Helping to fight infectious diseases in India

Helping to fight infectious diseases in India

  • Indian farmer holding a small seedling
    Development in prevention strategies, treatments and vaccinations will help to save lives

One of the biggest challenges of the 21st century is developing prevention strategies, treatments and vaccinations to combat infectious diseases, which kill more people worldwide than any other medical condition.

Fighting infectious diseases

Professor Sharon Peacock, from Cambridge’s Department of Medicine, is a world expert in melioidosis, a soil-borne bacterial infection of humans and animals which, if left untreated, is fatal in up to 50 per cent of those affected in Asia, and is increasingly to be found in India.

Thanks to the Cambridge-Hamied Visiting Lecture Scheme, Professor Peacock visited India in October 2012, where she trained Indian practitioners in diagnostic techniques which are crucial to identifying and detecting the causative organism (Burkholderia pseudomallei).

“The Cambridge-Hamied Visiting Lecture Scheme was instrumental in this educational initiative to raise awareness of a serious infectious disease that is frequently misdiagnosed and overlooked in the diagnostic laboratory as a contaminant”, says Professor Peacock. 

Partnership working

Professor Peacock, who was awarded a CBE for her services to medical microbiology in the 2015 New Year Honours list, has been working with researchers at Kasturba Medical College, Karnataka, India, as part of a worldwide collaborative consortium. Together, they are drawing up a risk map for melioidosis in India and researching the bacterium responsible for this devastating disease.

Established in 2009 by the Yusuf and Farida Hamied Foundation, the Visiting Lecture Scheme is central to Cambridge’s partnership with India. It provides vital support to gifted academics, giving them the means to visit each other’s research groups to discuss and exchange ideas, and the opportunity to nurture these collaborations into long-term working partnerships.


India and Cambridge are becoming major partners in world-changing research, based on... hundreds of individual academic collaborations.

Professor Sharon Peacock, Department of Medicine

Our commitment

For a global university such as Cambridge, working together with international research partners maximises the chance of innovative ideas being transformed into practical applications that benefit communities around the world. This is crucial to the University’s mission of meeting the challenges facing society this century. India and Cambridge are becoming major partners in world-changing research, based on the firm foundations of hundreds of individual academic collaborations and pioneering research projects from stem cells to fuel cells, from crop science to sustainability.

Cambridge is committed to expanding the number of opportunities for the most talented in India and Cambridge to work together in order to maximise the potential of its joint research endeavours. There are many exciting projects in the pipeline which have the potential to improve people’s lives across the world – from improving food supplies and cancer research to health diagnoses using mobile phone technology. Further support and investment from the Yusuf and Farida Hamied Foundation in 2014 is helping to increase the impact that the India and Cambridge partnership has on communities across the globe.

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