reference Group and diagnostics. WHO: diagnosis and treatment of drug resistant bacterial infections (AMR), and management of MDRTB and HIV-TB. Until recently WHO consultant and member of multiple WHO technical and policy committees including Chair WHO European Lab Initiative.

Leadership and Management: Non-Executive Board Director Kent Community Hospital Trust (2018-2022); Chair WHO European Laboratory Initiative on TB, HIV and viral hepatitis, until 2022) including supporting COVID19 strategy; Member Divisional Management Boards HPA/PHE, KCL, QMUL, ICL. Director/Co Lead DFID and EU Framework Programmes 1990-current); Director Health Sciences Research Ltd (2006-current), a not-for-profit ethos organisation supporting young scientist and medical training; faculty MSc Health Management, City University, London.


Our research sits firmly at the boundary of basic and translational sciences where scientific advances in for example,  understanding the genetic and biochemical mechanisms of drug resistance have been developed into practical diagnostic tests, evaluated in multicenter trials and implemented into NHS and clinical practice.  These have involved utlising multiple approaches including social and behavioural ones to address clinical problems and achieve desired goals. These have been funded principally through a series of EU Framework grants including Horizon Europe as well as NIHR, Wellcome Trust, DFID, MRC, FIND, Innovate etc.

TB and COVID-19 provide  excellent models for public health and the development of national and international health and social policy issues including vaccine hesitancy. 

Similarly the patients we typically deal with (eg TB, HIV, multi-cultural, ethnic and linguistic, frequently with major social problems including alcoholism, intra-venous drug abuse, homeless ness, prior imprisonment) require a multi-disciplinary scientific and clinical approach to address complex needs and perceptions about their illness.  

Specifically our group focuses on:

--all aspects of tuberculosis (TB) (and its interaction with HIV) locally, nationally and internationally. You cannot address the UK dimension without thinking internationally.

--evaluation of new diagnostics including experience working with industry on joint projects; creation of  Diagnostic and Clinical Trial Network in Eastern Europe with partners to facilitate this;

--the diagnosis of bacterial and viral diseases especially TB and other respiratory diseases 

--identifying host and pathogen biomarkers for diagnosis and cure in drug resistant and other complex cases of TB;

--understanding the molecular epidemiology and global evolution/phylogeny of tuberculosis and other mycobacteria

--broader public health problems posed by TB, HIV, COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases both in the UK and overseas including vaccine hesitancy

--understanding therapy, causes and identifying drug resistance in TB and other mycobacteria including the fitness of drug resistant TB stains

--analysis of our banks of stored sera/plasma, urine and human DNA, and pathogen DNA from our longitudinal and cross-sectional patient cohorts from Eastern Europe with our partners.  We completed population-based bacterial genoming sequencing studies, and are analysing biomarkers of cure and diagnosis within our longitudinal field cohorts together with the role of strain variation in infectivity and pathogenesis.  

We want to interact with groups at Imperial and Europe more widely by exploring the effects of climate range on infectious diseases particularly in northern and eastern Europe and the Arctic collaborating with those in Europe.

Finally, understanding patient needs and perceptions about their health and the utlity of drugs and vaccines where available, and health economic aspects of therapeutics (eg NICE TAC).  These lessons can be applied to a wide range of different patient groups. 


Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Drobniewski F, Ashmi M, He C, et al., 2024, Aminoglycosides, deafness, and non-tuberculous mycobacteria, The Lancet Global Health, Vol:12, ISSN:2214-109X, Pages:e561-e561

Hedberg P, Parczewski M, Serwin K, et al., 2024, In-hospital mortality during the wild-type, alpha, delta, and omicron SARS-CoV-2 waves: a multinational cohort study in the EuCARE project, The Lancet Regional Health. Europe, Vol:38, ISSN:2666-7762

