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Alex Mentzer


NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer

Our work uses modern genomic approaches applied to large-scale cohorts to answer multiple questions relating to susceptibility to, and outcomes with multiple infectious diseases including COVID-19. I am an infectious disease physician working in Oxford Universities NHS Foundation Trust and I am involved in the recruitment and analysis of multiple cohorts including ISARIC, Sepsis Immunomics and the Biorepository for Adult Infectious Disease that have spearheaded local research into SARS-CoV-2, as well as UK Biobank, the VaccGene consortium and the Mexico Biobank. Our work is driven by the observation that genome-wide association studies of infectious disease susceptibility have identified fewer novel associations than expected compared to other auto-immune traits. These apparent shortcomings can be attributed to multiple reasons including differential exposure to infectious agents, substantial microbial heterogeneity and diverse population structures in those populations suffering the greatest burden of infectious disease. We use several methods to tackle these problems including the use of multiplexed antibody profiling of responses to infections as proxy markers of infectious disease, comprehensive population substructure analysis and detailed phenotyping using biochemical assays. We use these methods to understand our interaction with multiple infectious agents including herpes, papilloma and hepatitis virus infections, whooping cough, malaria and more recently coronavirus. Our ultimate goal is to use the findings from our work to improve the health of populations affected by infection.


  1. Mentzer AJ*, Brenner N* et al.; A scalable 20-agent Multiplex Serology platform applied to UK Biobank to define host-pathogen-environment relationships and disease susceptibility; MedRxiv 2019
  2. Mentzer AJ*, Muriuki JJ*, Band G et al.; The ferroportin Q248H mutation protects from anemia, but not malaria or bacteremia;  Science Advances; 4;5(9) 2019
  3. Gurdasani D, Carstensen T … Mentzer AJ… Sandhu MS; Uganda Genome Resource Enables Insights into Population History and Genomic Discovery in Africa ; Cell; 179(4):984-1002.e36 2019
  4. Brenner N, Mentzer AJ et al.; Validation of Multiplex Serology for human hepatitis viruses B and C, human T-lymphotropic virus 1 and Toxoplasma gondii; PLoS One:14(1):e0210407 2018
  5. Brenner N, Mentzer AJ et al.; Validation of Multiplex Serology detecting human herpesviruses 1-5; PLoS One: 13(12) 2019
  6. Shalcross L, Mentzer AJ et al.; Cohort study protocol: Bioresource in Adult Infectious Diseases (BioAID);  Well. Open. Res. 3:97 2018
  7. Bergström A, Oppenheimer SJ, Mentzer AJ et al.; A Neolithic Expansion and Strong Genetic Structure in the Independent History of New Guinea; Science; 15;357 2017