Dr Clarke developed his independent research career in 1999 when he was Director of the Scottish Meningococcus and Pneumococcus Reference Laboratory. His research focuses on the molecular epidemiology of Streptococcus pneumoniae and other vaccine-preventable bacterial infections, particularly in relation to polysaccharide conjugate vaccines. Dr Clarke was involved in the national meningococcal carriage study, led by Professors Martin Maiden and James Stuart, which was mainly funded by the Wellcome Trust. His laboratory led on the Scottish component of the study jointly with Health Protection Scotland. His laboratory was the first to introduce automated methods for multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) and was also the first reference laboratory in the world to introduce the method as a routine clinical service. He has since been involved in various pneumococcal and MenB carriage studies. The Southampton paediatric pneumococcal carriage study has been running for 10 years, since the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines in the UK.
In collaboration with a pharmaceutical company, Dr Clarke leads the microbiology component of a 5 year programme of work which aims to generate epidemiological data to further explore determinants of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and the contribution of bacterial and viral pathogens to Acute Exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD) episodes.
Following funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr Clarke is also the Principal Investigator of the Research Investments in Global Health (ResIn) study. This will investigate infectious disease research investments (in particular pneumonia, and maternal & neonatal infections) across the G20 countries. Co-applicants are Michael Head (University of Southampton), Dr Joseph Fitchett (Harvard School of Public Health), Professor Rifat Atun (Harvard School of Public Health), Professor Marie-Louise Newell (University of Southampton), and Professor Anthony Scott (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine).
Dr Clarke has many other international collaborations, mostly in South East Asia. In Singapore, he collaborates with Professor Martin Hibberd and Dr Swaine Chen at the A*Star Genome Institute Singapore and also with colleagues in the Department of Microbiology at the National University of Singapore where he holds an Adjunct Associate Professor position. Research in Singapore focuses on the genomic epidemiology of S. pneumoniae and the prevention of urinary tract infections via an improved understanding of biofilm-derived variation of E. coli. In Malaysia, he collaborates with Professor Shamala Devi at the University of Malaya Medical School; with Professor Victor Lim, Dr Chun Wie Chong and Dr Ivan Yap at the International Medical University; with Professor Norazmi Bin Mohd Nor at the Universiti Sains Malaysia; with Associate Professor Mohd Nasir Mohd Desa at University Putra Malaysia; with Associate Professor Zaini Mohd Zain at Universiti Teknologi MARA; with Dr Cheng Siang Tan at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak; and with Professor Chew Chieng Yeo at the Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin. Many of these collaborations are part of a Newton Fund/British Council Institutional Links award. He is a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Universiti Teknologi MARA in Kuala Lumpur.
Dr Clarke is also a partner in the Global Pneumococcal Sequencing Project. This study aims to examine the effect of the rollout of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine on pneumococcal strains escaping the vaccine in developing countries through the sequencing and comparison of whole genome sequences of the species before and after vaccination.
Clinical and Experimental Sciences Academic Units
Affiliate academic unit(s)
Infection and Immunity Research group
Dr Stuart Clarke
Molecular Microbiology and Infection Mailpoint 814, Level C, South Block, Southampton General Hospital Southampton SO16 6YD, UK Office 023 8120 6652/ Lab 023 8120 8895 S.C.Clarke@soton.ac.uk