Dr Thushan de Silva FRCP (Glasg) FRCPath DTM&H PhD

Honorary Senior Clinical LecturerDr Thushan de Silva

Department of Infection, Immunity & Cardiovascular Disease
University of Sheffield
Medical School
Beech Hill Road
S10 2RX

Tel: +44 (0)114 215 9522
Email: t.desilva@sheffield.ac.uk


I am a clinician scientist and Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellow, currently based at the MRC Unit The Gambia as a Principal Investigator in the Vaccines and Immunity Theme. I am also an Honorary Consultant Physician in Infectious Diseases at Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

I completed my undergraduate medical training at the University of Bristol in 2000. Following postgraduate clinical training in General Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases and HIV in Oxford and London, I moved to Sheffield for higher specialist training in Infectious Diseases & Microbiology in 2004. I was awarded a British Infection Society Research Fellowship (2007-8), followed by an MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship (2008 – 11) under the supervision of Professor Sarah Rowland-Jones (Oxford) and Professor Robin Weiss (UCL) to study the pathogenesis of HIV-2 infection and molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 and HIV-2, based primarily at the MRC Unit The Gambia.

I joined the University of Sheffield in 2013 as an NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in Infectious Diseases & Microbiology and was awarded an Academy of Medical Sciences starter grant to undertake pilot studies of live attenuated influenza vaccination (LAIV) in adult volunteers. Data generated during these lead to the successful award of a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellowship in 2016 to be undertaken between Imperial College London, MRC Unit The Gambia and the University of Sheffield.

Research Interests:

Working with human cohorts, my primary interest is the study of anti-viral immune responses in the context of both vaccination and natural infection. Building on skills gained during my PhD, which focused on HIV-specific humoral and T-cell correlates of protection from disease progression in HIV-2 infection, the focus of my current research is the detailed mucosal and systemic immunogenicity of live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) in Gambian children using a systems vaccinology approach, including interactions with the host nasopharyngeal microbiome. To achieve the aims of this project, I have successfully set up a pipeline from field to bench at the MRC Gambia to using multi-parameter flow cytometry, ELISA, RT-PCR for respiratory viruses, as well as processing samples for microbiome sequencing and RNAseq.

Extending my work on immune responses in immunosuppressed hosts, I am also interested in vaccine responses in Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant patients.

Teaching Interests:

I am co-organiser of the Sheffield Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (DTM&H) course that prepares candidates to sit the Royal College of Physicians DTM&H examination. When based in Sheffield, I am involved in delivering the undergraduate (MBChB) Infectious Diseases, Tropical Medicine and Microbiology curriculum at the University of Sheffield.

Professional Activities:

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
  • Member of the British HIV Association, British Infection Association and the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

Current Projects:

  1. Immunogenicity of intranasal live attenuated influenza vaccination (LAIV) and bidirectional interactions with the host microbiome in Gambian children (Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellowship 2016 – 2020).
  2. Nasopharyngeal virome sequencing to determine the impact of respiratory viral interference with live attenuated influenza vaccine immunogenicity in Gambian children (Global Health Seed Grant, Imperial College London, 2017).
  3. Analysis of the immune response to Fendrix (an MPL-adjuvanted vaccine) as compared to double-dose Engerix B in HIV-infected non-responders to standard Hepatitis B vaccination courses (British HIV Association Research Award 2013).


