I am a Clinical Reader in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London. I hold honorary consultant positions at St Mary’s Hospital (Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust), and at the Royal Brompton Hospital.
Following an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Oxford, and a PhD in human immunogenetics at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, I undertook medical training at UCL in London. I have worked as a clinician scientist at Imperial College since 2008. My research in the Paediatric Infectious Diseases Research Group, which was awarded the Imperial College President’s Medal and President’s Award for Outstanding Research Team 2019, focuses on the discovery and clinical translation of biomarkers in children’s infectious and inflammatory illness – encompassing both genetic markers that explain predisposition to severe illness, and markers that can be used to diagnose different types of febrile illness.
I am the deputy coordinator of the European Union Horizon project, DIAMONDS (www.diamonds2020.eu). Host gene expression in different infection and inflammatory states can offer insights which may open the door to new therapies and diagnostic approaches. The DIAMONDS study aims to translate diagnostic signatures of host transcripts onto clinically useful test platforms, that can enable rapid, accurate, multi-class diagnosis of febrile illness. Currently, I am running the DIAMONDS Pilot Demonstration: this clinical observational study is recruiting patients at 7 sites in Europe for diagnostic testing using a novel multi-class diagnostic test based on 40 host transcripts. We are assessing its accuracy, and feasibility of using host-transcript tests for diagnosis, and its potential impact on patient care.
I collaborate with Pantelis Georgiou and colleagues from the Faculty of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Imperial College, to explore new technologies for rapid, accurate and cheap quantitation of host transcripts in blood. This includes lab-on-chip work approaches, based on CMOS technology, and frugal approaches using lateral flow technology.
I lead clinical recruitment in INGENIOS, a collaboration with Dr Vanessa Sancho-Shimizu, in which we are investigating genetic predisposition to severe infection in children who present with severe or unusual infection, through use of exome sequencing of family trios, and targeted functional immunology assays.
My clinical interests cover the range of specialist paediatric infectious disease problems, with a particular interest in Kawasaki disease, for which I am the clinical lead. I am the PI for the KD-CAAP study at St Mary's Hospital, which is comparing first-line Kawasaki disease treatment with and without adjunctive steroids.
At Imperial College, I represent paediatrics at the Imperial College Clinical Academic Training Office (CATO) committee, and I am co-lead of the paediatric infectious disease module in the Applied Paediatrics MSc course (www.imperial.ac.uk/study/courses/postgraduate-taught/applied-paediatrics). Other activities include the RCPCH Genomics Working Group, the ESPID Committee for Research, UK Steering Group on Kawasaki disease, and grant assessment panels for the Rosetrees Trust.
et al., 2024, Plasma Protein Biomarkers Distinguish Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children From Other Pediatric Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases., Pediatr Infect Dis J
et al., 2024, Whole-blood gene expression profile after hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, Jama Network Open, Vol:7, ISSN:2574-3805
Ivaska L, Herberg J, Sadarangani M, 2024, Distinguishing community-acquired bacterial and viral meningitis: Microbes and biomarkers., J Infect
et al., 2024, Which low urgent triaged febrile children are suitable for a fast track? An observational European study., Emerg Med J
et al., 2023, External validation of a multivariable prediction model for identification of pneumonia and other serious bacterial infections in febrile immunocompromised children, Archives of Disease in Childhood, Vol:109, ISSN:0003-9888, Pages:59-66