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Cambridge Infectious Diseases

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

Studying at Cambridge


Interdisciplinary Infectious Diseases Groups and Projects

Giving your research output visible global influence.

Our members are involved in a huge variety of linked research initiatives. Below we have highlighted a selection of current pan-University interdisciplinary programmes relating to global infectious diseases research, which have garnered strategic support through Cambridge Infectious Diseases IRC, and which span multiple departments and involve collaborations with partners outside of the University.

The University of Cambridge is at the forefront of the search for systems based solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems, seeking to be a global force for positive change. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 14 million people globally die each year from infectious diseases (i.e. one-fourth of total annual deaths).  In all world sectors, infectious disease morbidity severely compromises not only the health of populations, but also impacts economic productivity and social stability. See how our researchers are improving the lives of people around the world by finding solutions to reduce the global burden of infectious diseases and improve planetary health.

  • Pathogen Biology and Evolution. Evolution is a key aspect of the biology of many pathogens, driving processes ranging from immune escape to changes in virulence.  HIV
  • Infectious Disease Dynamics. Epidemiology and Mathematical Modelling provide vital mathematical and statistical tools to study the spatial spread of epidemics in populations.  Groups working on Mathematical Modelling
  • Drugs and Vaccines. Vaccines and the discovery of new antimicrobial drugs are one of our most effective means for controlling infectious diseases.  Groups working on Drugs & Vaccines

  • Innovative Technology. Enabling innovation and access to health technologies remains a key strategy in combating infectious diseases in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Groups working on Diagnostics


Key Programmes and Groups

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Centre for Pathogen Evolution

The Pathogen Evolution Group is dedicated to research in antigenically variable pathogens and pathogen evolution, conducting research focused on improving our understanding and ability to predict pathogen evolution in humans and other animals, providing support to the World Health Organization (WHO) influenza vaccine strain selection process, and developing and distributing free high-quality software.

Current Director: Prof Derek Smith, Department of Zoology.

Centre for Pathogen Evolution Website >

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Cambridge Africa (2008- present)

Established in 2008 thru a consortia of CID members and collaborators, Cambridge-Africa is an umbrella programme at the University of Cambridge that comprises a range of proactive, coordinated, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary initiatives in Cambridge and Africa that help to strengthen research capacity and scholarship in African universities and research institutes. Current Director: Dr Caroline Trotter, Department of Veterinary Medicine 

Cambridge Africa Website>

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The Wellcome Trust - Cambridge Centre for Global Health Research (2013-2019)

The Wellcome Trust-Cambridge Centre for Global Heath Research promotes research excellence to meet global health challenges, by supporting researchers and research institutions in low and middle-income countries, through equitable collaborations and partnerships. WT-CCGHR is capitalising on the extensive basic biomedical and health-related research capacity across many departments and research institutes at the University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Sanger Institute, and using these to support research capacity building and knowledge exchange partnerships with African universities and institutes. Current Director: Prof Ian Goodfellow.

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Cambridge-Chennai Centre Partnership on Antimicrobial Resistant Tuberculosis

A multidisciplinary team of international researchers, from across a number of disciplines, will look to develop new diagnostic tools and new treatments to address the sharp rise in cases of multidrug resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB). The partnership between the University of Cambridge and the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT) in Chennai, India, will generate a rich and lasting clinical and genomic dataset. Prof Sharon Peacock, Dr Andres Floto, Prof Tom Blundell.


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Surveillance and control of zoonoses in emerging livestock systems (ZELS): South East Asia Pig and Poultry Partnership (2015-2020)

Increasing consumption of meat in developing countries, especially in SE Asia, is leading to new demands on pig and poultry supply chains and emergence of new production networks. This project will deliver interdisciplinary understanding of interactions between (1) meat production, the environment and supply practices, (2) socio-economic and export pressures, cultural understandings and perceptions of risk to humans and livestock, and (3) the infection dynamics and diversity of zoonotic infections and antimicrobial resistance determinants in these systems. Dr Dan Tucker. 

STEPS Pig Partnerships WebSite>

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Expansion of dairy farms around major urban centres in Ethiopia has created hotspots of TB infected exotic cattle. The potential for rapid spread of bTB across the cattle trade routes through amplification by the dairy farms in peri-urban areas is a real emerging danger. This multi-disciplinary research is developing control strategies for bTB in Ethiopia based on investigation and analysis of the epidemiology of the disease and its determinants through a series of interlinked social and biological science studies, encompassing the emerging livestock system, livelihood of affected farmers and available tools for bTB control. 

Ethicobots Web Site>



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Excising Infection from the Surgical environment [ExIse]

Excising Infection in the Surgical Environment [ExISE]' is a newly funded Arts and Humanities Research Council research project within the major cross UK Research Council initiative 'Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance'. The perhaps unusually interdisciplinary team of academics in infectious diseases, pathogen transmission, architecture, history and philosophy of science, fluid mechanics and history of art were brought together thru Cambridge Infectious Diseases Interdisciplinary Research Centre, and will introduce a design perspective to antimicrobial resistance research by investigating the physical environments for surgery. 

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Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease

Infectious disease, antimicrobial resistance and autoimmunity are three of humanity’s deadliest foes and a major global challenge. Cambridge is one of the world’s leading research universities, working across disciplines with international partners to find solutions to global these challenges. Many CID members are housed together at CITIID. With researchers working directly in countries throughout the globe, we have a very real understanding of the impact diseases have on patients. Many of our projects are in third world countries where socio-economic factors make the impacts of these diseases even greater.


