Professor Sarah Rowland-Jones

B.M. B.Ch., M.A. (Cantab), D.M. (Oxon), FRCP, F.Med.Sci.

Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease

Florey Professor of Infection and Immunity
+44 114 215 9608

Full contact details

Professor Sarah Rowland-Jones
Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease
The Medical School
Beech Hill Road
S10 2RX

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I trained in medicine in Cambridge and Oxford Universities, then did post-graduate training in medicine in London and Sheffield before completing specialist training in Infectious Diseases in Oxford.

I became interested in HIV infection as a junior doctor in London, looking after some of the first AIDS patients to be diagnosed in the UK. I started my research career with a doctorate in the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Oxford supervised by Professor Andrew McMichael, studying the role of HIV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) in the outcomes of HIV-1 infection and exposure.

My research has been supported by a series of MRC Clinical research fellowships (Training, Clinician Scientist, Senior), culminating in the award of an MRC Clinical Research Professorship from 2008 to 2014.

I became increasingly interested in working in the tropics and was fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate in studies of cellular immune responses to viral infections with researchers in places such as The Gambia, Kenya, Thailand, Viet Nam and China. This led to me becoming Director of the Oxford Centre for Tropical Medicine between 2001 and 2004, and then moving to West Africa to become Research Director of the MRC Laboratories, The Gambia, the UK’s oldest and largest tropical research unit between 2004 and 2008. Whilst in The Gambia my research interests focused on HIV-2 pathogenesis and the development of infant immunity in response to pathogens and vaccines in early life.

I joined the IICD department in 2018 as Florey Professor of Infection and Immunity, and now divide my time between Sheffield and Oxford. I remain an active clinician, holding an Honorary Consultant contract in adult Infectious Diseases. I was President of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene between 2018 and 2019 after six years as a Trustee of the Society, and am also a Fellow of Christ Church, Oxford.

Research interests

My research interests focus on host-pathogen interactions in viral infections, with a particular interest in HIV infection and how CMV co-infection contributes to pathogenesis in both HIV-infected people and uninfected infants born to HIV-infected women.

I collaborate closely with Professor Rashida Ferrand (LSHTM) in Harare, Zimbabwe, in studies of HIV pathogenesis and immunology in older children and adolescents with perinatally-acquired HIV infection (PHIV).

In Sheffield I co-lead a research group with Dr Thushan de Silva, where I am working on projects to evaluate vaccine-induced immunity in older children with PHIV, and to characterise acquisition of viral immunity in patients who have undergone Haemapoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT).

Current projects

  • How does the immune system reconstitute cellular responses (T-cells and NK cells) to persistent virus infection following HSCT.
  • What levels of antibody responses to routine childhood vaccines given as part of the Expanded Programme of Immunisation persist in children who present late with PHIV? Are booster immunisations required in this age-group?

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Teaching interests

I enjoy teaching and currently lecture on the M.Sc courses in Molecular Medicine (IICD) and Antimicrobial Resistance (Florey Institute). I am a Mentor on the Academy of Medical Sciences scheme for early career researchers on intermediate fellowships.

Professional activities
  • Co-coordinator (with Professor Simon Foster), Florey Institute for Host-Pathogen interactions
  • Theme Lead, Infection theme, IICD
  • Academic Editor, Public Library of Science (Biology), 2003 to present, Member of PLOS Biology Advisory Board from 2015 onwards
  • Member, Newton Advanced Fellowships panel, Royal Society, 2015 – present
  • Member, Swedish Research Council, Global Health Panel, 2016 – present
  • Member, Future Leaders African Independent Research (FLAIR) fellowship panel (Royal Society), 2018 – present
  • Member of the Faculty of 1000 since its inception in 2002 to present
  • Academy of Medical Sciences, member of Global Health group, from 2007
  • Academy of Medical Sciences, Fellowship committee (panel 4), from 2017 – present
  • External Examiner, Department of Pathology, University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences, 2017 - present