Funding

Infection and immunity remit and scope

The Infections and Immunity Board (IIB) funds research into infectious human disease and disorders of the human immune system. This is underpinned by fundamental research into human pathogens, as well as the normal development and functioning of the human immune system.

Across our diverse portfolio, we encourage:

  • Discovery research and early stage development, which includes biomarker identification, in silico systems, structural biology, animal models and early studies in humans.
  • Population-level research, using mathematical, epidemiological, genetic and genomic designs, to elucidate disease risks, aetiologies and progression, and to understand the evolution of pathogen populations.
  • Research to inform novel strategies for preventing and controlling infectious and immune disease control, including research on human behaviour and lifestyle.

Broadly, our portfolio is broken down as follows:

Infections

We fund basic, clinical and translational research into pathogens implicated in human infectious diseases. This includes understanding of the pathogen at the molecular and cellular level through to host pathogen interactions and into epidemiology of infectious diseases. We are also keen to fund research to inform novel strategies for preventing and controlling infectious and immune disease control, including research on human behaviour and lifestyle.

In brief, we fund research into:

  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Parasites
  • Zoonoses
  • Model infectious agents
  • Vectors of infectious agents

We have a rich environment of funding through projects and programmes, centres and units and Institutes in the UK, but recognise that infectious disease is a global problem. We therefore work closely with international partners for example, contributing to funding the International Severe Acute Respiratory Infections Consortium (ISARIC) and are the UK lead on a European Union funded Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance.

Immunology in health and disease

Unravelling the complexities of the human immune system in health and disease forms a key element of our strategic mission. We cover all aspects of research relevant to the immune system in health and disease.

Understanding the immune system is key to tackling many immunological and inflammatory diseases, but it also offers potential to fight and prevent infectious and even some non-infectious diseases. We need to understand how the immune system operates throughout the entire human life course and take a multi-level, systems approach to understanding its complexity. This encompasses:

  • Human immunology, including studies in humans and informative models
  • Molecular, cellular and systems immunology
  • Mechanisms of susceptibility and immunity
  • Inflammation at the cellular level
  • Immune tolerance and rejection
  • Pathogenesis, resistance and physiology

We are also working with colleagues on the Neurosciences and Mental Health Board to develop our neuroinflammation portfolio by bringing early career investigators together to identify themes for collaboration.

Global infections

Infectious diseases such as malaria, TB and HIV remain some of the biggest killers in poor regions across the world. We fund high quality, innovative, translational global health research to addresses the inequalities in health which arise in these poorly resourced countries. We also aim to increase our fundamental understanding of these big three killers as well as other, neglected tropical diseases.

  • UK-led basic and translational lab research on tropical pathogens.
  • Basic, aetiological and exploratory research relevant to important disease pathogens of developing countries, particularly TB, HIV and malaria.
  • Epidemiology, aetiology, biomarker, genomic epidemiology, vector control research and clinical studies of infections in developing countries
  • Neglected tropical diseases, emerging infections and zoonoses.

While continuing to support research tackling the major infections, HIV, TB and malaria, we encourage high quality, innovative, translational research in the neglected tropical diseases, including zoonoses and emerging human infections, which have major impact on the health and wellbeing of populations in resource poor settings.

Science contacts

If you have a query about scientific aspects of your research proposal, please contact the programme manager shown below against your scientific area:

Programme Manager for immunology

Dr Martin Broadstock - martin.broadstock@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk

Scientific patch

  • UK and global health research in lower- and middle-income countries in immunology
  • Host response to pathogens
  • Vaccine research
  • Normal immunology: including cellular and molecular immunology & inflammation – basic mechanisms, cellular and molecular inflammation
  • Immune disease: including allergy (except asthma and other organ based disorders), transplantation immunology, systemic immune disorders & auto-immune disease

Programme Manager for parasites and arbovirus

Dr Morven Roberts - morven.roberts@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk

Scientific patch

  • Parasites e.g. Malaria,
  • Neglected tropical diseases NTDs e.g. leishmanaisis, trypanosomiasis
  • Arboviruses; zika, yellow fever
  • Human vector borne diseases and research into vector control of human infections
  • Snakebite / podoconiosis
  • Contact for MRC Units in Africa 

Programme Manager for bacterial infections

Dr Jessica Boname - jessica.boname@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk

Scientific patch

  • UK and global health research in lower- and middle-income countries in bacterial infections
  • Basic, applied and translational research into bacteriology
  • Transmission and control of infectious agents
  • Clinical infection
  • Healthcare acquired infections
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Sexual health
  • UKCRC translational infection research initiative
  • Bacterial diseases relevant to developing countries

Programme Manager for Viral and Fungal Infections

Dr Anna Kinsey – anna.kinsey@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk

Scientific patch

  • UK and global health research in lower- and middle-income countries in fungal infections.
  • UK and global health research in lower- and middle-income countries in viral infections (not arboviruses) including:
    • Influenza,
    • Hepatitis viruses
    • HIV
    • Haemorrhagic fever viruses (including Lassa, CCHF, Ebola and Marburg)
    • Coronaviruses (such as MERS-CoV)
    • Henipaviruses (such as Nipah)
  • Pandemic preparedness

Programme Manager for methodology and clinical research

Dr Samuel Rowley - samuel.rowley@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk

Head of Infections & Immunity

(Senior contact for African Units)

Dr Jonathan Pearce - jonathan.pearce@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk