Professor Martin Antonio
Professor Martin Antonio is the leader of the molecular biology group at the MRC Unit The Gambia and was recently awarded an honorary professorship at the Division of Microbiology & Immunity, Warwick Medical School, Coventry, UK. He is also the Director of WHO Regional Reference Laboratory for Invasive Bacterial Diseases and the MRC Programme Leader-Track at MRCG. Originally from Ghana, Martin trained in molecular microbiology in the UK and set up the molecular microbiology research group in 2005, when he was first appointed at MRCG. Since then, Martin was instrumental in establishing the molecular capabilities at The Unit. Martin’s research is focused on the leverage of new molecular technologies in diagnosis of tropical infections, investigation of microbial transmission and clinical trials. Martin’s group has led and participated in a growing number of large-scale international research projects, investigating the aetiology of pneumonia, diarrhoea, serving as the WHO reference laboratory for pneumococcal disease and establishing large disease surveillance platforms for bacterial infections across Africa. Part of the Vaccines & Immunity Theme, Martin is an outstanding networker in science with collaborations across the globe with a keen determination to make state-of-the-art methodologies available to African investigators and research sites in Africa. He is an advocate for training at all levels, specifically the advanced methodology courses in Africa. Martin heads the higher degree committee at the MRCG for students registered via the Open University in the UK. In February 2016, Prof Antonio’s team was called upon by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to assist with the recent outbreak of meningitis in Ghana and his team helped the Ghanaian government and public health officers to identify the causative pathogens by applying the molecular tools available through the MRCG’s laboratories.