Sancho-Shimizu lab Human Genetics of Infectious Diseases Lab

Our lab is interested in understanding the genetic basis of life-threatening infections. We’ve produced some of the first studies on the genetic causes of childhood herpes encephalitis, critical COVID-19 disease, and invasive meningococcal disease.

Our research focusses specifically on assessing rare genetic variants that affect responses to viral or bacterial infections. Some examples of these responses include proteins, called interferons, that are part of our natural defense systems, toll-like receptors (TLRs) in our cells that can recognise markers unique to specific microorganisms, and the process of autophagy, whereby our bodies destroy and reuse old or damaged cell parts.

We are currently working on identifying genes underlying herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE), severe viral infections, and invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in children.