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Prof Ali Zumla
Second Floor Clinical Microbiology
University College London
Royal Free Hospital Campus,Rowland Hill Street
London
NW3 2PF
Appointment
  • Professor of Infectious Diseases and International Health
  • Div of Infection & Immunity
  • Faculty of Medical Sciences
Biography
 Professor Zumla is an honours graduate of the University of Zambia and the University of London. He is dually qualified in medicine (MBChB) and science (PhD) and is accredited in internal medicine, infectious diseases and clinical immunology. He was born in Fort Jameson, Zambia(British colonial Northern Rhodesia). As an undergraduate he declined a ‘Rhodes Scholarship’ to study medicine at Oxford University,because of his firm belief that 'one does not need a Rolls Royce to make a journey –it’s the driver that’s important’. His philosophy that training in medicine at the local University in Lusaka, Zambia, would endow a firm foundation for understanding the multi-factorial etiologies underlying killer diseases afflicting the world’s poor, led him to achieve a ‘star studded’ career. As a BEIT Scholar he completed an MSc in Clinical Tropical Medicine at the University of London, (awarded with distinction and the Mugratroyd prize) and he subsequently obtained his PhD from the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene,(awarded the Alan Woodruff Medal). He recived international acclaim for rapidly identifying and notifying the 1988 Legionnaire’s’ disease outbreak at Portland Place, London whilst working as an ID registrar at Rush Green Hospital. After working for 4 years as senior registrar at the Hammersmith Hospital, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London he spent two years as associate professor at the University of Texas Health Science Centre at Houston, Texas, USA before joining UCL in 1994. Professor Zumla R&D spans several institutions in Europe linking them with 10 in sub-Saharan Africa on multi-country translational research, clinical trials, and basic science research on tuberculosis, TB/HIV/AIDS and respiratory illnesses affecting adults and children. His team’s research findings and expertise have contributed to the development of WHO policy guidelines on management of tuberculosis and HIV co-infections. Professor Zumla has 350 peer-reviewed publications and has edited 19 medical textbooks, three of which are globally acknowledged classics:‘‘Manson’s Tropical Diseases’’(co-ed. GC Cook),‘‘Tuberculosis:A Comprehensive Clinical Reference’’(co-ed. S.Schaaf) and ‘‘Granulomatous Disorders’’(co-ed. DGJames). He was the ‘lead guru’ of the high profile ‘Lancet TB Theme Series’ of 7 articles and 6 commentaries launched in Geneva in 2010, Lancet ID TB Theme series 2012, Lancet Resp Med TB series 2014, Journal of Infectious Diseases volume on ‘Tuberculosis and TB/HIV/AIDS-controversies and unanswered questions’’ and The Lancet Mass Gatherings Medicine series launched at the WHA Geneva in May 2014. Recent International prizes awarded to him in include The Donald Mackay Medal from The Royal Society of tropical Medicine and Hygiene (2014), The Times Higher Education award (Nov 2013), The Karolinska Institutet Annual Science Prize (2012); The University of Amsterdam Spinoza Leerstoel Award (2011); the WHO STOP TB Partnership Kochon Prize and Medal(2011); the UK India Intl Fdn Science Award and. They recognise Professor Zumla’s outstanding achievements and significant contribution to combating TB, and excellence in infectious diseases research and capacity development activities. On October 24th,2012, on Zambia’s 48th Independence celebrations, the President of Zambia awarded Professor Zumla with the highest Zambian government civilian award -the Order of The grand Commander of Distinguished Services First Division.

Research Summary

GLOBAL/INTERNATIONAL R&D: http://www.unza-uclms.org/

1.CLINICAL TRIALS FOR EVALUATION NEW DIAGNOSTICS, DRUGS, TREATMENT AND PROPHYLACTICS: Professor Zumla has created major international multi-country collaborations between academia, health care providers and industry for the conduct of multi-centre GLP/GCP clinical trials, the results of which have changed global practice. Seven of 11 randomised clinical trials have been completed. A phase 1 trial of autologous bone-marrow-derived stem cell transfusions for treatment of MDR-TB in Belarus in collaboration with Professor Maeurer of Karolinska Institutet (PI) has been completed. A phase II trial is underway.