Simões D, Ehsani S, Stanojevic M, et al., 2022, Integrated use of laboratory services for multiple infectious diseases in the WHO European Region during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond., Eurosurveillance, Vol:27, ISSN:1025-496X

Drobniewski F, Kusuma D, Broda A, et al., 2022, COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in diverse groups in the UK — is the driver economic or cultural in student populations, Vaccines, Vol:10, ISSN:2076-393X, Pages:501-501

Drobniewski F, Keshavjee S, 2021, COVID-19 and Tuberculosis-A global tale of hubris and lessons unlearned?, Frontiers in Medicine, Vol:8, Pages:1-4

Larrouy-Maumus G, Broda A, Drobniewski F, et al., 2021, An improved method for rapid detection of Mycobacterium abscessus complex based on species-specific lipids fingerprint by routine MALDI-TOF, Frontiers in Chemistry, Vol:9, ISSN:2296-2646, Pages:1-7

Maurer FP, Shubladze N, Kalmambetova G, et al., 2021, Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tuberculosis national reference laboratory services in the WHO European Region, March to November 2020., Eurosurveillance, Vol:26, ISSN:1025-496X, Pages:1-6

Gonzalo X, Broda A, Drobniewski F, et al., 2021, Performance of lipid fingerprint-based MALDI-ToF for the diagnosis of mycobacterial infections, Clinical Microbiology and Infection, Vol:27, ISSN:1198-743X, Pages:912.e1-912.e5

Benet S, Galvez C, Drobniewski F, et al., 2021, Dissemination of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is associated to a SIGLEC1 null variant that limits antigen exchange via trafficking extracellular vesicles, Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, Vol:10, ISSN:2001-3078, Pages:1-17

Surkova E, Nikolayevskyy V, Drobniewski F, 2020, False-positive COVID-19 results: hidden problems and costs, Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Vol:8, ISSN:2213-2600, Pages:1167-1168

Nikolayevskyy V, Balabanova Y, Kontsevaya I, et al., 2020, Biomarkers of treatment success in fully sensitive pulmonary tuberculosis patients: a multicenter longitudinal study, Biomarkers in Medicine, Vol:14, ISSN:1752-0363, Pages:1439-1452

Gonzalo X, Satta G, Ortiz Canseco J, et al., 2020, Ertapenem and faropenem against mycobacterium tuberculosis: in vitro testing and comparison by macro and microdilution., BMC Microbiology, Vol:20, ISSN:1471-2180, Pages:1-7

Dara M, Ehsani S, Mozalevskis A, et al., 2020, Tuberculosis, HIV, and viral hepatitis diagnostics in eastern Europe and central Asia: high time for integrated and people-centred services, Lancet Infectious Diseases, Vol:20, ISSN:1473-3099, Pages:e47-e53

Lalor MK, Casali N, Walker TM, et al., 2018, The use of whole-genome sequencing in cluster investigation of an MDR-TB outbreak, European Respiratory Journal, Vol:51, ISSN:0903-1936

Balabanova Y, Fiebig L, Ignatyeva O, et al., 2017, Multidrug-resistant TB in Eastern region of the EU: is the shorter regimen an exception or a rule?, Thorax, Vol:72, ISSN:1468-3296, Pages:850-852

Bielecka MK, Tezera LB, Zmijan R, et al., 2017, A bioengineered three-dimensional cell culture platform integrated with microfluidics to address antimicrobial resistance in tuberculosis, MBIO, Vol:8, ISSN:2150-7511

Casali N, Broda A, Harris SR, et al., 2016, Whole Genome Sequence Analysis of a Large Isoniazid-Resistant Tuberculosis Outbreak in London: A Retrospective Observational Study, PLOS Medicine, Vol:13, ISSN:1549-1277

Papaventsis D, Casali N, Kontsevaya I, et al., 2016, Whole genome sequencing of M. tuberculosis for detection of drug resistance: a systematic review, Clinical Microbiology and Infection, Vol:23, ISSN:1469-0691, Pages:61-68

