Imperial College London

Dr John S Tregoning

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Infectious Disease

Professor in Vaccine Immunology



john.tregoning Website




456 (Shattock Group)Wright Fleming WingSt Mary's Campus





My lab researches the immune response to vaccines, in order to prevent respiratory infections.

Every breath we take, we inhale a vast array of bacteria, viruses and fungi and yet we do not get infected every time we breath in. My group aims to understand what prevents symptomatic respiratory infections, focussing on the immune response.Infectious Cover

To answer why we get infected, we have developed a range of in vivo and in vitro models of infection and vaccination in early life, including RSV, Influenza, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Acinetobacter baumannii and non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (ntHi).

I did my Post-Doc at Imperial College with Prof Peter Openshaw, working on RSV. For my PhD I worked on the development of a tetanus vaccine expressed in the chloroplasts of transgenic tobacco plants in the labs of Professors Peter Nixon and Gordon Dougan, also at Imperial College. I studied genetics at Downing College, University of Cambridge.

Science communication

As well as working on the immune response to vaccines, I write about science. I have written a popular science book: Infectious

I blog about science and academic careers. I have written for Nature, Science, Times Higher Education and The Guardian.

During the COVID19 lockdown, I wrote a weekly diary for the Nature Career Column.

I have been interviewed by Bloomberg, BBC Radio London, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC BreakfastBBC online, The Independent, The TelegraphThe Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Mail and CGTN.

Contract research

I have experience of working with biotech companies to perform pre-clinical assessment of vaccines to RSV and influenza. This uses our well established infection models and we are open to further collaborations. We are open for new collaborations.

Members of Group

David Stirling, PhD Student working on DNA vaccines with Touchlight Genetics

Ziyin Wang, PhD Student working on sickness behaviours after lung infection

Hadi Sallah, PhD Student working on vaccine formulation with AqDot

Lucy Mosscrop, PhD Student working on RSV F protein evolution

Rob Cunliffe, PostDoc working on DNA vaccines

Chubicka Thomas, PostDoc working on RSV

Maya Valarmathy, PostDoc working on humanised antibodies

Sophie Higham, PostDoc working on antibacterial vaccines


Dr Jacqueline McDonald (RA), worked on signatures of Vaccine safety

Dr Adam Walters (RA), worked on DNA vaccine constructs

Dr Laura Lambert (RA), worked on RNA vaccines

Dr Alex Badamchi Zadeh (PhD Student), co-supervised with Robin Shattock

Dr Matthew Siggins (RA), worked on ntHi vaccines

Dr Ryan Russell (PhD Student), worked on Novel adjuvants

Dr Simren Gill (PhD and Fellowship), worked on Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Ms Miko Zhong (MPhil), worked on neonatal immune response

Dr Katya Kinnear (PhD and Post Doc), worked on DNA vaccines with Touchlight Genetics

Ms Victoria Gould (RA), worked on IgA response to influenza

Dr Charanjit Singh (RA), worked on Ciliate derived vaccines

Dr Helen Groves (PhD student), worked on effect of infection on microbiome

Dr David Busse (PhD student), worked on ISG function in RSV

Dr Jonny Brown, (Post-Doc) worked on anti-viral vaccines

Miss Felicity Zhang (RT) worked on RSV clinical isolates

Miss Emily Brown developed new drugs targeting bacterial glucose uptake

Miss Katie Flight (RT) worked on CEPI RNA vaccine project (co-supervised by Robin Shattock)

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Tregoning J, 2023, How Dark Souls and Darth Revan helped me to make sense of my professorship., Nature

Tregoning J, 2021, Coronavirus diaries: the COVID 19., Nature

Tregoning JS, 2020, First human efficacy study of a plant-derived influenza vaccine, The Lancet, Vol:396, ISSN:0140-6736, Pages:1464-1465

Tregoning JS, Brown ES, Cheeseman HM, et al., 2020, Vaccines for COVID-19, Clinical and Experimental Immunology, Vol:202, ISSN:0009-9104, Pages:162-192

Tregoning J, 2020, Coronavirus diaries: to be a scientist, Nature, Vol:581, ISSN:0028-0836, Pages:226-226

Turner P, Abdulla AF, Cole M, et al., 2019, Differences in nasal IgA responses to influenza vaccine strains after Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV) immunisation in children, Clinical and Experimental Immunology, Vol:199, ISSN:0009-9104, Pages:109-118

