Dr Ben Morton

Senior Clinical Lecturer

I have been affiliated with LSTM since August 2013, initially as a clinical research fellow. My doctoral research (MD) was awarded in November 2016 during which time I also qualified as a consultant in critical care medicine and anaesthesia. I have since held a substantive consultant post based at Aintree University Hospital since 2016 in parallel to developing my translational research career. I spent two years as a senior clinical lecturer at the Malawi-Liverpool Welcome Trust Clinical Research Programme (2019-2021) before returning to Liverpool in July 2021.

Research

In the UK, upon MD completion, I have successfully delivered a MRC DPFS awarded programme leading to a phase 1 MHRA clinical trials authority submission for P4 peptide, an immunomodulatory therapeutic candidate for sepsis.

Following this I worked as clinical post-doctoral research associate with the NIHR-funded IMPALA group and currently supervise two of their PhD students.

I moved to Malawi for a two-year period in June 2019, fully funded through a Wellcome Trust award, to work as clinical lead for the “MARVELS” programme. There, I esablished feasibility and safety of a pneumococcal controlled human infection model CHIM technology.

Working autonomously, I then wrote the protocol, obtained ethical and regulatory approvals, and commenced a double blinded randomised controlled trial to test the efficacy PCV13 versus placebo vaccination against experimentally induced pneumococcal carriage in Malawi. Trial recruitment commenced in March 2021 and I subsequently handed responsibility for delivery over to trained Malawian staff as part of my planned return to the UK in July 2021. During this period, I also led the opening of a new high dependency unit in Blantyre, developing context-sensitive treatment guidelines and successful delivery of highly impactful research, particularly around COVID-19. This work directly has led to development of a successful application to fund a programme of work directed to patients from LMICs with multimorbidity who present acutely to secondary care.

In addition, my work in Liverpool focuses on the development of new controlled human infection models targeting respiratory pathogens.

I currently supervise 3 PhD students

Further information

Editor, Anaesthesia Fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists (FRCA)

Fellow of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FFICM)

Selected publications

  • Morton B, Barnes KG, Anscombe C et al. Distinct clinical and immunological profiles of patients with evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in sub-Saharan Africa. Nature Communications 12: 3554 (2021)

    Mungai BN, Joekes E, Masini E, Obasi A, Manduku V, Mugi B, Ong’ango J, Kirathe D, Kiplimo R, Sitienei J, Oronje R, Morton B, Squire SB and Macpherson P. ‘If not TB, what could it be?’ Chest X-ray findings from the 2016 Kenya Tuberculosis Prevalence Survey. Thorax 2021 Jun;76(6):607-614. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2020-216123. Epub 2021 Jan 27.

    Morton B, Banda NP, Nsomba E, et al. Establishment of a high-dependency unit in Malawi. BMJ Global Health 2020; 0:e004041. DOI:10.1136/bmjgh-2020-004041

    Morton B, Penston V, McHale P, Hungerford D, Dempsey G. Clinician perception of long‐term survival at the point of critical care discharge: a prospective cohort study. Anaesthesia 2020 DOI: 10.1111/anae.15040

    Abrams ST, Morton B, Alhamdi Y, Alsabani M, Lane S, Welters ID, Wang G and Toh CH. A novel assay for neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) formation independently predicts disseminated intravascular coagulation and mortality in critically ill patients. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2019 DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201811-2111OC