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

Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer Dr Thushan de Silva

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

Tel: +44 (0)114 215 9532
Email: t.desilva@sheffield.ac.uk
Fax: +44 (0)114 271 1863


I am a clinician scientist and Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellow, currently based at the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM 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 under the sponsorship of Professor Beate Kampmann (MRC Gambia/Imperial College London) to be undertaken between Imperial College London, MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM and the University of Sheffield.

Research Interests:

My interests fall into three main areas:

  1. 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.
  2. Extending my work on immune responses in immunosuppressed hosts, I am interested in vaccine responses in Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant patients, collaborating with Professor John Snowden and Professor Diana Greenfield at STH.
  3. Aligning with The Florey Institute strategy, I am leading pilot studies characterizing MRSA (Sri Lanka) and Streptococcus pyogenes (The Gambia) isolates via whole genome sequencing.

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.
  • Member of HIC-Vac network.

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. A study of scabies and group A streptococcal pyoderma in The Gambia (The SPYDERM study) – HEFCE/ODA grant via The University of Sheffield (2018), collaboration with Dr. Claire Turner, MBB.
  4. 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).


For key publications see below. For a full list of publications click here.

Journal articles