Lindsey BB, Jagne YJ, Armitage EP, et al., 2019, Effect of a Russian-backbone live-attenuated influenza vaccine with an updated pandemic H1N1 strain on shedding and immunogenicity among children in The Gambia: an open-label, observational, phase 4 study, Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Vol:7, ISSN:2213-2600, Pages:665-676

Tregoning JS, Mallia P, 2019, Modulating airway glucose to reduce respiratory infections, Expert Review of Respiratory Medicine, Vol:13, ISSN:1747-6348, Pages:121-124

Tregoning JS, Mallia P, Webber J, et al., 2018, Role of airway glucose in bacterial infections in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Vol:142, ISSN:0091-6749, Pages:815-823.e6

Tregoning J, 2018, How will you judge me if not by impact factor?, Nature, Vol:558, ISSN:0028-0836, Pages:345-345

Groves HT, Cuthbertson L, James P, et al., 2018, Respiratory Disease following Viral Lung Infection Alters the Murine Gut Microbiota, Frontiers in Immunology, Vol:9, ISSN:1664-3224

Groves HT, McDonald JU, Langat P, et al., 2018, Mouse Models of Influenza Infection with Circulating Strains to Test Seasonal Vaccine Efficacy, Frontiers in Immunology, Vol:9, ISSN:1664-3224

Tregoning J, 2018, From parade ground to PI., Science, Vol:359, Pages:362-362

Vogel AB, Lambert L, Kinnear E, et al., 2017, Self-Amplifying RNA Vaccines Give Equivalent Protection against Influenza to mRNA Vaccines but at Much Lower Doses., Molecular Therapy, Vol:26, ISSN:1525-0016, Pages:446-455

Kinnear E, Lambert L, McDonald JU, et al., 2017, Airway T cells protect against RSV infection in the absence of antibody, Mucosal Immunology, Vol:11, ISSN:1933-0219, Pages:249-256

Gould VMW, Francis JN, Anderson KJ, et al., 2017, Nasal IgA provides protection against human influenza challenge in volunteers with low serum influenza antibody titre, Frontiers in Microbiology, Vol:8, ISSN:1664-302X

McDonald JU, Zhong Z, Groves HT, et al., 2017, Inflammatory responses to influenza vaccination at the extremes of age., Immunology, Vol:151, ISSN:0019-2805, Pages:451-463

Tregoning J, 2017, No researcher is too junior to fix science, Nature, Vol:545, ISSN:0028-0836, Pages:7-7

Mcdonald J, Kaforou M, Clare S, et al., 2016, A Simple Screening Approach To Prioritize Genes for Functional Analysis Identifies a Role for Interferon Regulatory Factor 7 in the Control of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Disease, Msystems, Vol:1, ISSN:2379-5077

Gill SK, Hui K, Farne H, et al., 2016, Increased airway glucose increases airway bacterial load in hyperglycaemia, Scientific Reports, Vol:6, ISSN:2045-2322

Russell RF, McDonald JU, Lambert L, et al., 2016, Use of the microparticle Nano-SiO2 as an adjuvant to boost vaccine immune responses in neonatal mice against influenza., Journal of Virology, Vol:90, ISSN:1098-5514, Pages:4735-4744

Siggins MK, Gill SK, Langford PR, et al., 2015, PHiD-CV induces anti-Protein D antibodies but does not augment pulmonary clearance of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae in mice, Vaccine, Vol:33, ISSN:1873-2518, Pages:4954-4961

Kinnear E, Caproni LJ, Tregoning JS, 2015, A Comparison of Red Fluorescent Proteins to Model DNA Vaccine Expression by Whole Animal In Vivo Imaging, PLOS One, Vol:10, ISSN:1932-6203

Russell RF, McDonald JU, Ivanova M, et al., 2015, Partialattenuation of respiratory syncytial virus with a deletion of a small hydrophobic gene Is associated with elevated interleukin-1β responses, Journal of Virology, Vol:89, ISSN:1098-5514, Pages:8974-8981

Walters AA, Kinnear E, Shattock RJ, et al., 2014, Comparative analysis of enzymatically produced novel linear DNA constructs with plasmids for use as DNA vaccines, Gene Therapy, Vol:21, ISSN:1476-5462, Pages:645-652

Tregoning JS, Wang BL, McDonald JU, et al., 2013, Neonatal antibody responses are attenuated by interferon-γ produced by NK and T cells during RSV infection, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:110, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:5576-5581


Tregoning JS, Kinnear E, 2014, Using Plasmids as DNA Vaccines for Infectious Diseases., Plasmids: Biology and Impact in Biotechnology and Discovery, ASMscience, ISBN:9781555818975

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