Marc LaForce visits the Dunn School as a Guy Newton Fellow

Marc LaForce visits the Dunn School as a Guy Newton Fellow

Dr Marc LaForce, an eminent figure in the field of meningococcal meningitis whose work has helped eradicate the disease from sub-Saharan Africa, is visiting the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology for two months as a Guy Newton Fellow from 1st September 2018.

Meningitis is a potentially life-threatening infection of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Dr LaForce’s recent role as the Director of the Meningitis Vaccine Project focused on the development of a novel, affordable vaccine against Group A meningococcal infections. This was introduced to sub-Saharan Africa in 2010, eliminating meningitis caused by this strain in the regions where the vaccine was taken up. Dr LaForce continues to contribute to vaccine development and is currently the Director of Technical Services at the Serum Institute of India.

Marc spearheaded development and implementation of a vaccine which has been given to over 350 million people across Africa in the last eight years,” said the Dunn School’s Professor Christoph Tang, Dr LaForce’s host whose lab studies the mechanisms by which bacteria cause meningitis. “His remarkable contributions have eliminated the scourge of bacterial meningitis from sub-Saharan Africa. In the past, serogroup A strains of Neisseria meningitidis caused epidemics affecting hundreds of thousands of people every few years. I am delighted that Marc has agreed to spend time at the Dunn School.”

The Guy Newton Fellowship scheme is generously funded by the Guy Newton Research Fund, which aims to promote research and teaching at the Dunn School by encouraging short working visits by outstanding scientists. Fittingly, Guy Newton was one of the scientists that made key contributions to the development of cephalosporin – a broad class of antibiotic analogues to penicillin and the most frequently prescribed class of antibiotic in the world, with a global annual market of over £10 billion. Like Dr LaForce’s work, the discovery of cephalosporin has saved countless lives over the years since it was introduced as an antibiotic in 1964.


 Written by Laura Hankins


Thursday, October 25, 2018 - 09