Infection Medicine

Professor Heather Cubie

Division of Infection and Pathway Medicine

Professor Heather Cubie MBE BSc, MSc, PhD, FRCPath, FRSE

Senior Advisor, Global Health Academy, Honorary Fellow DIPM

  • University of Edinburgh
  • Ground Floor – Doorway 3, Teviot Quad, Teviot Place
  • Edinburgh EH8 9AG

Contact details

Personal Profile

Heather Cubie is a retired Consultant Clinical Scientist with an Honorary Chair in the University of Edinburgh College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. As R&D Director for NHS Lothian from 1996-2008, her mission was to ensure a supportive culture for research within our publicly funded National Health Service and facilitation of appropriate applied research activity in collaboration with a wide range of academic staff.  As Head of Service for training of Clinical Scientists in Microbiology for Scotland from 1994-2012, she actively contributed to structured career development opportunities for Clinical Scientists, including opportunities for collaborative research across disciplines and professions. She was awarded an MBE for her contribution to healthcare science in Scotland in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2012 and made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in the same year.

She was the first Director of the National HPV Reference Laboratory in the Specialist Virology Centre in Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and until 2014, lead of the HPV Research Group based in the University of Edinburgh, where she established the Scottish HPV Archive and the Scottish HPV Investigators’ network (SHINe).  

Her HPV expertise and publications span more than 40 years and relate particularly to translational HPV research for cervical disease and cancer. She developed and used a number of HPV detection and genotyping systems and worked on validation and quality assurance as a crucial part of clinical HPV testing. She was actively involved in the roll-out of HPV Vaccine in Scotland and in the epidemiological surveillance which led to changes in the national cervical screening programme. Current interests centre round reduction of the global burden of cervical cancer. Together with Dr Christine Campbell of the Usher Institute, she has been instrumental in the establishment of a sustainable ‘see and treat' cervical screening service, initially in Nkhoma, Central Malawi and now across all three Regions. The introduction of thermal ablation for treatment of early lesions came from Scottish experience, was accepted first by the Malawian Ministry of Health and now recommended by WHO as appropriate for LMIC. Funding for the two programmes (2013-2016 and 2018-2023) has come from the Scottish Government.

Major Grants (from 2004)

2004          Health Technology Assessment, £1,302,772 over 4 years to carry outA comparison of automated technology and manual  cervical screening’  with Professor HC Kitchener (Lead, University of Manchester)

2005          Glaxo Smith Kline, £156,000 over 2.5 years for a study entitled ‘Immune Responses to human papillomavirus antigens in patients with low grade cervical dyskaryosis’, (local PI:Cubie)

2006          Chief Scientist Office, £47,662 over 1 year. ‘Distribution of HPV types associated with anogenital cancers in Scotland and implications for the potential impact of new HPV vaccines’  (CI: Cubie)

2007          Health Protection Scotland, £135,000 over 18 months to develop an HPV test suitable for use on urine samples and to provide baseline surveillance data on prevalence of HPV types in teenagers in Scotland. (CI: Cubie)

2007        NHS Executive National Screening Committee,  £42,848 over 6 months to study the storage and transport of LBC samples for HPV testing in a hub and spokes testing model( CI: Cubie)

2007         National AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Agency, France (ANRS) £174,000 over 5 years.  A long-term follow-up study of HPV infection in HIV infected French women. With Dr Isabelle Heard (lead)

2008    CSO, £518,000 over 5 years; Scottish Cervical Cancer Prevention Programme: Establishing an HPV Clinical Research Centre for long-term follow-up of HPV infection and associated disease in a vaccination era, through the creation of a population based sample archive. (CI: Cubie).

2008         CSO, £497,000  over 5 years ; Scottish Cervical Cancer Prevention Programme:  Assessing and modelling the impact of HPV 16/18 immunisation on the performance of current cervical screening performance and the effectiveness of alternative cervical screening strategies to optimise cancer prevention in the HPV immunisation era. (CI: M Cruickshank, University of Aberdeen)

2008          CSO; £70,000  over 1 year Detecting high risk HPV late mRNAs in liquid based cytology samples from patients with cervical lesions for development of new diagnostic procedures. (CI: S Graham, University of Glasgow)

2009       GSK: £169,000 over 2 years; educational grant to establish a Scottish HPV Archive for long-term follow-up of HPV infection and disease in women attending cervical screening in the era of HPV vaccination. (CI: Cubie)

2010        CSO: £210,818 over 2 years.  Cervical HPV infection in vaccinated and unvaccinated women– new markers of infection, immunity and disease. CI: S Howie, University of Edinburgh)

2012        CSO: £215,166 over 18 months. HPV oral prevalence in Scotland (HOPSCOTCH) feasibility study (CI: D Conway, University of Glasgow)  

2013      Scottish Government Malawi Development fund: £399,399 over 3 years. Developing a sustainable programme of cervical screening using VIA  (visual inspection with acetic acid) and HPV (human papillomavirus) testing in rural Malawi. (Joint CIs: Cubie & Campbell)

2014     CSO: £280,985 over 2 years. ETM/329. Development of an objective laboratory triage test for HPV infected women with clinically significant cervical disease (CI: S Howie)

2018       Scottish Government International Development fund: £1,288,378 over 4.5 years, entitled “Moving towards sustainability: strengthening rural health facilities, upskilling providers and developing mentoring capacity to support roll-out of cervical cancer ‘screen and treat’ services across Malawi”. (Joint CIs: Campbell &Cubie)

2021     EU Horizon 2020 Framework Programme Project: Eur 2,548,565 over 3 years for project 964270, entitled “Prevention and Screening Innovation Project Toward Elimination of Cervical Cancer” [PRESCRIP-TEC] (Lead: Groningen University, Netherlands; local PIs Campbell & Cubie)

 Edinburgh Research Explorer Publication List