Professor Stephen Gordon

Areas of interest

Susceptibility to lung infection, pneumococcal disease and inhaled vaccines.  Household air pollution and lung diseases.  Capacity building in medical research in Africa.


Stephen Gordon was educated at the University of Cambridge and trained in General Medicine in Oxford, Zambia and Belfast.  He specialised in Respiratory Medicine in Sheffield (Clinical Lecturer) and Malawi (2 Wellcome Trust Fellowships).

Stephen Gordon joined the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in 2005, with a remit to establish laboratory and clinical research on susceptibility to pulmonary infections.  Stephen's research in Sheffield and Malawi had focused on susceptibility to respiratory infection and in particular, on the effect of HIV infection on susceptibility to pneumococcal disease.  The work demonstrated that pulmonary mucosal defence was regulated differently than systemic defence against infection, and could be perturbed by environmental exposures including indoor air pollution.

The Respiratory group at LSTM has themes of research targeting vaccine discovery and testing, pathogenesis and the treatment of pneumococcal disease, using human samples from both healthy volunteers and patients.  We collaborate closely with hospital colleagues and have developed an Experimental Human Pneumococal Carriage (EHPC) model in which healthy volunteers are challenged with pneumococci in order to study the immunological correlates of carriage, protection and clearance.  This work has been substantially supported by NIHR, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the MRC.  Current funding includes an MRC Programme grant (2015-2020) and a BMGF grant to study the effect of live attenuated influenza vaccine on EHPC.

We have also developed our studies of the effect of biomass fuel smoke on defence against infection.  In particular, jointly with Dr Kevin Mortimer, Stephen now leads a large DBRCT in Malawi to determine the effect of an advanced cook stove in prevention of pneumonia by reduction of household air pollution.  This study cohort also supports an MRC Partnership grant (BREATHE Africa) to develop collaborations in Household Air Pollution (HAP) research and a linked study of Adult Lung Health.

Stephen holds an Honorary Consultant Contract in General Medicine in the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and University Hospital Aintree.  He combines Respiratory and General Medicine with research and teaching.


9 postgraduate students

Dr Dan Wootton, Dr Andrea Collins, Ms Jenna Gritzfeld, Dr Stephen Aston, Dr Hannah Jary, Mr Shaun Pennington, Ms Suzy Gore, Mr Abdullah Aljurayyan, Dr Ben Morton.

Selected publications