Oxford has been at the forefront of cutting edge research investigating the basis of disease involving children and interventions to improve child health for many decades.
In the last 25 years, research in paediatrics at the University has led major new developments in tropical medicine (from malaria and dengue to health services research in resource limited settings). This includes the genetic basis of cardiac and infectious disease, the immunology of HIV in children, nutritional management of children with chronic neurological impairment, understanding of pain in the neonatal period, thymic development, haematological development in Downs syndrome, new knowledge about the molecular microbiology of important pathogens affecting children (e.g. Neisseria meningitidis and Haemophilus influenzae type b), epidemiology of infections caused by encapsulated bacteria, design and development of new vaccines for bacterial infections, efficacy and impact of meningitis, typhoid and pneumococcal vaccines and cutting edge vaccine research which now underpins both adult and paediatric immunisation around the world. The University leads the world in research on meningitis, an important disease of children and is the top rated University in infection and immunity in the UK.
As a medical specialty with a unique interest in early life adaptations to altered genetic programmes and environmental cues, Paediatrics is best positioned to interrogate and define the developmental origins that impact on human health. Indeed, every specialty in Paediatrics is involved in the care and study of developmental disorders and is therefore interested in the fundamentals of developmental biology.
Research in Paediatrics in Oxford spans basic, clinical, interventional and epidemiological research in a wide range of disciplines with a strong emphasis on translational research underpinned by basic science. The University is particularly strong in developmental biology, with a particular focus on immunology; clinical investigation and applied immunology in paediatric gastroenterology; tropical paediatrics; design, development and clinical/immunological evaluation of vaccines; and infectious diseases of children including HIV. Supervisors are situated both in the Department of Paediatrics and interdisciplinary institutes at the University including the Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine, the Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine, The Peter Medawar Building, the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, and across the Oxford Tropical Medicine Network. Additionally, the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences has a paediatric research theme aimed at improving the care of children in primary care settings.