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Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellow

Dr. Thushan de Silva is a visiting clinician scientist in the Vaccines and Immunity Theme. His main interest is the study of anti-viral immune responses in the context of both vaccination and natural infection. The focus of his current research, funded by a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellowship, is the detailed mucosal and systemic immunogenicity of live attenuated influenza (LAIV) in Gambian children, including interactions with the host nasopharyngeal microbiome. He is also interested in applying next generation sequencing methods to characterise the molecular epidemiology of bacterial (e.g. Strep. pyogenes) and respiratory viral infections in Gambian children.

Thushan completed his PhD studies in The Gambia, following award of a British Infection Society Research Fellowship (2007-8) and MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship (2008 – 11) on the pathogenesis of HIV-2 infection and molecular epidemiology of HIV in The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau. He is an Infectious Disease Physician dual-trained in Medical Microbiology and is a Fellow of both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and the Royal College of Pathologists (UK). He is an honorary consultant physician at the South Yorkshire Regional Department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, Sheffield, UK.


       Selected Key Publications

  1. Lindsey B, Armitage E, Kampmann B & de Silva TI. The Efficacy, Effectiveness and Immunogenicity of Influenza Vaccines in Africa: A Systematic Review. Lancet Infect Dis. In Press.
  2. Knight G, Clarkson M & de Silva TI. The potential impact of influenza vaccine rollout on antibiotic use in Africa. J Antimicrob Chemother 2018;73(8):2197-2200.
  3. Armitage EP, Camara J, Bah S, Forster AS, Clarke E, Kampmann B & de Silva TI. Acceptability of intranasal live attenuated influenza vaccine, influenza knowledge and vaccine intent in The Gambia. Vaccine 2018; 36(13): 1772 – 1780.
  4. de Silva TI, Gould V, Mohammed N, Cope A, Meijer A, Zutt I, Reimerink J, Kampmann B, Hoschler K, Zambon M & Tregoning J. Comparison of mucosal lining fluid sampling methods and influenza-specific IgA detection assays for use in human studies of influenza immunity. J Immunol Methods 2017; 449:1 – 6.
  5. Jayasooriya S, de Silva TI, Njie-jobe J, Sanyang C, Leese AM, Bell AI, McAulay KA, Yanchun P, Long HM, Dong T, Whittle H, Rickinson AB, Rowland-Jones S, Hislop A & Flanagan KL Early virological and immunological event in asymptomatic Epstein-Barr virus infection in African children. PLoS Pathogens 2015; 11(3):e1004746
  6. James KL, de Silva TI, Brown K, Whittle H, Taylor S, McVean G, Esbjörnsson J & Rowland-Jones S. Low-bias RNA sequencing of the HIV-2 genome from blood plasma. J Virol. In Press.
  7. de Silva TI, Leligdowicz A, Carlson J, Garcia-Knight M, Onyango C, Miller N, Yindom LM, Hue S, Jaye A, Dong T, Cotten M & Rowland-Jones S. HLA-associated polymorphisms in the HIV-2 capsid highlight key differences between HIV-1 and HIV-2 immune adaptation. AIDS 2018; 32(6): 709-714.
  8. Fryer HR, van Tienen C, Schim van der Loeff, Aaby P, da Silva ZJ, Whittle H, Rowland-Jones S & de Silva TI. Predicting the extinction of HIV-2 in rural Guinea-Bissau. AIDS 2015; 29(18): 2479-86.
  9. de Silva TI, Peng Y, Leligdowicz A, Zaidi I, Li L, Griffin H, Blais ME, Vincent T, Saraiwa M, Yindom LM, van Tienen C, Easterbrook P, Jaye A, Whittle H, Dong T & Rowland-Jones S. Correlates of T-cell mediated viral control and phenotype of CD8+ T-cells in HIV-2, a naturally contained human retroviral infection. Blood 2013; 121(21): 4330-9.
  10. de Silva TI, van Tienen C, Onyango C, Jabang A, Vincent T, Schim van der Loeff M, Coutinho R, Jaye A, Rowland-Jones S, Whittle H, Cotten M & Hué S. Population dynamics of HIV-2 in rural Guinea-Bissau: comparison with HIV-1 and ongoing transmission at the heart of the epidemic. AIDS 2013; 27(1): 125 – 134.
  11. de Silva TI, Aasa-Chapman M, Cotten M, Hué S, Robinson J, Bibollet-Ruche F, Sarge-Njie R, Berry N, Jaye A, Aaby P, Whittle H, Rowland-Jones S & Weiss R. Potent Autologous and Heterologous Neutralizing Antibody Responses Occur in HIV-2 Infection Across a Broad Range of Infection Outcomes. J Virol 2012; 86: 930 – 946.
  12. van Tienen C, de Silva T, Alcantara LCJ, Onyango C, Jarju S, Goncalves N, Vincent T, Aaby P, Whittle H, Schim van der Loeff M & Cotten M. Molecular Epidemiology of Endemic HTLV-1 in a rural community in Guinea-Bissau. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2012; 6(6): e1690
  13. de Silva TI, Turner R, Hué S, Trikha R, van Tienen C, Onyango C, Jaye A, Foley B, Whittle H, Rowland-Jones SL and Cotten M. HIV-1 subtype distribution in the Gambia and the significant presence of CRF49_cpx, a novel circulating recombinant form. Retrovirology 2010, 7: 82.

       Research Interests

  • Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine immunogenicity
  • Nasopharyngeal microbiome and virome
  • Epidemiology of respiratory viral infections (e.g. influenza and RSV) in children
  • Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus skin infections and molecular epidemiology