  1. Fryer HR, van Tienen C, van der Loeff MS, Aaby P, da Silva ZJ, Whittle H, Rowland-Jones SL & de Silva TI (2015) Predicting the extinction of HIV-2 in rural Guinea-Bissau. AIDS.
  2. Jayasooriya S, de Silva TI, Njie-jobe J, Sanyang C, Leese AM, Bell AI, McAulay KA, Yanchun P, Long HM, Dong T, Whittle HC, Rickinson AB, Rowland-Jones SL, Hislop AD & Flanagan KL (2015) Early Virological and Immunological Events in Asymptomatic Epstein-Barr Virus Infection in African Children. PLoS Pathogens, 11(3), 1-18.
  3. de Silva TI, Peng Y, Leligdowicz A, Zaidi I, Li L, Griffin H, Blais ME, Vincent T, Saraiva M, Yindom LM, van Tienen C, Easterbrook P, Jaye A, Whittle H, Dong T & Rowland-Jones SL (2013) Correlates of T-cell-mediated viral control and phenotype of CD8(+) T cells in HIV-2, a naturally contained human retroviral infection. Blood, 121(21), 4330-4339.
  4. de Silva TI, van Tienen C, Onyango C, Jabang A, Vincent T, Loeff MF, Coutinho RA, Jaye A, Rowland-Jones S, Whittle H, Cotten M & Hué S (2013) Population dynamics of HIV-2 in rural West Africa: comparison with HIV-1 and ongoing transmission at the heart of the epidemic. AIDS, 27(1), 125-134.
  5. de Silva TI, Aasa-Chapman M, Cotten M, Hue S, Robinson J, Bibollet-Ruche F, Sarge-Njie R, Berry N, Jaye A, Aaby P, Whittle H, Rowland-Jones S & Weiss R (2012) Potent Autologous and Heterologous Neutralizing Antibody Responses Occur in HIV-2 Infection across a Broad Range of Infection Outcomes. Journal of Virology, 86(2), 930-946.
  6. van Tienen C, de Silva TI, Alcantara LC, Onyango CO, Jarju S, Gonçalves N, Vincent T, Aaby P, Whittle H, Schim van der Loeff M & Cotten M (2012) Molecular epidemiology of endemic human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 in a rural community in Guinea-Bissau. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 6(6), e1690.
  7. van Tienen C, McConkey SJ, de Silva TI, Cotten M, Kaye S, Sarge-Njie R, da Costa C, Gonçalves N, Parker J, Vincent T, Jaye A, Aaby P, Whittle H & Schim van der Loeff M (2012) Maternal proviral load and vertical transmission of human T cell lymphotropic virus type 1 in Guinea-Bissau. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses, 28(6), 584-590.
  8. de Silva T, Leligdowicz A & Rowland-Jones S (2012) Effect of HIV-2 infection on HIV-1 disease progression. N Engl J Med, 367(20), 1961-1962.
  9. Daigneault M, De Silva TI, Bewley MA, Preston JA, Marriott HM, Mitchell AM, Mitchell TJ, Read RC, Whyte MK & Dockrell DH (2012) Monocytes regulate the mechanism of T-cell death by inducing Fas-mediated apoptosis during bacterial infection. PLoS Pathog, 8(7), e1002814.
  10. Sabbah S, Jagne YJ, Zuo J, de Silva T, Ahasan MM, Brander C, Rowland-Jones S, Flanagan KL & Hislop AD (2012) T-cell immunity to Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus: recognition of primary effusion lymphoma by LANA-specific CD4+ T cells. Blood, 119(9), 2083-2092.
  11. Peterson I, Togun O, de Silva T, Oko F, Rowland-Jones S, Jaye A & Peterson K (2011) Mortality and immunovirological outcomes on antiretroviral therapy in HIV-1 and HIV-2-infected individuals in the Gambia. AIDS, 25, 2167-2175.
  12. de Silva TI, Turner R, Hué S, Trikha R, van Tienen C, Onyango C, Jaye A, Foley B, Whittle H, Rowland-Jones SL & Cotten M (2010) HIV-1 subtype distribution in the Gambia and the significant presence of CRF49_cpx, a novel circulating recombinant form. Retrovirology, 7, 82.
  13. de Silva TI, Cotten M & Rowland-Jones SL (2008) HIV-2: the forgotten AIDS virus. Trends Microbiol, 16(12), 588-595.
  14. Rowland-Jones S & de Silva T (2008) Resisting immune exhaustion in HIV-1 infection. PLoS Med, 5(5), e103.


  1. Moysi E, de Silva T & Rowland-Jones S (2011) Immune Mechanisms of Viral Control in HIV-2 Infection In Pancino G, Silvestri G & Fowke K (Ed.), Models of Protection Against HIV/SIV (pp. 293-307). Academic Press.