Senior Investigator Profile

First NameAdrian
Award StatusTerm 1
Current PostProfessor and Director
DepartmentJenner Institute, Nuffield Department of Medicine
InstitutionUniversity of Oxford
NHS TrustOxford University Hospitals NHS Trust
Region NameSouth Central
Primary Research FieldInfectious Diseases
Secondary Research FieldTropical Medicine
BiographyAdrian V.S. Hill is Professor of Human Genetics and Director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University. He leads research programmes in both the genetics of susceptibility to tropical infectious diseases and in vaccine development. Professor Hill qualified in medicine from Oxford in 1982 and was awarded a DPhil for population genetic studies of the thalassaemias in 1986. With John Clegg and Sir David Weatherall as supervisors he studied globin gene variants in the Southwest Pacific and found evidence that malaria could account for the geographic cline in prevalence of thalassaemias in Melanesia. He then returned to clinical training in London and Reading taking MRCP in 1987. With the award of a Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellowship in 1988 Professor Hill returned to the newly opened Institute of Molecular Medicine to work in Andrew McMichael’s laboratory. He studied HLA and other genetic factors in malaria susceptibility and identified protective associations with HLA types while working with Brian Greenwood at the MRC Laboratories in the Gambia. Using peptide elution and epitope mapping approaches he was able to suggest a mechanism for the HLA-B*53 association with malaria resistance, implicating CD8 T cells in protective immunity. As a founder member of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics since 1994 Professor Hill’s research group has studied multiple genetic factors associated with or genetically linked to resistance to malaria, tuberculosis, bacterial pneumonia, and viral infections such as hepatitis B, C and HIV. His group has pioneered genome-wide linkage and association analyses of genetic susceptibility to common human infectious diseases, particularly tuberculosis. This work has more recently been undertaken as part of the Wellcome Trust case control consortium. Data on immunogenetic susceptibility factors have provided new insights into the impact of infections on human genome diversity. These findings have also informed vaccine development helping Professor Hill’s group to design and develop some promising new vaccines for malaria and tuberculosis that are currently in clinical trials in developing countries. Using new immunoassays in 1996 his group identified heterologous prime-boost immunisation using non-replicating vectors as an exceptionally potent approach for inducing protective T cell responses in murine malaria. He undertook the first clinical trials of this approach and of MVA vectors from 1999 and reported T cell mediated partial protection against malaria in 2003. In 2005 he was appointed director of the Jenner Institute, a new initiative aimed at accelerating public sector vaccine development for a variety of infectious diseases. His group has recently identified improved prime-boost regimes using chimpanzee adenoviral vectors that induce CD8 T cell mediated protection against malaria in volunteers. Professor Hill currently chairs the Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility and the Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine in Oxford, where new vaccines are in clinical trials for malaria, tuberculosis, pandemic influenza, meningitis, HCV and HIV. He has published over 350 research papers, is a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

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