Professor Joseph Turner

Professor of Infection Biology

Professor Turner graduated in Medical Microbiology from Newcastle University, in 1998. After deciding to specialise in parasitology, he attained an MSc in Molecular Parasitology & Vector Biology from Manchester University in 1999 and a PhD in Parasite Immunology from Nottingham University in 2004. During his PhD, he defined human cellular immune responses associated with resistance and susceptibility to gut nematodes and the influence of nematode spill-over responses modulating anti-bacterial inflammation. From 2003-2007 he was a member of Professor Mark Taylor’s research group at LSTM that demonstrated drug targeting of Wolbachia as a curative treatment for onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis via clinical studies conducted in Cameroon and Ghana. In related lab studies, he defined the molecular basis for Wolbachia-mediated inflammation. In 2007 he moved to The Centre for Immunology and Infection at York University and gained a Wellcome Trust Departmental Fellowship in 2009 to investigate the host-parasite interactions of experimental schistosome transmission. He was appointed Lecturer in Parasitology within the Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology Group in September 2010, Senior Lecturer in May 2014 and Reader in Infection Biology within Tropical Disease Biology Department in May 2019 and Professor of Infection Biology in December 2022.


Translational Research in helminth Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) drugs and diagnostics

My lab supports drug discovery and development programmes for novel curative drugs and diagnostics to eliminate human filariasis and treat veterinary filarial infections. We have expertise in taking lead therapies into clinical trials to test curative efficacy against the filarial NTDs, lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis. Two new anti-Wolbachia clinical candidates are the macrolide derivative, ABBV-4083 (phase II, in partnership with AbbVie and Drugs for neglected Diseases initiative) and the azaquinazoline, AWZ1066 (entering phase I, in partnership with Eisai Inc and University of Liverpool). A related focus of the lab is to translate basic discoveries of the molecular and cellular pathways dictating pathology induced by tissue helminths into plausible adjunctive therapeutics.

Immunopathology of helminth NTDs

My lab researches the spectrum of immunological responses that dictate major outcomes of human parasitism by tissue-dwelling helminth NTDs: limited, short term parasitism, chronic parasitism without overt disease and parasitism invoking severe inflammatory morbidity. Understanding the cellular and molecular interface between the human immune system and helminth parasites is key to the rational design of novel drugs, immunotherapies and vaccines enabling more effective and safer treatments for both infection and inflammation-related morbidity. My group are applying research models of helminth NTDs considered priority global health problems (namely, filariasis and schistosomiasis), as well as in depth immune-epidemiological surveys of parasitized human populations, to determine cellular and molecular mechanisms of host immunopathology at tissue sites of parasitological assault.

Filariasis preclinical research and the 3Rs

An important output of the lab is the assessment and validation of rodent infection models and culture systems that can reduce or replace the reliance on primates, cats or dogs in filariasis R&D. Many of these have been adopted in both internal and external partnerships to test therapeutics/diagnostics and apply pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) studies of novel anti-filarial and anthelmintic drugs.


Most recently, the lab has been supporting cross-campus LSTM / University of Liverpool efforts to establish a COVID-19 biosafety level 3 in vitro / in vivo preclinical screening platform in order to evaluate novel therapeutic strategies.


Module Organiser
LIFE236 Key Skills in Tropical Medicine (BSc Hons)

LIFE361 Human Parasitology (BSc Hons)
TROP936 Research Methods in Tropical Disease Biology (MSc)
TROP939 Tropical Disease Biology (MSc)
TROP719 Epidemiology & Control of Tropical Diseases
TROP739 Immunology of Parasitic Infections (MSc)
MRC DTP MRes Introduction to Global Health Translational Medicine Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Diploma in Tropical Nursing Project Supervisor
LIFE363 (BSc Hons)
TROP942 (MSc)

Joe is a member of the British Society for Immunology Member British Society for Parasitology

Selected publications

  • Mouse models of Loa loa Pionnier NP,…and Turner JD Nature Communications 2019

    AWZ1066S, a highly specific anti-Wolbachia drug candidate for a short-course treatment of filariasis. Hong WD,….Turner JD, Taylor MJ, Ward SA, O'Neill PM. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Jan 22;116(4):1414-1419. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1816585116.

    New macrolides as short-course oral anti-Wolbachia therapy for filariasis Taylor MJ,…Turner JD and Ward SA Science Translation Medicine 2019 11(483). doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aau2086

    Discovery of short-course anti-wolbachial quinazolines for elimination of filarial worm infections Bakowski MA,... Turner JD, Hübner MP, Hoerauf A, Roland J, Tremblay MS, Schultz PG, Sullivan W, Chu XJ, Petrassi HM, McNamara CW. Science Translational Medicine 2019 May 8;11(491). doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aav3523.

    Interleukin-4 activated macrophages mediate immunity to filarial helminth infection by sustaining CCR3-dependent eosinophilia. Turner JD,…and Taylor MJ. PLoS Pathogens, 2018 doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1006949.

    Short-course, oral flubendazole does not mediate significant efficacy against Onchocerca adult male worms or Brugia microfilariae in murine infection models Sjoberg H,… and Turner JD* PloS NTDs 2018 16;13(1):e0006356. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006356.

    Validation of ultrasound bioimaging to predict worm burden and treatment efficacy in preclinical filariasis drug screening models Marriott AE,… and Turner JD Scientific Reports 2018 8:5910 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-24294-2

    Albendazole and antibiotics synergise to deliver short-course anti-Wolbachia curative treatments in preclinical models of filariasis. Turner JD,…and Taylor MJ Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 doi:10.1073/pnas.1710845114.

    Short-Course, High-Dose Rifampicin Achieves Wolbachia Depletion Predictive of Curative Outcomes in Preclinical Models of Lymphatic Filariasis and Onchocerciasis. Aljayyoussi G,…Turner JD, Taylor MJ and Ward SA. Scientific Reports. 2017 Mar 16;7(1):210. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-00322-5.

    A murine macrofilaricide pre-clinical screening model for onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis. Halliday A,…and Turner JD. Parasites & Vectors. 2014 Oct 24;7:472. doi: 10.1186/s13071-014-0472-z.

    Blood flukes exploit Peyer's Patch lymphoid tissue to facilitate transmission from the mammalian host. Turner, J.D., Narang P, Coles M.C., Mountford A.P. PLoS Pathogens, 2012. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003063.

    Macrofilaricidal activity after doxycycline only treatment of Onchocerca volvulus in an area of Loa loa co-endemicity: a randomized controlled trial. Turner, J.D.,…and M.J. Taylor, PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 2010. 4(4): p. e660.

    Wolbachia lipoprotein stimulates innate and adaptive immunity through Toll-like receptors 2 and 6 to induce disease manifestations of filariasis. Turner, J.D.,… M.J. Taylor Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2009. 284(33): p. 22364-78.

    Intensity of intestinal infection with multiple worm species is related to regulatory cytokine output and immune hyporesponsiveness. Turner, J.D.,… and J.E. Bradley. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2008. 197(8): p. 1204-12.

    A randomized, double-blind clinical trial of a 3-week course of doxycycline plus albendazole and ivermectin for the treatment of Wuchereria bancrofti infection. Turner, J.D.,…and A. Hoerauf. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2006. 42(8): p. 1081-9.

    Macrofilaricidal activity after doxycycline treatment of Wuchereria bancrofti: a double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled trial. Taylor, M.J., W.H. Makunde, H.F. McGarry, J.D. Turner, S. Mand and A. Hoerauf Lancet, 2005. 365(9477): p. 2116-21.