Centre for Inflammation Research

Professor David Dockrell

David Dockrell's group investigates macrophages in host defence against bacteria and viruses with emphasis on microbicide mechanisms and cell death paradigms in pulmonary infection and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Professor David Dockrell

Chair of Infection Medicine / Director of the Centre for Inflammation Research

  • Centre for Inflammation Research

Contact details

Group Members

  • Jennifer Marshall - Research Assistant
  • Brian McHugh - Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Clark Russell – ECAT Fellow
  • Jonathan Twynam Perkins - MD student


Macrophages play a key role in the pathogenesis of infectious diseases. We are interested in understanding how key macrophage innate immune functions protect healthy individuals against infection, despite recurring challenge, and how these core responses are perturbed by human disease inducing susceptibility to infection. We believe that by optimising innate immune responses we can limit our reliance on antimicrobial therapy and provide an alternative strategy to that focused on targeting pathogens by vaccine responses or with antimicrobials to which they can develop resistance.

Research Overview

We study a variety of bacterial infections but focus in particular on Streptococcus pneumoniae and other respiratory pathogens. We also examine Staphylococcus aureus and are interested in how HIV and other viral infections alter the macrophage responses to bacteria. We use a variety of models to interrogate the macrophages' function both in isolation and as part of an immune cell network. These approaches include working with patients with chronic diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and HIV. We are also interested in developing effective screening approaches to identify and manipulate key innate immune responses.

Image of macrophages overwhelmed by bacteria leading to inflammatory response and risk of inflammatory injury to exposed tissue
A) Macrophages have a finite capacity to clear bacteria at mucosal surfaces (AM - Alveolar Macrophage). B) When this capacity is overwhelmed by bacterial numbers or virulence or by reduced host immune competence additional elements of the inflammatory response are recruited but expose tissue to the risk of inflammatory injury (PMN - Polymorphonuclear leukocytes).

The following PDF provides a brief visual summary of this group’s current research.


You can view a full catalogue of graphical research summaries for each group in the Centre for Inflammation Research by visiting our Research page.

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Biographical Profile

I am a clinician scientist who graduated from Trinity College Dublin and received further training at the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota. I am a former Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellow. Before moving to Edinburgh I was co-director of the Florey Institute, a cross faculty multidisciplinary centre, which focused on studying host-pathogen interactions in the context of Gram-positive bacteria.

Public Engagement

  • Festival of the Mind (Sheffield)
  • British Infection Association
  • British HIV Association
  • British Lung Foundation roles on Infection issues
  • Member of the Commission on Human Medicines - Anti Infectives/AIDS/Hepatology Expert Advisory Group 2010 - present


MRC Clinical Training and Development panel (Clinical Fellowship panel) 2013-2017

Other Responsibilities

I am an Infectious Disease specialist whose subspecialty interests include HIV medicine and infections in immunocompromised hosts, including transplant recipients and patients with haematological malignancy.




  • Professor Tim Mitchell (University of Birmingham)
  • Professor David Greaves (University of Oxford)
  • Professor Ruth Craig (Dartmouth Medical School, New Hampshire)
  • Dr Steve Shapiro (University of Pittsburgh)
  • Professor Simon Foster (University of Sheffield)
  • Professor Jamie Hobbs (University of Sheffield)
  • Dr Ash Cadby (University of Sheffield)
  • Professor Steve Renshaw (University of Sheffield)
  • Professor Ian Sabroe (University of Sheffield)
  • Dr Paul Collini (University of Sheffield)
  • Dr Helen Marriott (University of Sheffield) 



More information on funding at David Dockrell's Research Explorer profile.