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Prof Ali Zumla
Second Floor Clinical Microbiology, Dividion of Infection and Immunity
University College London
Royal Free Hospital Campus,Rowland Hill Street
  • Professor of Infectious Diseases and International Health
  • Div of Infection & Immunity
  • Faculty of Medical Sciences

Professor Alimuddin (Ali) Zumla is dually qualified in medicine(MBChB) and science(PhD). He is accredited in internal medicine, infectious diseases and clinical immunology and is a Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of London &Edinburgh, Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. He was born in Fort Jameson, Zambia (British Northern Rhodesia). As a BEIT Scholar he completed an MSc in Clinical Tropical Medicine(awarded distinction and Mugratroyd prize), and PhD from the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene(awarded the Alan Woodruff Medal). He received international acclaim for rapidly identifying and notifying the 1988 Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at Portland Place, London whilst working as an infectious diseases registrar at Rush Green Hospital. After 4 years as senior registrar at the Hammersmith Hospital, Royal Postgraduate Medical School,London, he spent 3 years as Associate Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Centre at Houston,USA, and visiting Professor at UTH in Lusaka, Zambia, before joining UCL in 1994. 

Since 1994, in addition to his routine clinical and academic duties, Professor Zumla has championed and pioneered the discipline of ‘Global Health’ at UCL. He is a strong global advocate for developing fair and equitable North-South  partnerships where close alignment of capacity development and training to research is central to his ethos. To take this forward he established the University of Zambia-University College London Medical School(UNZA-UCLMS) program in 1994 as a novel model of 'equitable and mutaully beneficial' academic partnership.  Over the ensuing 23 years at UCL he has effectively networked numerous institutions across all continents achieving significant high impact research, capacity development and training deliverables. At the opening ceremony of eighth European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) Forum, held in Lusaka, Zambia in November, 2016 the UNZA-UCLMS Program scooped the prestigious ‘Outstanding Research Team Award’. 

Professor Zumla has published 480 peer-reviewed PUBMED articles (ResearchGate score=51.6;GoogleScholarH-index=77; i10index=318; and 24,426 citations). He has edited 19 medical textbooks, including the classics:‘‘Manson’s Tropical Diseases’’(co-ed.GC Cook),‘‘Tuberculosis:A Comprehensive Clinical Reference’’(co-ed.S.Schaaf) and ‘‘Granulomatous Disorders’’(co-ed.D.G.James). He has led  several high profile theme series: The ‘Lancet TB Theme Series’ 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’’; The Lancet Mass Gatherings Medicine series launched at the WHAssembly in Geneva,May 2014. Recent prestigious awards include: UK-ACCEA Platinum Award (2008);Spinoza Leerstoel Award (2011);WHO STOP TB Partnership Kochon Prize and Medal(2011);UK India Intl Fdn Science Award (2011);Karolinska Institutet Annual Science Prize (2012);Donald Mackay Medal from The Royal Soc Trop Med & Hygiene(2014), The Times Higher Education award (2014), and the UCLHospitals NHS Fdn Trust Excellence Award for World Class Research (2015). On October 24th,2012, the President of Zambia awarded Professor Zumla with the highest Zambian government civilian award -the Order of The Grand Commander of Distinguished Services. On May 13th 2016, the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, awarded their highest distinction '(Doctorate honoris causa)' to Professor Zumla for "exceptional contributions to science, healthcare and humanity at large".

Research Summary

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

Professor Zumla’s research has focussed on killer infectious diseases affecting adults and children:

a). RESPIRATORY TRACT INFECTIONS particularly, Tuberculosis (TB), TB-HIV/AIDS co-infections., Community and Hospital acquired pneumonia.

b). INFECTIOUS DISEASES with epidemic potential and threaten global health security.  i).  Multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis.  ii). Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Ebola. iii). Antibiotic resistant infections.

1.CLINICAL TRIALS FOR EVALUATION NEW DIAGNOSTICS, DRUGS, TREATMENT AND PROPHYLACTICS FOR RESPIRATORY TRACT INFECTIONS: Professor Zumla has created significant international, multi-country collaborative networks between academics, health care workers, healthcare providers, and policy makers for the conduct of multi-centre GLP/GCP clinical trials, the results of which have changed global clinical practice.    

2. PATHOGENESIS 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, CAP 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. 

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.     


A) TEXTBOOKS: Editor of 19 textbooks including 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. c) Perspectives in Medicine-TUBERCULOSIS -edited with S.Kaffmann (Max Planck) and Eric Rubin (Harvard)

B) JOURNAL THEME SERIES: Several TB SERIES: eg: a. Lancet 2006 and 2010 series; b). Lancet Infectious Diseases Series 2012, c. Lancet Mass Gatherings Medicine series 2014; d. Lancet ID Series on Emerging RTIs;  e. Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine series 1999-2014, f. ID Clinics North America, g. International Journal of Infectious Diseases TB series 2015.                       

5. GLOBAL HEALTH CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT: Founder member and pioneer of Global Health at UCL in 1998 with Prof J.Yudkin -starting with forming IHMEC-Intl Health Medical Education Centre at UCL leading SSMs in international health, and introducing the intercalated BSC in International health. IHMEC merged with  Institute of Child Health maternal health and became the UCL Institute of Global Health. This was led by Prof A.Costello and as of 2016 the director is Prof I.Abubakar.  

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, 2016), 4. Guest Editor Lancet Resp Med Series (2014), 5. Lancet Mass Gatherings Medicine Series (2014), 6. Lancet ID Series on Emerging RTIs (2014, 2016), 7) IJID TB series (2015), 8) Editor,Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine Infection Series (2000-2016).9) Editor, ID Clinics of North America (2008,2012).

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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