Paul Elkington is a clinician scientist with a subspecialty interest in tuberculosis. He delivers inpatient care on the respiratory wards and outpatient tuberculosis care, and has a broad teaching portfolio. Paul leads the tuberculosis research group, studying an infection that continues to kill four thousand people every day. The group conducts cross-disciplinary research using bioengineering approaches to identify new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to address a global epidemic that is second only to COVID-19, and has killed more humans than any other infection. In addition, Paul initiated and co-directed the Personal Respirator Southampton (PeRSo) project, providing highly efficacious and sustainable PPE during waves 1 and 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic. Paul was awarded an MBE for services to medicine in 2020.
- matrix metalloproteinase
The Southampton Tuberculosis research group studies how infection destroys the lungs and how this can lead to new diagnostic tests and treatments to combat the global pandemic. The group is highly interdisciplinary, combining engineering approaches such as bioelectrospray methodology and novel proteomic approaches. Key achievements include: identifying the enzymes that destroy the lungs in human TB; developing a biomimetic 3-dimensional cell culture model of TB; performing the most detailed proteomic profiling study of human plasma in TB and validating entirely novel diagnostic markers; demonstrating the mechanism whereby cancer immunotherapy can re-activate TB infection; identification of new host-directed therapy targets, including progressing to a successful clinical trial of doxycycline to reduce lung damage. Current active funding includes the MRC, Rosetrees Trust, PHE, NIHR and MRF, and the focus of the group centres on basic disease mechanisms and how this informs new control strategies.
Professor Elkington teaches undergraduates, postgraduates, junior doctors and allied health professionals. Examples include:
Lecturing on infection and tuberculosis for BM5 programme
Research and innovation presentations on the PeRSo project
BMedSci and MMedSci student supervision
OSCE and ACC examinations
TB teaching to FY1, FY2, IMT and specialty trainee doctors
External roles and responsibilities
Prof Elkington trained in medicine at Oxford and then worked in various London teaching hospitals, in addition to Zambia, and completed his training in respiratory and general medicine in 2007. His research into lung destruction in tuberculosis started in Jon Friedland’s group at Imperial College London with a Wellcome Trust Clinical research training fellowship (2002 – 2005), followed by a NIHR Clinician Scientist Award (2006 – 2011), and then a HEFCE Clinical Senior Lecturer Award (2011 - 2016). He moved to Southampton University in June 2012 to develop a research programme centred on the role of proteases in the pathology of pulmonary infection. With Liku Tezera, he has developed the 3D bioelectrospray model of tuberculosis, which has provided entirely novel insights into disease pathogenesis. Prof Elkington has also co-chaired the Faculty Athena SWAN committee, awarded Silver in 2015 and 2021, is lead for Organisation in the TransFoM programme, and is section head for Innate Immunity. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, he initiated and co-directed the PeRSo project, providing over 1,500 respirators to staff at Southampton General Hospital in wave 1, and over 3,500 in wave 2, all requested by staff. Prof Elkington is secretary to the Acid Fast Club, the national tuberculosis research association, and was awarded an MBE for services to Medicine in 2020.
- MBE for services to Medicine (2020)
- Royal Academy of Engineering President's Award (2020)
- Vice-Chancellor's Award (2020)
- Shine a Light Award (2020)