Professor Adrian Hill, Kt.Back to People

Subjects: Vaccinology
Department: Medicine
Phone: 01865 617611


Adrian Hill moved from Trinity College, Dublin to Magdalen as an undergraduate in 1978. He read medicine and then undertook a DPhil focused on the genetics of Pacific Islanders. He joined the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine as a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow in 1988 and began work on immunogenetics in West Africa that led to his current interest in malaria vaccine design and development. He is now the Director of the Jenner Institute (www.jenner.ac.uk), which he founded in 2005, and the Lakshmi Mittal & Family Professor of Vaccinology. The Jenner Institute, focuses on designing and developing vaccines for infectious diseases prevalent in developing countries, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
In 2020 the Jenner Institute designed and developed what is, in 2021, the most widely distributed vaccine against COVID-19. He is a passionate believer in the power of molecular medicine to design and deliver new health care interventions that will improve the lives of the poorest billion in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. His own vaccine research programme has developed one of the most promising potential vaccines for malaria which is currently in large scale trials in young children in sub-Saharan Africa. He was made an honorary Knight Batchelor in the 2021 Birthday Honours list.


He is the academic lead for a Master’s level course on Human and Veterinary Vaccinology, and directs a module on vaccinology for the MSc in International Health and Tropical Medicine. He has supervised over 50 DPhil students.

Research Interests

Adrian trained in medicine at Trinity College, Dublin and then Magdalen (BA 1979) and later undertook a DPhil in human genetics before clinical specialist accreditation in infectious diseases. In 1994 he was one of the founding scientists of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, where he directs a research programme on genetic susceptibility factors impacting bacterial diseases and vaccine responses. Since the late 1990s he has developed a leading malaria vaccine programme, spanning over 60 clinical trials in Europe and Africa, with one vaccine now showing high level efficacy and in late stage development. This programme has introduced and validated particularly immunogenic vaccine technologies including chimpanzee adenoviral vectors and virus-like particles in saponin adjuvants.
In 2005 he founded the Jenner Institute at Oxford University to accelerate academic vaccine development for a range of infectious diseases, and partnered with the Pirbright Institute on veterinary vaccine development. The Jenner Institute is now the largest academic vaccine centre globally with clinical-stage vaccine programmes against sixteen diseases, including HIV, TB, emerging pathogens and cancer. In 2020, with many others at the Institute, he helped develop and partner a new chimpanzee adenoviral vector-based COVID-19 vaccine to achieve licensure and large-scale manufacture in less than a year. This contribution was recognised by the award of an honorary KBE in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honour list.
He has published over 600 research papers with >60,000 citations and has co-founded several spin-off companies, two of these located at the Oxford Science Park. He is a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal Society. Since 2004 he has been a Supernumerary Fellow and then Fellow by Special Election at Magdalen.

Selected Publications

• Hill AVS, Allsopp CE, Kwiatkowski D, Anstey NM, Twumasi P, Rowe PA, Bennett S, Brewster D, McMichael AJ, Greenwood BM. 1991. Common west African HLA antigens are associated with protection from severe malaria. Nature 352: 595-600
• Hill AVS, Elvin J, Willis AC, Aidoo M, Allsopp CE, Gotch FM, Gao XM, Takiguchi M, Greenwood BM, Townsend AR, McMichael AJ, Whittle HC. 1992. Molecular analysis of the association of HLA-B53 and resistance to severe malaria. Nature 360: 434-9
• Lalvani A, Pathan AA, Durkan H, Wilkinson KA, Whelan A, Deeks JJ, Reece WH, Latif M, Pasvol G, Hill AV. 2001. Enhanced contact tracing and spatial tracking of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection by enumeration of antigen-specific T cells. Lancet 357:2017-21. 326 citations
• McConkey SJ, Reece WH, Moorthy VS, 24 co-authors, Hill AVS. 2003. Enhanced T-cell immunogenicity of plasmid DNA vaccines boosted by recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara in humans. Nature Medicine 9:729-35.
• McShane H, Pathan AA, Sander CR, Keating SM, Gilbert SC, Huygen K, Fletcher HA, Hill AV. 2004. Recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing antigen 85A boosts BCG-primed and naturally acquired antimycobacterial immunity in humans. Nature Medicine 10:1240-4.
• Khor CC, Vannberg FO, Chapman SJ, 31 co-authors, Hill AV. 2010. CISH and susceptibility to infectious diseases. New England Journal of Medicine 362:2092-101
• Ewer K, Rampling T, Venkatraman N, 50 co-authors, Lawrie A, Gilbert SC, Hill AV. 2016. A Monovalent Chimpanzee Adenovirus Ebola Vaccine Boosted with MVA. New England Journal of Medicine 374:1635-46.
• Voysey M, Clemens SAC, Madhi SA, 70 co-authors, Vekemans J, Villafana TL, Watson MEE, Williams CJ, Douglas AD*, Hill AVS*, Lambe T*, Gilbert SC*, Pollard AJ*; Oxford COVID Vaccine Trial Group. Safety and efficacy of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222) against SARS-CoV-2: an interim analysis of four randomised controlled trials in Brazil, South Africa, and the UK. Lancet. 2021 Jan 9;397(10269):99-111.
• Datoo MS, Natama MH, Somé A, Traoré O, Rouamba T, Bellamy D, Yameogo P, Valia D, Tegneri M, Ouedraogo F, Soma R, Sawadogo S, Sorgho F, Derra K, Rouamba E, Orindi B, Ramos Lopez F, Flaxman A, Cappuccini F, Kailath R, Elias S, Mukhopadhyay E, Noe A, Cairns M, Lawrie A, Roberts R, Valéa I, Sorgho H, Williams N, Glenn G, Fries L, Reimer J, Ewer KJ, Shaligram U, Hill AVS, Tinto H. Efficacy of a low-dose candidate malaria vaccine, R21 in adjuvant Matrix-M, with seasonal administration to children in Burkina Faso: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2021, 397:1809-1818.