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Professor Robert Charles Read MD FRCP MBChB BMedSci FIDSA FESCMID

Professor of Infectious Diseases, Director, Southampton NIHR Biomedical Research Centre,Honorary Consultant Physician to Southampton University Hospitals

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Professor Robert Charles Read is Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Southampton, and Director of the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research centre.

Robert trained in Medicine at the University of Sheffield, UK and completed his Doctorate Degree at Imperial College London, UK. He is Professor of Infectious Diseases and Honorary Consultant Physician in Infectious Diseases at University Hospital Southampton, and is Director of the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre. Robert trained in Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine in various posts in Leeds, Bristol, London and Nottingham, at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, and at the Division of Infectious Diseases, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) at San Francisco General Hospital, USA. He was previously Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Sheffield before moving to Southampton in 2012.

His research interests include the pathogenesis and prevention of infections arising within or involving the respiratory tract. He has a major interest in the use of controlled human infection to investigate pathogenesis, immunology and prevention of upper respiratory tract colonization by pathogens.

Professor Read is a full member of the UK Joint Committee for Vaccines and Immunisation (JCVI). He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Infection, and Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases. He is an NIHR Senior Investigator.

He  previously had a leadership role as Head of School of Clinical & Experimental Sciences, University of Southampton (2014-2019). Nationally he was Chair of the Infectious Disease and Clinical Microbiology NIHR Clinical Research Network and Chaired the Postdoctoral Awards panel for the NIHR Trainee Coordinating Centre (2010-2015). Internationally, he was a member of Council of the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (2005-2012), and chaired the Program Committee of the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) (2013). He has been an appointed member of expert advisory groups for the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, the UK Department of Health and the European Medicines Agency.



Read and colleagues conduct research to investigate pathogenesis, treatment and prevention of lethal infections; most notably meningococcal disease and  whooping cough.

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.

PhD supervision

I currently supervise 4 PhD students and have previously supervised 27 PhD students and 3 MD students.

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 2003-2004


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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 Leanne Palmer Administrative Officer Room LC68, C Level, South Block or

Room Number : SGH/LC68/MP815

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