Balabanova Y, Ignatyeva O, Fiebig L, et al., 2016, Survival of patients with multidrug-resistant TB in Eastern Europe: what makes a difference?, Thorax, Vol:71, ISSN:1468-3296, Pages:854-861

Nikolayevskyy V, Kranzer K, Niemann S, et al., 2016, Whole genome sequencing of Mycobacteriumtuberculosis for detection of recent transmission and tracing outbreaks: a systematic review, Tuberculosis, Vol:98, ISSN:1873-281X, Pages:77-85

Drobniewski F, Cooke M, Jordan J, et al., 2015, Systematic review, meta-analysis and economic modelling of molecular diagnostic tests for antibiotic resistance in tuberculosis, Health Technology Assessment, Vol:19, ISSN:1366-5278

Curtis J, Luo Y, Zenner HL, et al., 2015, Susceptibility to tuberculosis is associated with variants in the ASAP1 gene encoding a regulator of dendritic cell migration, Nature Genetics, Vol:47, ISSN:1546-1718, Pages:523-527

Nikolayevskyy V, Miotto P, Pimkina E, et al., 2015, Utility of propidium monoazide viability assay as a biomarker for a tuberculosis disease, Tuberculosis, Vol:95, ISSN:1472-9792, Pages:179-185

Merker M, Blin C, Mona S, et al., 2015, Evolutionary history and global spread of the <i>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</i> Beijing lineage (vol 47, pg 242, 2015), Nature Genetics, Vol:47, ISSN:1061-4036

Miotto P, Cabibbe AM, Feuerriegel S, et al., 2014, Mycobacterium tuberculosis Pyrazinamide Resistance Determinants: a Multicenter Study, MBIO, Vol:5, ISSN:2150-7511

Walker TM, Lalor MK, Broda A, et al., 2014, Assessment of Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission in Oxfordshire, UK, 2007-12, with whole pathogen genome sequences: an observational study, The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Vol:2, ISSN:2213-2600, Pages:285-292

Casali N, Nikolayevskyy V, Balabanova Y, et al., 2014, Evolution and transmission of drug-resistant tuberculosis in a Russian population, Nature Genetics, Vol:46, ISSN:1546-1718, Pages:279-286

Drobniewski F, Nikolayevskyy V, Maxeiner H, et al., 2013, Rapid diagnostics of tuberculosis and drug resistance in the industrialized world: clinical and public health benefits and barriers to implementation, BMC Medicine, Vol:11, ISSN:1741-7015

Seddon P, Fidler K, Raman S, et al., 2013, Prevalence of Nontuberculous Mycobacteria in Cystic Fibrosis Clinics, United Kingdom, 2009, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol:19, ISSN:1080-6059, Pages:1128-1130

Coussens AK, Wilkinson RJ, Nikolayevskyy V, et al., 2013, Ethnic Variation in Inflammatory Profile in Tuberculosis, Plos Pathogens, Vol:9, ISSN:1553-7374

Gonzalo X, Drobniewski F, 2013, Is there a place for -lactams in the treatment of multidrug-resistant/extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis? Synergy between meropenem and amoxicillin/clavulanate, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Vol:68, ISSN:0305-7453, Pages:366-369

Broda A, Jebbari H, Beaton K, et al., 2013, Comparative Drug Resistance of <i>Mycobacterium abscessus</i> and <i>M</i>. <i>chelonae</i> Isolates from Patients with and without Cystic Fibrosis in the United Kingdom, Journal of Clinical Microbiology, Vol:51, ISSN:0095-1137, Pages:217-223

Coussens AK, Wilkinson RJ, Hanifa Y, et al., 2012, Vitamin D accelerates resolution of inflammatory responses during tuberculosis treatment, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:109, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:15449-15454

