Richard Moxon’s research into the bacterial causes of meningitis in children has been responsible for saving thousands of lives and preventing even more cases of brain damage. He has combined genomic and molecular approaches with public health initiatives, leading to a continuing programme of vaccine trials in children.
Richard is especially distinguished for his work on the type B antigen on the surface of the Haemophilus influenzae bacterium, once the most common cause of meningitis in children. Since 1992, the vaccine his group trialled has been routinely given to infants, leading to a 98 per cent fall in cases of Hib meningitis.
His group also participated in sequencing the genome of Neisseria meningitidis Group B, which remains a major cause of meningitis; a vaccine developed from this research has now been implemented into the United Kingdom’s routine infant immunisation programme. His work on hypervariable genetic sequences has had a seminal impact on understanding how pathogens adapt to the changing environments of the host during transmission and disease pathogenesis.
Interest and expertise
Health and human sciences
paediatric infectious diseases. Biology and prevention of bacterial infections
For helping pioneer the field of molecular microbiology; discovering contingency loci in bacteria that facilitate rapid evolution under selection and making key contributions to the development of meningitis vaccines.