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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 and is a Fellow of The:1).Royal Colleges of Physicians of London & Edinburgh;  2).Royal College of Pathologists; 3).Royal Society of Biology & 4).African Academy of Sciences. He was born in Fort Jameson, Zambia (British Northern Rhodesia). As a BEIT Scholar he completed an MSc in Tropical Medicine(Distinction & Mugratroyd prize) and PhD(Alan Woodruff Medal) at The London School of Hygiene and 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 3 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 1994, Sir Ali has 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 pioneer and lead global advocate for 'Equitable and fair North-South partnerships where close alignment of capacity development with research is central to his ethos. He established the UNZA-UCLMS R&D Program in 1994 (http://www.unza-uclms.org/), a unique, novel model of 'equitable' mutually beneficial partnerships which has received several international awards, including the EDCTP ‘Most outstanding ‘Africa-Europe’ Team Award'(Nov.2016).    

PRESTIGIOUS AWARDS (Selected List): Spinoza Award(Univ.Amsterdam-2011); Order of The Grand Commander of Distinguished Services (GCDS)-First Division, from President of Zambia(2012); STOP-TB Partnership-WHO Kochon Prize & Medal(2012); Royal Society of TM&H Donald Mackay Medal (2014);Times Higher Education Award (2014); UCLHospitals NHS-Foundation Trust Excellence Award for World Class Research (2015); UK-NIHR Senior Investigator Award(2017); Karolinska Institutet,Sweden:'Doctorate honoris causa' for "exceptional contributions to science, healthcare & humanity at large"(2016); Knighthood-Knight Bachelor from Her Majesty the Queen (Birthday Honours List June,2017); The Union Medal (2018)-highest honour accorded by the IUTBLD; Mahathir Science Award(2020)-the most prestigious global award for Tropical Sciences. 

PUBLICATIONS: a).660 peer-reviewed PUBMED articles (Google Scholar, H-index=130; i10index=990; Citations=80,500; Clarivate 2020, 2019 and 2018 lists of the world's most highly cited /influential authors), b).21 medical textbooks, including the classics: Manson’s Tropical Diseases (co-ed.G.C.Cook);Tuberculosis; A Comprehensive Clinical Reference (co-ed.S.Schaaf); Granulomatous Disorders (co-ed.D.James); Perspectives in Medicine-TB (co-eds: S.Kaufmann & E.Rubin), c).Numerous expert reports and journal themes series (http://www.unza-uclms.org/tb-theme-series).

Research Summary

Professor Sir Alimuddin Zumla’s research has focused on killer infectious diseases affecting adults and children:(http://www.unza-uclms.org/)

a).RESPIRATORY TRACT INFECTIONS particularly, Tuberculosis (TB), TB-HIV/AIDS co-infections, MERS-coronavirus, COVID-19, Community and Hospital acquired pneumonia, Transmission of RTIs at mass gathering events.

b).EMERGING AND RE-EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES with epidemic potential which threaten global health security: i).Multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis. ii). Zoonotic infections eg. Coronaviruses (MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, COVID-19), EBOLA, Chikungunya. iii). Antibiotic resistant infections(See website:http://www.unza-uclms.org/pandora-id-net)

1.CLINICAL TRIALS FOR EVALUATION NEW DIAGNOSTICS, DRUGS, TREATMENT AND PROPHYLACTICS FOR RESPIRATORY TRACT INFECTIONS: Professor Zumla has developed and 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, the results of which have changed global clinical practice. Current networks span 67 partners in 34 countries across 4 continents.

2. PATHOGENESIS AND EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDIES: Pioneering autopsy studies of African children and adults undertaken by Sir Zumla and teams yielded high impact data on pathogenesis of killer respiratory tract infections. Sentinel epidemiological and clinical studies showed the emergence of extensively drug resistant TB in Eastern Europe and Southern Africa. A novel 'Mass Gatherings Medicine' initiative has several basic science, translational clinical and operational studies are ongoing. Recently - pioneering cross-continental SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) immuno-pathogenesis and autopsy studies  (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=zumla+covid-19+immunology&show_snippets=off&sort=date&size=200)

3.RESEARCH INTO THE EPIDEMIOLOGY, DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OF KILLER RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS INCLUDING MDR-TB, MERS-COV AND SARS-COv-2 (COVID-19): 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. Evaluation of new and novel rapid TB diagnostic technologies in inpatient settings in paediatric and adult wards. Autopsy studies show a huge clinical load of undiagnosed sub-clinical TB now call for more pro-active screening for TB at all points of care.

Teaching Summary

1. CHAMPIONING GLOBAL HEALTH TEACHING AND CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT: Pioneered and championed 'Global Health' at UCL since 1994 as Director of the UCL Centre for Infectious Diseases and International Health. In 1998 teamed up with Prof John Yudkin (Whittington UCL campus) to form the UCL International Health and Medical Education Centre (IHMEC) which introduced Special Study modules (SSMs) and the intercalated BSC in Global Health, and the popular Annual UCL ‘Lancet’ Global Health Lectures. In 2006, when the Institute of Child Health was incorporated by UCL, it merged with IHMEC to form UCL Institute of Global Health (subsequent Directors of UCL-IGH were Prof A.Costello,2006-2014; Prof I.Abubakar 2014-date).    

2. UNDERGRADUATE, DOCTORAL AND POSTDOCTORAL SUPERVISION AT UCL AND AS VISITING PROFESSOR TO THE SEVERAL INSTITUTIONS eg: Institute of Child Health, London; University of Zambia School of Medicine;Lusaka, Zambia; University of Amsterdam; Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), University of Tor Vergata (Rome), King AbdulAziz Univ (Jeddah). Committee Member and Secretary of the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine (2000-2007). Co-PI on three Europe-Africa capacity development, training and research consortia: 1. CANTAM network, 2. EACCR, 3. TESA.

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

4. BOOKS: Editor of 21 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. Several editions of MRCP Part 1 and part 2 exam revision books. 

5. TEACHING THROUGH HIGH PROFILE JOURNAL THEME SERIES: 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 series on Tuberculosis (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 (2015; 2017;2019;2020), 8) Editor, annual Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine Infection Series (2000-2020), 9) Editor, ID Clinics of North America (2008,2012,2013,2019). (Other listed 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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