Before joining the Crick, Robert J Wilkinson was a Medical Research Council (MRC) Programme Leader in the Division of Mycobacterial Research at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research in London and remains a Wellcome Senior Fellow in Clinical Science at Imperial College London. Both posts are seconded to the University of Cape Town where Wilkinson is an Honorary Professor and directs that university's Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa.
His present research interests include clinical and immunological aspects of tuberculosis, particularly in the context of HIV-1 infection.
Wilkinson trained in medicine in Cambridge and Oxford universities and at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, London. He undertook postdoctoral research at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland OH and at Imperial College before moving to Cape Town in 2004.
Wilkinson has co-authored around 295 articles and reviews on infectious diseases with emphasis on tuberculosis.