2. PATHOGENESIS STUDIES AND EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDIES: In 2002, a large autopsy study of 264 Zambian children undertaken by Prof.Zumla and colleagues yeilded high impact data on pathogenesis of killer respiratory tract infections. Sentinel epidemiological and clinical studies have shown the emergence of extensively drug resistant TB. Several autopsy and molecular studies of adults and children are ongoing.  

3. RESEARCH INTO THE EPIDEMIOLOGY, DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OF KILLER RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS ESP TB, TB/HIV AND MERS-COV: Laboratory and translational clinical research on longitudinal cohorts of patients is leading to development and evaluation of rapid diagnostics (urine, sputum and blood based) and biomarkers for diagnosis, response to treatment, cure and relapse. Novel biomarkers of cytokine ratios, urine and filter paper based TB diagnostics tests have been developed and current work focusses on development of new and novel rapid TB diagnostic technology, in inpatient settings in paediatric and adult wards. These data are novel show a huge clinical load of undiagnosed sub-clinical TB leading to new screening diagnostic algorithms and now call for more pro-active screening for TB at all points of care. 

UK/UCL BASED R&D:

1.TB IN LONDON: Professor Zumla pioneered The London TB Link R&D Project at a time when TB was thought not to be a problem in London.  His group’s data focussed UK governmental attention to the growing TB problem in London in immigrants, homeless and the elderly Research and advocacy activities on TB in has led to recognition of TB by the UK government as an important health issue with improved NHS TB services.

2.DEVELOPMENT OF RAPID DIAGNOSTIC TESTS FOR SEPSIS: Professor Zumla currently leads as PI several clinical translational TB projects including a 6 million euros EU-FW7 project on development of rapid diagnostic platforms for range respiratory tract pathogens linking industrial partners from France and Finland with hospitals in the UK and France. This will take forward the aim of developing point of care rapid diagnostics using multiplex platforms ‘sample in – answer out’’ within 1 hour for the diagnosis (including antibiotic resistance genes screening) of respiratory tract infections (RTIs) caused by a wide range of bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens from one sputum sample. Professor Zumla’s vision is to see this technology be powered by solar power so that it could be used at points of care in resource-poor tropical countries for accurate rapid diagnosis of RTI’s. 

Teaching Summary

1. Undergraduate Medical students: Infectious diseases/microbiology/tropical Medicine/Clinical bedside 2. Supervision of PhD students 3. Supervision of postdoctoral scientists 

2. Visitng Professor to the several Institutions eg: Institute of Child Health, London; University of Zambia School of Medicine;Lusaka, Zambia; University of Cape Town, South Africa; Liverpool School of Medicine; University of Amsterdam; Karolinska Institutet.

3. External examiner for MSc and PhDs to several national and international universities.     

4. BOOKS AND SPECIALIST JOURNAL VOLUMES:  

A) TEXTBOOKS: Editor of 18 textbooks including MRCP Part 1, MRCP Part 2, Granulomatous Disorders; Return of the White Plague; Clinics in Chest Medicine -Tuberculosis; Infectious Diseases Clinics of North America vols x 3; the global 'classics a) Manson's Tropical Diseases,21st and 22nd editions b) Tuberculosis- a comprehensive Clinical Reference. 

B) JOURNALS: Several eg: a. Lancet Infectious Diseases b. Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine, c. Editor, COPM Infectious Diseases volume, d. IDClinics North America                        

5. GLOBAL HEALTH CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT: Founder member with Prof J.Yudkin, of IHMEC-Intl Health Medical Education Centre at UCL-SSMs in international health, intercalated BSC in International health at UCL  

6. TEACHING THROUGH HIGH PROFILE JOURNAL THEME SERIES: 1. Lead 'guru' Lancet TB Theme series (2010), 2. Chief Guest Editor Journal of Infectious diseases volume on TB, TB/HIV/AIDS-unanswered questions and controversies 2012, 3. Guest editor, Lancet Infectious Diseases series on Tuberculosis (2013), 4. Guest Editor Lancet Resp Med Series (2014), 5. Lancet Mass Gatherings Medicine Series (2014).

Academic Background
1987 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Medicine London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
1984 MRCP Member of the Royal College of Physicians – Clinical Medicine Royal College of Physicians
1981 MSc Master of Science University of London
1979 MB.ChB Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery – Clinical Medicine To be updated
1976 BSc Bachelor of Science To be updated
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