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This is a snapshot of work being undertaken by Cambridge scientists to address the global challenge of infectious diseases. 


HIV (Credit: typographyimages via Pixabay) rabbit-2163146_960_720 Pixabay Hooker472
HIV remission achieved in second patient Darwin’s rabbit and the fightback against myxomatosis
Spanish Flu police cow Aedes mosquito 885x342

 Spanish Flu: A Warning from History

University of Cambridge researcher selected for the first ever national PhD Training Programme in Antimicrobial Resistance Deadly Rift Valley fever: new insight, and hope for the future
Ebola vaccine 25 Sep 18 885x432 Credit: NIAID Ancient dogs 05Jul18 Credit: Del Baston (courtesy of the Center for American Archeology) Cows 07Jun18 885x432

Ebola and Lassa fever targeted by new vaccine trial and improved surveillance

Ancient American dogs almost completely wiped out by arrival of European breeds

Cost and scale of field trials for bovine TB vaccine may make them unfeasible

skeleton Credit: Alexey A. Kovalev Intensive Care 13Jun18 Credit: MilitaryHealth Cystic fibrosis Hub 18 Apr18

Oldest Genetic evidence of Hepatitis B virus found in ancient DNA from 4,500 year-old skeletons

Test can identify patients in intensive care at greatest risk of life-threatening infections

New innovation hub aims to take a 'moon shot' at cystic fibrosis

BBC Pandemic 885x432 toothpaste malaria 18 Jan18 Pandemic app story 27Sep17

Citizen science experiment predicts massive toll of flu pandemic on the UK

AI 'scientist' finds that toothpaste ingredient may help fight drug-resistant malaria

App-based citizen science experiment could help researchers predict future pandemics
Plant diseases story 25Sep17 Left: CIMMYT. right: Matthew Hort. Massive projected increase in use of antimicrobials in animals could lead to widespread antimicrobial resistance in humans leprosy 23Aug17 Credit: Wellcome Library, London

Study identifies likely scenarios for global spread of devastating crop disease

Massive projected increase in use of antimicrobials in animals could lead to widespread antimicrobial resistance in humans

Leprosy turns the immune system against itself, study finds
best connected neighbours 23Jul17 Credit: Goylette Chami Weils story July 885x432 Credit: CDC Global/Evi Susanti Sinaga Infections Pregnancy 883x431 Credit: Yohann Legrand

Target ‘best connected neighbours’ to stop spread of infection in developing countries

Global teamwork brings low-cost test for Weil's disease a step closer

Infections during pregnancy may interfere with key genes associated with autism and prenatal brain development

Fruit fly and CJD lungs Ian Goodfellow Ebola

Fruit fly model of deadly brain diseases could lead to blood test for vCJD

Multi-drug resistant infection spreading globally among cystic fibrosis patients

 Call of duty: fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone

Download a copy of our brochure about the WHO CC Image credit: Fiona Morgan MRSA
Cambridge researchers support the WHO
New study sheds light on how Salmonella spreads in the body
Bacterial DNA sequence used to map an infection outbreak
121109 Fading hope credit Keoni Cabral on flickr 560x315
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Molecular sacs of debris (pink) are delivered to the lysosome (dark red)
Viruses evolve mechanism to prevent bacteria from committing suicide
Activist art reflects fight for rights of African AIDS sufferers
Autophagy: when 'self-eating' is good for you
Blood transfusion
Western methods increase cost of ‘safe blood’ in sub-Saharan Africa

Grants take Cambridge in Africa Programme to next level

Bats, Date Palms and Emerging Diseases
MRSA Salmonlla, but not as we know it
Avian flu viruses which are transmissible between humans could evolve in nature

Tracking MRSA in Real Time

Salmonella infection, but not as we know it
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New clue in the battle against Australian Hendra virus Cartographers of the infectious world

Scientists find mechanism that leads to drug resistance in bacteria causing melioidosis

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GM chickens that don’t transmit bird flu developed A Greek tragedy in health?

Invigorating plants

breast cancer Cancer Research UK LRI EM unit 560x315 110719 Genetically modified chicken credit Norrie Russell The Roslin Institute University of Edinburgh 560x315
Scientists discover how antibiotic molecule found in bacteria stops breast cancer

Field to fork: safeguarding livestock health

Modelling the root of crop disease

110603 cowsweb 560x315 110420 FluPhone credit Nickie C Stem rust close up  Yue Jin ARS US Dept of Agriculture 560x315

New strain of MRSA discovered

FluPhone: disease tracking by app

Defending crops with maths

Chars dwellers building plinths as part of the cash for work scheme credit Nick Mascie Taylor 560x315 hepbtest 560x315 428341583 402dfb2615 o crop 560x315

Out of poverty

Researcher gets green light for new Hep B test

Towards a 'super-vaccine' for swine bacterial diseases

superbug 560x315 Salmonella credit Vassilis Koronakis 560x315 retrovirus hires 560x315

Scientists make new discoveries in battle with superbug

Completing the jigsaw: multidrug resistance in bacteria

What Darwin didn't know: viruses and evolution

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Trachoma testing in a Masai tribe community Copyright We 1 560x315

Unravelling the secrets of Salmonella infection

From pandemic to policy: combating swine flu

Two worlds, same needs, one solution

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Shielding children from HIV

Schools get valuable lesson on disease dynamics

Parasites: the master manipulators