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Travelling to find suitable partner sites for rapid clinical trials in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, 2014
Using photography to transfer clinical trial data from within the red zone of an Ebola Treatment Centre

Jake Dunning


Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Pandemic Sciences Institute

  • Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Emerging and High Consequence Infectious Diseases
  • Consultant in Infectious Diseases and HCID, Royal Free Hospital, London
  • Director, NHS England High Consequence Infectious Diseases (contact) Network
  • Honorary Consultant, Reference Virology, UK Health Security Agency
  • Honorary Clinical Associate Professor, University College London
  • Honorary Visiting Research Fellow in Tropical Medicine

Work and interests

My research focusses on emerging and high consequence infectious diseases, covering mechanisms of pathogenesis and transmission, diagnostics , characterisation of disease, and clinical trials of potential treatments. Between 2009 and 2013, I worked on the Mechanisms of Severe Acute Influenza Consortium (MOSAIC) study, completing a PhD in viral immunology under the supervision of Prof Peter Openshaw CBE.  In 2014-2015, I was the clinical lead for ERGO’s Ebola treatment trials in West Africa, working with Prof Sir Peter Horby. Between 2015 and 2021 I was a consultant at Public Health England, with responsibility for respiratory and enteric viruses, and latterly as the Head of Emerging Infections and Zoonoses and a National Incident Director for the COVID-19 pandemic.

I re-joined ERGO in April 2021, where I lead on ERGO's contributions to the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST), the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections (HPRU-EZI), and the European Clinical Research Alliance for Infectious Diseases (ECRAID). I’ve been involved in the International Severe Acute Respiratory and emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC) and the Clinical Characterisation Protocol since their inception, and I continue to support ISARIC projects including COVID-19, plague, Lassa fever and monkeypox. I am also a core investigator within the UK CCP and ISARIC 4C.

My clinical practice is at the Royal Free Hospital, London, where I am a Consultant in Infectious Diseases and, since April 2022, Lead for High Consequence Infectious Diseases. My department houses a nationally commissioned Airborne HCID Treatment Centre, and a National High Level Isolation Unit for treating patients with Contact HCIDs, including Lassa Fever, Ebola virus disease and Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever. 

I’ve been involved in clinical, public health and research responses to viral haemorrhagic fevers, novel coronavirus infections, influenza (seasonal, avian and pandemic), enterovirus infections, acute flaccid paralysis, orthopox infections, and Zika virus. I co-lead projects and co-supervise PhD students in the NIHR Health Protection Research Units in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections. I also co-lead the NIHR-funded Assessment of Transmission and Contagiousness of COVID-19 in Contacts (ATACCC) Study. My time is split equally between clinical practice at the Royal Free and research at Oxford.

My research reflects the common goal of ERGO: conducting and enabling meaningful clinical research, with a focus on patient-centred projects and an aim to reduce the impact of emerging infections, epidemics and pandemics. In addition to working on current and persistent challenges, I’ll be working with the team and international partners on a process of continuous improvement, research-readiness and collaborative working, so that we are even better prepared to study and mitigate future outbreaks, wherever they occur.

Investigating differences in host immune responses to understand why severities of illness differ. Shown here are 231 transcripts in blood from influenza patients