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The University of Southampton

Professor Robert Charles Read 

Head of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, Professor of Infectious Diseases,Honorary Consultant Physician to Southampton University Hospitals

Professor Robert Charles Read's photo

Professor Robert Charles Read is Head of Clinical and Experimental Sciences within Medicine at the University of Southampton, and Director of the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research centre.

Professor Robert Read undertook clinical and research training in Sheffield, Leeds, Bristol, London, Nottingham and San Francisco. He was appointed as an academic infectious disease physician at the University of Sheffield in 1995 and served as Professor of Infectious Diseases there from 2002-2012, prior to moving to Southampton in September 2012.

Professor Read has research interests in the pathogenesis and prevention of rapidly lethal infectious diseases, especially meningococcal and pneumococcal disease, and influenza. He is an NIHR Senior Investigator.

He was the chairman of the Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Specialty Group (2007-2012) for the NIHR clinical research network, and also Chaired (2009-2016) the postdoctoral awards panel for the NIHR Personal Training Fellowships scheme. He was chairman of the 2013 Annual Meeting Program Committee of the Infectious Disease Society of America.

He was appointed as member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in September 2013.

He is Editor in Chief of the Journal of Infection and Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases, and is author and co-author of 200 publications mainly in the field of infectious diseases.


Professor of Infectious Diseases University of Sheffield (1995-2012)
Peel Medical Research Trust Travelling Fellow San Francisco General Hospital (1994-1995)
Senior Registrar in Medicine and Infectious Diseases to the Nottingham and Sheffield Hospitals UK (1991-1994)
Research Fellow, Hon. Registrar, National Heart and Lung Institute, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, (1988-1991)
Registrar in Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Northwick Park Hospital and Clinical Research Centre, Harrow, (1986-1988)
Registrar in Medicine Bristol Royal Infirmary (1983-1985)
Senior House Officer in Medicine, Leeds Teaching Hospitals (1983-1985)
Pre-Registration House Officer, Royal Hallamshire Hospital Sheffield (1982-1983)

Read and colleagues conduct research to investigate pathogenesis, treatment and prevention of rapidly lethal infections; notably meningococcal disease and influenza.

Successful colonisation of the mucosa of the upper respiratory tract is a prerequisite for disease and transmission of pathogens between human hosts. The focus of Reads group is on host and microbial factors that permit colonisation and disease. A number of models have been developed including human tissue and cell culture systems as well as human controlled infection to enable this.

Human primary macrophages and respiratory mucosa are used to understand molecular pathogenesis
Figure 1

Bacterial pathogenesis is investigated using defined mutations to determine the effect of individual bacterial elements on processing by host phagocytes and epithelial cells. Hitherto this has been done in cell culture systems including human monocyte-derived primary macrophages.

Recent work has focussed on the use of controlled human infections, notably with Neisseria lactamica to determine how this organism interferes with colonisation and invasion by the pathogen Neisseria meningitidis. He also pioneered controlled human infection with Bordetella pertussis.

Human controlled infections are used to investigate natural colonisation and immunity
Figure 2

Read has conducted a number of important (investigator-initiated) clinical observational studies and clinical trials. Some of these have been national and international networked studies including those which use the UK NIHR Clinical Research Network and its sub group for Infectious Disease and Clinical Microbiology, which Read chairs. Important work has included original studies on the effects of vaccination with sub capsular Neisseria meningitidis vaccines on microbial colonisation, and observational studies of influenza and its prevention.

Research group

Clinical and Experimental Sciences

Affiliate research group

Infection and Immunity Research group


  • Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Infection, 2005-current
  • Editor-in-Chief Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases, 2011-current 
  • Chair, Infectious Diseases Society of America Annual Program Commitee 2013
  • Executive Member and Working Group Co-Chair, International Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Consortium, 2012-current
  • Member, Committee for Human Medicinal Products (CHMP) Scientific Advisory Group in Anti-infectives (European Medicines Agency) 2011-current
  • Member, Joint ERS/ESCMID Guidelines Writing Committee, Hospital-Acquired Respiratory Tract infections 2013-current
  • Member, ESCMID Guidelines Committee, Treatment of Meningitis
  • Scientific Affairs Officer, Chairman Scientific Affairs Committee, Executive member, European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) 2009-2012
  • Professional Affairs Officer, Chairman Professional Affairs Committee, European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID). 2005-2009
  • Member, Programme Committee European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 2004-2011
  • Member, WHO SARS Emergency Clinical Response Group 2003-2004 (Department of Health Representative)


  • Member, Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) 2013-current
  • Chair, National Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology Specialty Group, NIHR Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre 2009-2013
  • Chairman, Personal Awards Scheme, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) (Postdoctoral Fellowships) Trainees Coordinating Centre 2008-2016
  • Member, Scientific Pandemic Influenza Advisory Committee (SPI) 2009-2012
  • Member, Department of Health Influenza Clinical Information Network (FLU-CIN) 2009-2011
    Member , Chief Medical Officers Working Group, Pandemic Influenza, 2005-2009
  • Member, Department of Health Pandemic Influenza Contingency Plan Clinical Management Guidelines Development Group, 2005-2009
  • Member, DH Expert Advisory Group HIV and Infectious Diseases (MHRA) 2006-current
  • Member, DH Expert Advisory Group, Biologicals and Vaccines, Commission on Human Medicines, 2007-2013
  • Member, British Thoracic Society Community Acquired Pneumonia Guidelines Writing Committee, 2007-current
  • External Examiner, Cardiff MBChB (2005-2010), Swansea MBChB, 2006-current, Nottingham BMedSci, 2006-2009.
  • External Examiner PhD/MD, various
  • Clinical Lead; UK SARS Taskforce, Health Protection Agency 2003-current


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Professor Read teaches Infectious Disease and Clinical Microbiology to undergraduates and postgraduate clinicians, and supervises PhD and MSc students.

Professor Robert Charles Read
Faculty of Medicine University of Southampton Southampton General Hospital Mailpoint 814 South Academic Block Tremona Road Southampton SO16 6YD PA Cindy Phillips Senior Faculty Administrative Officer Room LC68, C Level, South Block Southampton General Hospital Tremona Road Southampton SO16 6YD

Tel: 023 81206455

Room Number: SGH/LC68/MP815

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