Dr Thushan de Silva


Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease

Senior Clinical Lecturer in Infectious Diseases

Honorary Consultant Physician in Infectious Diseases

Dr Thushan de Silva
Dr Thushan de Silva
+44 114 215 9522

Full contact details

Dr Thushan de Silva
Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease
The Medical School
Beech Hill Road
S10 2RX

For enquiries, please contact – iicd-om-operational@sheffield.ac.uk

I am an infectious disease clinician scientist interested in host-pathogen interactions in clinical and epidemiological contexts. 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 and PhD (2008 – 11) under the supervision of Professor Sarah Rowland-Jones (Oxford/Sheffield) and Professor Robin Weiss (UCL) to study the pathogenesis of HIV-2 infection and the molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 and HIV-2 in West Africa, 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 a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellowship in 2016 under the sponsorship of Professor Beate Kampmann (MRC Unit The Gambia/LSHTM), based between Imperial College London and the MRC Unit The Gambia.

I returned to the University of Sheffield as a Senior Clinical Lecturer in 2020. I am part of the Clinical Infection Research Group (CIRG) in the Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease (IICD), along with Prof. Sarah Rowland-Jones, Dr. Tom Darton , Dr. Paul Collini and Dr. Ruth Payne.  I have been an Honorary Consultant Physician in Infectious Diseases at the South Yorkshire Regional Department of Infection and Tropical Medicine in Sheffield since 2016. I continue to be a Visiting Scientist and Principal Investigator in the Vaccines and Immunity Theme at the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM and am also an Honorary Associate Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I was awarded an MBE in 2021 for services to COVID-19 research.

Research interests

My work focuses broadly on the following areas and is increasingly integrating next-generation sequencing data with immunology, clinical and epidemiological data derived from clinical trials and observational studies in human cohorts:

  1. Anti-viral immune responses in the context of vaccination and natural infection, Building on skills gained during my PhD, which characterised HIV-specific humoral and T-cell correlates of protection from disease progression in HIV-2 infection in West Africa, a major focus now is on the innate and adaptive immune response to influenza and influenza vaccines. I am now also involved in studies characterising the magnitude and durability of SARS-CoV-2 specific T-cell responses across the COVID-19 disease spectrum.
  1. SARS-CoV-2 molecular epidemiology. As part of the COG-UK consortium, I am leading SARS-CoV-2 sequencing in Sheffield, including a specific focus on the use of rapid sequencing in tracking hospital transmission and utility to infection, prevention and control. I am also part of efforts to enhance the availability of SARS-CoV-2 sequence data and analysis in West Africa.
  1. The molecular epidemiology of potentially vaccine-preventable infections that have a high burden yet are relatively neglected in low and middle-income countries. e.g. influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses, Streptococcus pyogenes, Staphylococcus aureus.

Key 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 – 2021). Key collaborators: Dr. Helder Nakaya, University of Sao Paulo and Prof. Debby Bogaert, University of Edinburgh.
  2. University of Sheffield lead for the COVID-19 Genomics Consortium UK (COG-UK), using Oxford Nanopore Technology (ONT) to sequence SARS-CoV-2 isolates in South Yorkshire.  Building on our group’s sequencing expertise gained during this project, we are now focusing on optimising ONT-based assays with direct utility in NHS diagnostic microbiology and virology laboratories.
  3. Study of SARS-CoV-2 T-cell and antibody responses as part of the PITCH study, ISARIC4C consortium, UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium (UK-CIC) and OCTAVE study.
  4. Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses by establishment of a sentinel surveillance platform for influenza-like illness in The Gambia, along with a household transmission cohort (TransVir) with Prof. Beate Kampmann.
  5. Immunological imprinting of Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine in children naïve vs exposed to influenza viruses; with Prof. Florian Krammer, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2019 – 2022).
  6. Several clinical and molecular epidemiology studies forming part of the MRC Unit The Gambia Strep A research portfolio, as part of a Strategic Partnership Award between the University of Sheffield and the MRC Gambia (UoS GCRF), with Dr. Claire Turner, MBB, and key collaborators Dr. Michael Marks, LSHTM; Dr. Annette Erhart, MRCG and Dr. Abdul Karim Sesay, MRCG. I am co-supervisor for two Wellcome Trust Clinical PhD Training Fellows in Global Health (Dr. Edwin Armitage and Dr. Alex Keeley) who will use the platform of a household transmission study (SpyCATS) to explore transmission and natural immunity to S. pyogenes.

Show: Featured publications All publications

Journal articles

All publications

Journal articles


  • Abrahamian FM, Aldape MJ, Aldasoro E, Allen UD, Al-Sum H, Anadkat MJ, Anders K, Angelakis E, Angus BJ, Antoniadou A , Arena F et al (2017) List of Contributors, Infectious Diseases (pp. xv-xxxvi). Elsevier RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ball TB, Barré-Sinoussi F, Biasin M, Blankson JN, Broliden K, Buckheit RW, Card CM, Clerici M, de Silva T, Fellay J , Fowke KR et al (2012) Contributors, Models of Protection Against HIV/SIV (pp. xi-xii). Elsevier RIS download Bibtex download
  • Moysi E, de Silva T & Rowland-Jones S (2012) Chapter 11 Immune Mechanisms of Viral Control in HIV-2 Infection, Models of Protection Against HIV/SIV (pp. 293-315). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Moysi E, de Silva T & Rowland-Jones S (2012) Immune Mechanisms of Viral Control in HIV-2 Infection, Models of Protection Against HIV/SIV (pp. 293-315). Elsevier RIS download Bibtex download

Conference proceedings papers

  • Miller PDE, de Silva T, Leonard H, Goddard K, Anthias C, Hoschler K, Peggs K, Madrigal A & Snowden JA (2017) Viral microneutralization assay to determine seasonal influenza vaccine immunogenicity in the first year post reduced intensity conditioning allogeneic HSCT. BONE MARROW TRANSPLANTATION, Vol. 52 (pp S269-S270) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Miller PDE, de Silva T, Skinner R, Gilleece M, Peniket A, Hamblin A, Greenfield D, Anthias C, Peggs K, Madrigal A , Snowden JA et al (2016) Routine Vaccination Programme (RVP) Practice after Adult and Paediatric Allogeneic Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT): A British Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (BSBMT) Survey of UK NHS-Based Programmes. BONE MARROW TRANSPLANTATION, Vol. 51 (pp S400-S401) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Meiring J, De Silva T & Snowden J (2015) A study of adherence to a vaccination schedule following adult allogenic haematopoietic stem cell transplants in UK transplant centre. BONE MARROW TRANSPLANTATION, Vol. 50 (pp S203-S204) RIS download Bibtex download


  • de Silva T (2022) Investigation of SARS-CoV-2 variants: technical briefings number 37. RIS download Bibtex download
Teaching interests

I am involved in delivering the undergraduate (MBChB) Infectious Diseases, Tropical Medicine and Microbiology curriculum at the University of Sheffield. I also lecture on the MSc in Antimicrobial Resistance (Florey Institute) and several other MSc courses.

Professional activities
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Infection (2019 - present).
  • Associate Editor, Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (2019 - 2021).
  • The Florey Institute Management Board, University of Sheffield (2019 - present).
  • University of Sheffield Biosafety Committee (2019 - present).
  • British Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, post-haematopoietic stem cell transplantation vaccination subgroup (2020 – present).