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

Professor Sir Alimuddin (Ali) Zumla is dually qualified in Medicine(MBChB) and Science(PhD). He is accredited in Internal Medicine, Clinical immunology and Infectious Diseases. Sir Ali is a Fellow of The: 1).World Academy of Sciences, 2).Royal Colleges of Physicians of London & Edinburgh; 2).Royal College of Pathologists; 3).Royal Society of Biology & 4).African Academy of Sciences. As a BEIT Scholar he obtained an MSc in Tropical Medicine(Distinction & Mugratroyd prize) and PhD(Alan Woodruff Medal) from The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He received international acclaim for rapidly identifying & notifying the 1988 Legionnaires’ disease outbreak which he traced back to Broadcasting House, London whilst working as an infectious diseases registrar at Rush Green Hospital, Romford. After 4 years as Senior Registrar at the Hammersmith Hospital(RPMS) London, he spent 2 years as Associate Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Centre, Houston, USA, & Visiting Professor at UTH in Lusaka, before joining UCL in 1994. Since then, Sir Ali pioneered and championed the discipline of ‘Global Health’ at UCL with significant global impact, effectively networking numerous institutions across the world, achieving ‘unity of purpose’ for tackling poverty-related diseases. He is a lead global advocate for 'Equitable and Fair North-South R&D partnerships where close alignment of capacity development with high quality, health policy relevant research, is central to his ethos. His teams won the prestigious Times Higher Education 'Best international Collaboration’ Award(2013) & EU-EDCTP ‘Most outstanding ‘Africa-Europe’ Team Award'(Nov.2016).   

PRESTIGIOUS AWARDS (Selected List from 30 accolades): Order of The Grand Commander of Distinguished Services (GCDS)-First Division, from the President of Zambia(2012); STOP-TB Partnership-WHO Kochon Prize & Medal(2012); Royal Society of TM&H Donald Mackay Medal (2014); UCLHospitals NHS-Trust Excellence Award for World Class Research (2015); Karolinska Institutet 'Doctorate honoris causa' for "exceptional contributions to science, healthcare & humanity at large"(2016); Knighthood from Her Majesty the Queen (June,2017); The Union Medal (2018)-highest honour accorded by the IUTBLD; Mahathir Science Award(2020)-the most prestigious global award for Tropical Sciences; EU-EDCTP Pascoal Mocumbi Award(2021);The RSTMH Sir Manson Medal(2022).

PUBLICATIONS: a).764 PUBMED articles (Google Scholar, H-index=125; i10index=605; Citations =71,800; Clarivate 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019 & 2018 lists of the world's most highly cited authors; b).22 medical textbooks, including the classics: Manson’s Tropical Diseases(co-ed.G.Cook); Granulomatous Disorders(co-ed.D.James);Tuberculosis-A Comprehensive Clinical Reference (co-ed.S.Schaaf); Perspectives in Medicine-TB(co-eds: S.Kaufmann & E.Rubin); Handbook of Refugee Health (co-eds,M.Orcutt etal); c). Guest Editor of over 35 journal themes series (http://www.unza-uclms.org/tb-theme-series) and c).68 book chapters.

Research Summary

Sir Zumla’s research focuses on killer infectious diseases affecting adults and children globally. His R&D networks span across all continents.

1). RESPIRATORY TRACT INFECTIONS (RTIs):Tuberculosis (TB), TB-HIV/AIDS co-infections, MERS,COVID-19, Community & Hospital acquired pneumonia. Transmission of RTIs including AMR at mass gathering religious and sporting events. A novel 'Mass Gatherings Medicine' initiative with several basic science, translational clinical and operational studies on infections with epidemic potential.

