University of Cambridge  

 Genetics and Infection Laboratory 


Genetic susceptiblilty to infectious diseases

Genetic variation in response to infection provides a powerful tool for analysis of infectious disease. In our laboratory we have used both population-based and family-based genetic allelic association and linkage analyses to study the role of candidate genes in disease susceptibility, and in determining response to vaccination. This has demonstrated roles for SLC11A1 (formerly NRAMP1), the IL4-IL9 gene cluster, the type I receptor (IFNGR1) for inteferon-gamma (IFN-γ), a cluster of chemokine genes on chromosome 17q11.2, and genes within the class II and class III regions of the MHC in determining susceptibility to leprosy, tuberculosis and leishmaniasis, and in regulating immune response to mycobacterial and leishmanial antigens.

We are using a combination of allelic association mapping and sequence analysis to pinpoint the disease- or immune response-associated functional variants in these candidate genes. Microsatellite genome scans have been used to identify new regions of the genome carrying putative disease susceptibility genes for tuberculosis, leprosy and visceral leishmaniasis. We are currently working in India, The Sudan, and Brazil to improve our sample sizes of affected individuals plus parents for all three diseases to facilitate fine mapping of these genes using family-based transmission disequilibrium tests of allelic association.

Group Leader
Jenefer Blackwell

Group Members
Michaela Fakiola
Sarra Jamieson
Nancy Miller
Alba Piexoto
Madhuri Raju
Genetic susceptibility
to infectious disease
From genome
to vaccines for
Last updated on the 11th August 2004
Maintained by Richard Francis.