I was born in Cambridge, but grew up in Liverpool, Washington DC and Istanbul/Ankara before returning to the UK to read for my BSc in Microbiology at the University of Leicester, where I was also awarded my PhD in Immunology in 1996 on the role of CD4 T cell recirculation and adhesion in chronic inflammatory disease. I continued along the theme of host adhesion molecule expression during inflammation in my first postdoctoral position at the Hammersmith Hospital Imperial College London before moving back to the University of Leicester to start working on host immune responses to pneumococcal colonisation and invasive disease. I was promoted to Lecturer in Respiratory Infection in 2005, then Reader in 2009. I finally returned to Liverpool as Professor of Bacterial Pathogenesis in 2011 at the Institute of Infection & Global Health.
My primary area of expertise is pathogenesis of Streptococcus pneumoniae and the interplay between bacterial virulence and cellular innate and adaptive immunity. These research interests have more recently been expanded to include Streptococcus pyogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. In our group we have developed clinically relevant mouse models of respiratory and systemic infection to elucidate mechanistic understanding of the disease processes involved and the host immune responses to infection. As part of these efforts, we also have research projects on the development of novel anti-bacterial therapeutics and new generation vaccines through the Liverpool Centre for Global Vaccine Research. Our most recent publications in these areas have been in Nature Biotechnology, Nature Communications, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and PLoS Pathogens amongst others. Our research is funded by MRC Programme and MRC DPFS grants, JPI-AMR funding, the Wellcome Trust and by Meningitis Now as well as by industrial partners including GSK and Roche.