Personal profile

Research overview

Stephen Gillespie has worked in Kenya researching the relationship between malaria and lower respiratory tract infection and the prevalence of parasitic infection in children in Kilifi, Kenya. He has investigated a cholera epidemic and vaccine failures in Guerrero, Mexico. He has been working in collaboration with colleagues at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre since 1988 where he has, variously, studied respiratory and parasite diagnostics and novel antimalarials, anti-helminthics and anti tuberculosis agents. His main research activity is in the area of tuberculosis drug development.

For the last twenty five years Stephen Gillespie has been involved in various aspects of  tuberculosis diagnosis and drug development. This has included the evaluation of new candidate antituberculosis agents in vitro. This work has expanded into studies of the molecular mechanisms of resistance and the development of model systems to measure the fitness deficits found in resistant strains. He has been involved in the development of fluoroquinolones for tuberculosis having performed early bacterial activity studies and clinical trials of ciprofloxacin. More recently he has led the group working on the clinical development of moxifloxacin in collaboration with the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development as Chief Investigator of the REMox TB study. He later went on to be the coordinating investigator for the TB Alliance STAND trial (Shortening Treatment by Advancing New Drugs) and SimpliciTB trial. He is also one of the Chief Investigators of the PanACEA consortium that links European and African research groups in enhancing anti-tuberculosis therapy.  

He has an extensive record of developing novel microbiological diagnostics.  Most recently, he has developed SLIC (Scattered Light Integrating Collector),  which performs phenotypic antibiotic susceptibility testing in less than 30 minutes. This innovation won a Longitude Prize Discovery Award and was the Scottish Life Science Alliance Innovation of the Year 2017. In addition he has developed the Molecular Bacterial Load Assay, an innovative way of detecting, quantifying and determining the viability of bacteria in a single test that allows both diagnosis and the monitoring of treatment response. Both of these innovations are being developed for clinical implementation.  

He has published a number of textbooks in the area of clinicical microbiology and infectious diseases.  These include Medical Microbiology and Infection at a Glance now going into its 5th Edition and translated into seven languages, Infection Microbiology and Management now going into its fourth edition also translated into three languages and Medical Microbiology Illustrated. He has edited Principles and Practice of Clinical Parasitology, Principles and Practice of Clinical Bacteriology (two editions) amd Antibiotic Resistance Protocols (Three editions) Management of Drug Resistant Infections and Medical Parasitology. 

Academic/Professional Qualification

Stephen Gillespie was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. He graduated in Medicine from the Queen's University Belfast in 1980 and trained in Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at the Royal Victoria Hospital. He was appointed Mercer's Lecturer in Tropical Medicine at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1985. He was appointed a Senior Lecturer in Medical Microbiology at the Royal Free Hospital Medical School in 1989 and awarded a personal chair in 1998 at University College London. In August 2011, he was appointed as the Sir James Black Chair of Medicine and Director of Research at University of St Andrews.  He was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2017.


Profile Keywords

Tuberculosis; Clinical trials; Antibiotic resistance; MBLA; Scattered Light Integrated Collection (SLIC) 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


  • R Medicine (General)
  • tuberculosis
  • diagnosis
  • clinical trials


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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