Faculty of Medical Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Judith Hall

Senior Lecturer

Background

Qualifications

BSc Biochemistry, University of Warwick
PhD University of Newcastle

Memberships

Society for Immunology

Society for General Microbiology

Biochemical Society




Research

Research Interests


    

Innate Defences of the Urinary Tract: Antimicrobial Proteins and Peptides

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a major health issue with up to 50% of the female population experiencing at least one episode in their lifetime and 1:4 suffering recurrent infections. Antibiotics are the mainstay treatment, but the use of such agents has led to increasing antimicrobial resistance amongst uropathogens.   My group is focussed on understanding how the urinary tract defends itself against infection and why some people are more susceptible to recurrent urinary tract infections. Collaborators include Professor Robert Pickard, Mr Chris Harding (Newcastle University & Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust), Dr Phillip Aldridge (Newcastle University), Professor Jenny Southgate (University of York), Mr Ased Ali (Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield) and Prof Soman Abraham (Duke University).  

Our focus has been on studying uncomplicated UTIs and our aims are to use clinical and in vitro approaches to:

  1. Investigate whether patients suffering repeated uncomplicated rUTIs are genetically predisposed to such infections.

  2. Understand the molecular interactions occurring between uropathogens and the vaginal and bladder epithelia.

  3. Explore potential urothelial defence mechanisms that can be exploited in the development of new therapies to be used alongside or instead of antibiotics.

A new area of research focusses on complicated UTIs and particularly those linked to the use of intermittent single use catheters (ISC). This study funded by the Rosetrees Trust is exploiting clinical samples banked from an ongoing NIHR funded study called AnTIC, led by Professor Pickard. The study is exploring potential links between patient host genetics, infection and the isolation of antibiotic resistant uropathogens.   

We acknowledge the ongoing support of our funders including the Rosetrees Trust, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Dr WilliamEdmund Harker Foundation Studentship.

Past funders include The Wellcome Trust; Wellbeing of Women and MRC (PhD studentship).   

Publications