Balabanova Y, Radiulyte B, Davidaviciene E, et al., 2012, Risk factors for drug-resistant tuberculosis patients in Lithuania, 2002-2008, European Respiratory Journal, Vol:39, ISSN:0903-1936, Pages:1266-1269

Casali N, Nikolayevskyy V, Balabanova Y, et al., 2012, Microevolution of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis in Russia, Genome Research, Vol:22, ISSN:1088-9051, Pages:735-745

Seoudi N, Mitchell SL, Brown TJ, et al., 2012, Rapid molecular detection of tuberculosis and rifampicin drug resistance: retrospective analysis of a national UK molecular service over the last decade, Thorax, Vol:67, ISSN:0040-6376, Pages:361-367

Thye T, Owusu-Dabo E, Vannberg FO, et al., 2012, Common variants at 11p13 are associated with susceptibility to tuberculosis, Nature Genetics, Vol:44, ISSN:1061-4036, Pages:257-259

Balabanova Y, Balabanova Y, Nikolayevskyy V, et al., 2011, Survival of Civilian and Prisoner Drug-Sensitive, Multiand Extensive Drug- Resistant Tuberculosis Cohorts Prospectively Followed in Russia, PLOS One, Vol:6, ISSN:1932-6203

Martineau AR, Timms PM, Bothamley GH, et al., 2011, High-dose vitamin D<sub>3</sub> during intensive-phase antimicrobial treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis: a double-blind randomised controlled trial, The Lancet, Vol:377, ISSN:0140-6736, Pages:242-250

Balabanova Y, Radiulyte B, Davidaviciene E, et al., 2011, Survival of drug resistant tuberculosis patients in Lithuania: retrospective national cohort study, Bmj Open, Vol:1, ISSN:2044-6055

Abubakar I, Moore J, Drobniewski F, et al., 2009, Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis in the UK: 1995 to 2007, Thorax, Vol:64, ISSN:0040-6376, Pages:512-515

Wright AW, Zignol M, Van Deun A, et al., 2009, Epidemiology of antituberculosis drug resistance 2002-07: an updated analysis of the Global Project on Anti-Tuberculosis Drug Resistance Surveillance, The Lancet, Vol:373, ISSN:0140-6736, Pages:1861-1873

Nejentsev S, Thye T, Szeszko JS, et al., 2008, Analysis of association of the TIRAP (MAL) S180L variant and tuberculosis in three populations, Nature Genetics, Vol:40, ISSN:1061-4036, Pages:261-262

Szeszko JS, Healy B, Stevens H, et al., 2007, Resequencing and association analysis of the SP110 gene in adult pulmonary tuberculosis, Human Genetics, Vol:121, ISSN:0340-6717, Pages:155-160

Drobniewski F, Balabanova Y, Balabanova Y, et al., 2007, Rates of latent tuberculosis in health care staff in Russia, Plos Medicine, Vol:4, ISSN:1549-1676, Pages:0273-0279

Drobniewski FA, Hoffner S, Rusch-Gerdes S, et al., 2006, Recommended standards for modern tuberculosis laboratory services in Europe, European Respiratory Journal, Vol:28, ISSN:0903-1936, Pages:903-909

Drobniewski FA, Balabanova YM, Ruddy MC, et al., 2005, Tuberculosis, HIV seroprevalence and intravenous drug abuse in prisoners, European Respiratory Journal, Vol:26, ISSN:0903-1936, Pages:298-304

Drobniewski F, Balabanova Y, Nikolayevsky V, et al., 2005, Drug-resistant, tuberculosis, clinical virulence, and the dominance of the Beijing strain family in Russia, JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol:293, ISSN:0098-7484, Pages:2726-2731


Jackson C, Southern J, Whitworth HS, et al., 2013, DIABETES AND LATENT TUBERCULOSIS INFECTION: NESTED CASE-CONTROL STUDY WITHIN THE PREDICT COHORT, Winter Meeting of the British-Thoracic-Society, BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, Pages:A31-A32, ISSN:0040-6376

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