Dr Thomas Edwards

Post Doctoral Research Assistant

The focus of my research is the development and evaluation of molecular diagnostic tests, for a range of infectious diseases.

I hold a BSc in Biomedical Science from the University of Sheffield, and an MSc in Industrial biotechnology from Liverpool John Moores University. My PhD, completed at LJMU in 2014 in collaboration with Public Health England and MAST diagnostics, involved the development of the sample preparation process for a fully integrated isothermal molecular diagnostics platform for detection of a panel of STIs.

In 2015 I joined the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine as a post-doctoral research associate in the Research Centre for Drugs and Diagnostics, working on a range of diagnostic development projects. Key areas have included the development of highly multiplex molecular tools for detecting arboviral infection such as Zika and dengue in Guatemala and Brazil, and also the use of high-resolution melt analysis for high-plexy qPCR detection of antimicrobial resistance genes.

In 2021 I started as a lecturer in Infectious Disease Diagnostics within the Tropical Disease Biology Department. My Research focuses on the early-stage development of diagnostic assays, particularly for bacterial infections and antimicrobial resistance, and tropical fever. Much of my work involves molecular diagnostics, and novel ways to implement these in resource poor settings. I also have an interest in AMR mechanisms, particularly for beta-lactam/beta-lactamase inhibitor combination drugs in Gram negative bacteria.

Current projects

  • The use of bacteriophage biosensors to diagnose bloodstream infections (Wellcome Trust, MRC)
  • Uncovering novel mechanisms of piperacillin/tazobactam resistance using an NGS and wet-lab approach
  • Developing molecular tests for viral haemorrhagic fevers (CCHF, Lassa) on portable platforms (NIHR, Bloomsbury SET)
  • The development of viral culture assays as clinical trial end-points for anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics (Wellcome Trust)

Lab group Kate Buist (Research Technician) Caitlin Greenland-Bews (PhD student) Toby Ross (Research Technician) Dominic Wooding (Research Technician)

Selected publications

  • Edwards, T. Signor, L.D. Williams, C., Larcher, C., Espinel, M., Theaker, J. Donis, E., Cuevas, L.E., Adams, E.R. (2016). Analytical and Clinical Performance of a Chikungunya qRT-PCR for Central and South America. Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Submitted. 

    Murphy, M.F., Edwards, T.,Hobbs, G., Shepherd, J., Bezombes, F. (2016). Acoustic vibration can enhance bacterial biofilm formation. Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering. 20. [Epub ahead of print]

    Saull, J., Duggan, C., Hobbs, G., Edwards, T. (2015). The detection of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) using loop mediated isothermal amplification in conjunction with a simplified DNA extraction process Food Control. 59: 306-313

    Edwards, T. Burke, P.A., Smalley, H.B., Gillies, L., Longhurst, D., Vipond, B. Hobbs., G. (2015). Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) for the Rapid Detection of Mycoplasma genitalium. Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. May, May 27 [Epub ahead of print].

    Edwards, T. Burke, P.A., Smalley, H.B., Hobbs, G. (2014). Trichomonas vaginalis; clinical relevance, pathogenicity and diagnosis. Critical Reviews in Microbiology. Nov 10: 1-10 [Epub ahead of print].

    Edwards, T. Burke, P.A., Smalley, H.B., Gillies, L., Hobbs, G. (2014). Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) test for the detection of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in urine samples and tolerance of the assay to the presence of urea. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 52:6.