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Alex Mentzer

Clinical Research Fellow

Research summary

Vaccines have revolutionised public health, changing the face of worldwide infectious disease epidemiology. Despite their effectiveness on a global scale, every individual differs in the amount of protection they receive from vaccination. Up to 10 % of people receiving vaccines such as those against measles and hepatitis B virus may not respond at all. My research is focussed upon understanding why some people do not respond effectively to vaccination looking particularly at the genetic factors associated with this variation. I am coordinating a multi-national collaboration including thousands of vaccinated African children which will measure the variability in their response to seven of the vaccines they receive during infancy and then correlate this variation to their genetic make-up. We are collaborating with Professor Alison Elliott in Uganda and Professor Shabir Madhi in South Africa alongside other collaborators in Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Netherlands and the University of Cambridge, UK to achieve our goals. Our ultimate aim is to identify molecular pathways that can be targeted for improved vaccine adjuventation approaches for multiple vaccines using our strong links with the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford.

I qualified in Medicine from University College London in 2008 and my background is as a trainee in General Medicine with a focus on Infectious Disease. I have a specialist interest in educating fellow doctors about the burden and management of HIV and other infectious diseases and I have been involved in a range of large scale genetic association studies identifying the factors associated with the development of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. I gained significant experience in the coordination of such large studies and complex human genetics working with Professor Chris Mathew at King’s College London. I joined the Hill laboratory in 2012 as an Oxford University Clinical Academic Graduate School Clinical Research Fellow.

Supervisor: Professor Adrian Hill

Co-supervisor: Professor Alison Elliott, MRC/Uganda Virus Research Institute, Uganda

Selected Publications

Mentzer A and Jacobs M; A mass in the liver; BMJ 2013; 346:f2036

Wellcome Trust Case-Control Consortium; Host-microbe interactions have shaped the genetic architecture of inflammatory bowel disease Nature 2012;491(7422):119-24

Mentzer A, Perry M, Fitzgerald N, Barrington S, Siddiqui A, Kulasegaram R; Is it all cerebral toxoplasmosis?; Lancet 2012; 379(9812):286

Mentzer A, Karalliedde J, Williams H, Guzder R and Kulasegaram R, Backache with fever: a unique presentation of advanced HIV infection, J AIDS and Clin Research 2010; 1:104

Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, Genome-wide association study of CNVs in 16,000 cases of eight common diseases and 3,000 shared controls, Nature 2010;464(7289):713-20