Harish Nair

Professor of Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Global Health, Co-Head of Centre for Global Health


Professor Harish Nair is Co-Head of the Centre for Global Health and Co-Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Population Health Research and Training. He  leads the Respiratory Viral Epidemiology research programme at the University of Edinburgh. He has led several large collaborative projects on global child health and infectious diseases. He currently leads (and is the co-ordinator of) the Preparing for RSV Immunisation and Surveillance in Europe (PROMISE), REspiratory Syncytial virus Consortium in EUrope (RESCEU) and the Respiratory Virus Global Epidemiology Network (RSV GEN). He also leads the Infectious Diseases Research Programme in the NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE). He is a co-founder of ReSViNET. In 2019, Professor Nair was awarded the Principal’s Medal for Exceptional Service by the University of Edinburgh; and the Hind Rattan (Jewel of India) Award by the NRI Society of India.







Responsibilities & affiliations

Professor Nair is the Post Graduate Research Advisor for Global Health (PhDs and MRes) at the University of Edinburgh. Professor Nair is an Honorary Professor at the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt) at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; and a Visiting Professor at Nanjing Medical University, China. He is a member of several WHO Technical Advisory Groups and Chairs the External Advisory Group for WHO’s Global RSV Surveillance Programme. He is a member of NIHR Global Research Professorships panel and the MRC Infections and Immunity Board. He was previously a member of the Independent Steering Committee for Global Influenza and RSV Initiative (GIRI).  In 2023, Professor Nair was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Professor Nair is a Regional Editor for the Journal of Global Health and Editor of three Journal of Infectious Diseases supplements on RSV.

Undergraduate teaching

Professor Nair is involved in supervision MBChB students doing an intercalated (BMedSci) degree in Epidemiology and Global Health. Previously, he supervised 4-6 MBChB Student Selected Component (SSC) year 5 projects each year. He generally encourages all his students to take their work to publication and to date over 70 of the student projects have been published in leading peer-reviewed journals including Lancet journals.

Postgraduate teaching

Professor Nair leads the elective course “Epidemiology for Public Health” within the Master of Public Health (MPH) programme. He supervises MPH student dissertations every year. Professor Nair has supervised 12 PhD students who have successfully defended their PhDs on Respiratory Viral Infections, Child Pneumonia, Gender Inequity in Child Health and Refugee Health. He is currently supervising 4 PhD students in Edinburgh on various topics related to his research interests.

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

Professor Nair’s research focuses on child pneumonia. He has received over £62 million (£58.5 million as PI / Work Package Leader) in grant funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, NIHR, World Health Organisation, UNICEF and Sanofi Pasteur. He has led studies that reported the first and most widely cited disease burden estimates for RSV, influenza, human metapneumovirus and human parainfluenza virus related child pneumonia. The updated current estimates are regarded as the most comprehensive and respected in the field. He has also led the most comprehensive estimates of RSV burden in older adults. Apart from his main interest in child pneumonia epidemiology, he has a strong interest in refugee health and gender inequities in child health and has contributed to internationally leading research on neonatal health, maternal health and health sector reforms.

Project activity

Professor Harish Nair’s projects include work on child pneumonia, RSV, influenza and other infectious diseases like pneumococcus, meningococcus and Clostridium difficile.





Project list on Edinburgh Research Explorer

View all 191 publications on Research Explorer