We are pleased to announce that Professor William (Bill) Horsnell will be joining the University’s Medical Research Council Centre for Medical Mycology (MRC CMM), from the University of Cape Town in November 2023.

Professor Horsnell studied Applied Zoology at the University of Leeds, completed his PhD at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London and was a postdoc at the University of Liverpool and then the University of Cape Town (UCT).

He landed his first tenured position at UCT, rising to Professor of Infection and Immunity. During this time, he also undertook a sabbatical year at the CNRS-Orleans, and latterly, held a Readership at the University of Birmingham.

Professor Horsnell’s group focuses on two big questions. Firstly, how does immunity against one infection influence control of a different infection? For example, his team is studying how gastrointestinal infections affect the control of sexually transmitted infections, revealing for the first time, that eosinophils regulate viral pathology in the female reproductive tract. This has been successfully translated in field studies in West Africa. He is also undertaking studies addressing how helminth infection induced eosinophils alter host control of the fungal pathogen Pneumocystis.

Secondly, he is interested in the mechanisms that permit mothers to transfer immunity to their children. Ongoing studies are addressing how maternal immunity alters short- and long-term control of infections (including helminths, Candida, Salmonella and Pneumocococus) in offspring via mechanisms including microchimeric regulation of immunity and epithelial development in offspring. His group are translating their pre-clinical discoveries in human studies.