I am interested in understanding how the genetics of the host influence susceptibility to infectious and inflammatory disease.
The main focus of this work has been the diverse diseases caused the human-restricted bacterial pathogen, Streptococcus pyogenes, which is also known as the Group A streptococcus. These include not only common superficial infections, such as pharyngitis and impetigo, but also invasive infections, such as necrotising fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock, and post-infective sequelae, such as rheumatic heart disease and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis. Together these diseases account for an estimated 0.5 million deaths each year worldwide and yet at present there is no licensed S. pyogenes vaccine.
Building on my earlier work on susceptibility to rheumatic heart disease, I am now focussed on understanding how complex genetic regions such as the immunoglobulin gene loci influence acquisition of antibody-mediated immunity. My strategy involves using a combination of array genotyping and short-read sequencing alongside more targeted long-read approaches. In the longer term, I expect to be able to exploit these approaches to assist development of much needed vaccines and therapeutics to combat disease caused by a wide range of infectious agents.
et al., 2020, A novel framework for characterizing genomic haplotype diversity in the human immunoglobulin heavy chain locus, Frontiers in Immunology, Vol:11, ISSN:1664-3224
et al., 2020, The human leukocyte antigen locus and rheumatic heart disease susceptibility in South Asians and Europeans, Scientific Reports, Vol:10, ISSN:2045-2322
et al., 2020, Elevated risk of invasive group a streptococcal disease and host genetic variation in the human leukocyte antigen locus, Genes and Immunity, Vol:21, ISSN:1466-4879, Pages:63-70
et al., 2019, Neglecting the neglected: the objective evidence of underfunding in rheumatic heart disease, Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Vol:113, ISSN:0035-9203, Pages:287-290
et al., 2018, Polyspecific intravenous immunoglobulin in clindamycin-treated patients with streptococcal toxic shock syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis., Clinical Infectious Diseases, Vol:67, ISSN:1058-4838, Pages:1434-1436
et al., 2017, Association between a common immunoglobulin heavy chain allele and rheumatic heart disease risk in Oceania, Nature Communications, Vol:8, ISSN:2041-1723, Pages:1-10
et al., 2015, Rheumatic heart disease-attributable mortality at ages 5-69 years in Fiji: a five-year, national, population-based record-linkage cohort study, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Vol:9, ISSN:1935-2727, Pages:1-14
et al., 2009, Underdiagnosis of acute rheumatic fever in primary care settings in a developing country, Tropical Medicine & International Health, Vol:14, ISSN:1360-2276, Pages:1407-1413