2). EMERGING AND RE-EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES with epidemic potential which threaten global health security: i).Multi-drug resistant TB. ii).Zoonotic infections (MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, COVID-19, EBOLA, Chikungunya, Monkeypox, Lassa Fever, Dengue, iii).Antibiotic resistant pathogens. 

a). CLINICAL TRIALS EVALUATING DIAGNOSTICS, DRUGS AND HOST-DIRECTED THERAPIES: Sir Zumla leads several 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.

b). EPIDEMIOLOGICAL, PATHOGENESIS, TRANSLATIONAL CLINICAL & AUTOPSY STUDIES: Sentinel cross-continental epidemiological and clinical studies defined the importance of TB, and showed the emergence of extensively drug resistant TB in Eastern Europe and Southern Africa. Pioneering community and hospital based autopsy studies of children and adults defining pathogenesis of killer RTIs including TB, SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19.

c). RESEARCH INTO THEEPIDEMIOLOGY, DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OF KILLER RESPIRATORYINFECTIONS INCLUDING MDR-TB, MERS-COV AND SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19):Laboratory and translational clinical research on longitudinal cohorts ofpatients is leading to development and evaluation of rapid POC diagnostics and biomarkers for response to treatment, cure and relapse. Novel biomarkers of cytokine ratios, urine and filter paper based TB diagnostics tests have been developed. Evaluation of new and novel rapid TB diagnostic technologies in inpatient paediatric and adult wards. Novel autopsy studies show a huge clinical load of undiagnosed sub-clinical TB  and co-morbidities undiagnosed antemortem. Coordinated 'first from Africa and Europe' whole body autopsy studies of COVID-19 community & hospital deaths.

Teaching Summary

1. CHAMPIONING GLOBAL HEALTH TEACHING & CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT: Pioneered, championed and made visible 'Global Health' at UCL since 1994 as Director of the UCL Centre for Infectious Diseases & International Health. In 1998 Sir Zumla teamed up with Prof John Yudkin (Whittington UCL campus) to form the UCL International Health&Medical Education Centre (IHMEC) which introduced Special Study modules (SSMs) and the intercalated BSC in Global Health. They launched the Annual UCL ‘Lancet’ Global Health Lectures. In 2006, the Institute of Child Health was incorporated by UCL, it merged with IHMEC to form UCL Institute of Global Health.    

2. UNDERGRADUATE, DOCTORAL AND POSTDOCTORAL SUPERVISION AT UK AND OVERSEAS INSTITUTIONS eg:Institute of Child Health, London; University of Zambia School of Medicine; Lusaka; University of Amsterdam; Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), University of Tor Vergata (Rome), King AbdulAziz Univ (Jeddah), Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine (2000-2007); PANDORA-ID-NET ONE-HEALTH Consortium; Europe-Africa capacity development, training and research consortia:  CANTAM, EACCR, HERPEZ, Univ Tor Vergata summer school.

3. EXTERNAL EXAMINER for MSc, MMed, DTM&H, MD and PhD at several UK & international universities.     

4. BOOKS: Editor of 22 textbooks including the global classics: a).Granulomatous Disorders; b). Return of the White Plague; c). Manson's Tropical Diseases, 21st and 22nd editions; d).Tuberculosis- a comprehensive Clinical Reference; e)Perspectives in Medicine-TUBERCULOSIS; f). Granulomatous Disorders; g).Refugee Health; & Several editions of MRCP Part 1 and part 2 exam books. 

5. TEACHING THROUGH HIGH PROFILE JOURNAL THEME SERIES AND STATE OF THE ART REVIEWS: 1). Lead 'guru' Lancet journals TB Theme series (2006,2010,2012); 2). Chief Guest Editor Journal of Infectious Diseases volume on TB, TB/HIV/AIDS-unanswered questions(2013); 3). Guest editor, Lancet Infectious Diseases TB Series (2014, 2016, 2018, 2019); 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(2018-2022); 8) Editor, Annual Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine Infection Series (2000-2022); 9) Editor, ID Clinics of North America (2008,2012,2013,2019). (Full list  on website: (http://www.unza-uclms.org/tb-theme-series).

Academic Background
2016   Doctor of Medicine Karolinska Institute
2009   Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists Royal College of Pathologists, UK
1994   Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians Royal College of Physicians
1987   Doctor of Philosophy London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
1984   Member of the Royal College of Physicians Royal College of Physicians
1981   Master of Science London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
1979   Bachelor of Medicine/ Bachelor of Surgery University of Zambia
1976   Bachelor of Science University of Zambia
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