NDM Research Groups
Research groups within the Nuffield Department of Medicine
I lead an established research group with a focus on T cell immunology relevant to gut and liver disease, and I seek to translate laboratory and clinical findings through to human experimental medicine studies.
My research uses expertise in microbiology and immunology in tropical countries to address key questions that advance treatment of bacterial infection and vaccine discovery.
John gained a MRC Clinician Scientist Award to work at Oxford University researching HIV evolution and strategies for HIV eradication. He is currently the scientific lead and co-chair of ‘CHERUB’, (Collaborative HIV Eradication of Reservoirs: UK BRC), an NIHR-supported collaboration dedicated to finding a cure for HIV infection. He also works as an Honorary Consultant Physician at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
For the past 20 years our group has been based in the Peter Medawar Building for Pathogen Research at the University of Oxford, where our primary research focus has been the South African HIV epidemic. To this end we are involved in multiple studies in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa, the area of highest HIV prevalence in the country, along with Kimberly in the Northern Cape.
Infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Our group works on the immune response to these infections, focusing on both the host and the pathogen. As there is currently no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C infection, many of our projects have addressed aspects of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and vaccine responses. In addition, our group also looks at a range of viruses and bacteria.
We work on hepatitis B virus (HBV), a substantial global health challenge with an estimated burden of 290 million infected individuals, leading to 800,000 deaths per year. We have diverse multi-disciplinary projects, underpinned by strong clinical links, with the united aim of improving an understanding of how the interaction between host and virus can lead to different outcomes. We have a particular focus on populations in sub-Saharan Africa, where HBV infection is endemic and populations are particularly vulnerable to liver disease associated with chronic infection.
My principal research interest and focus has been in the evolution and epidemiology of virus infections, and interactions with their hosts. This has led to a variety of research investigations ranging from evolutionary studies of virus variability and recombination, molecular epidemiology and investigations of viral pathogenesis and interactions of virus with host cell defences.
The Wheeler Lab is primarily researching how the highly motile single cell eukaryotic parasites which cause leishmaniasis (Leishmania species) and sleeping sickness (African trypanosomes) control their swimming and how this contributes to progression through their life cycles.