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Professor Rachel Tanner

Tutorial Fellow in One Health


Rachel is an Associate Professor in One Health at the Department of Biology and a Tutorial Fellow for Biology at St Hugh’s College. She completed an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences (Wadham College), a DPhil in Clinical Medicine (St Cross College), and a postdoctoral fellowship (Jenner Institute) all at the University of Oxford. She was previously a Junior Research Fellow at Somerville College, a Research Fellow at Wolfson College, and a Lecturer in Human Sciences at Wadham College. Rachel has a passion for widening access and has been involved in a number of outreach programmes.


Rachel teaches various topics relating to immunology, infectious diseases and genetics. She welcomes enquiries from MBiol and prospective DPhil students interested in TB vaccine immunology.

Research interests

Rachel’s research is concerned with tuberculosis (TB) in humans and cattle, with a focus on vaccine design and evaluation. In particular, she is interested in immune mechanisms/correlates of protection, characterising the humoral response to TB vaccines, and novel antigen discovery. She also has an interest in the heterologous (off-target) effects of TB vaccines and the sociological aspects of vaccinology.

Rachel has published widely on the development of in vitro functional assays for preclinical TB vaccine testing. These represent a high-throughput down-selection screening tool and align with the principles of the 3Rs (replacement, reduction and refinement) for the use of animals in scientific procedures. In 2021 she was awarded the AAALAC International Global 3Rs Award in recognition of this work.

Rachel’s research has attracted funding from the UKRI-GCRF network VALIDATE, the NC3Rs, the British Society for Immunology and the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene among others.

Selected publications

Bitencourt J, Peralta-Alvarez MP, Wilkie M, Jacobs AJ, Wright D, Li S, Harris S, Smith S, Elias S, White A, Satti I, Sharpe S, O’Shea MK, McShane H and Tanner R. Induction of functional specific antibodies, IgG-secreting plasmablasts and memory B cells following BCG vaccination. Front. Immunol., 12, 798207 (2022).

Tanner R*, Wilkie M*, Wright D et al. Functional in-vitro evaluation of the non-specific effects of BCG vaccination in a randomised controlled clinical study. *denotes shared first authorship. Sci Rep. 7808 (2022).

Tanner R, Hoogkamer E, Bitencourt J et al. An in vitro mycobacterial growth inhibition assay (MGIA) for the early evaluation of TB vaccine candidates and assessment of protective immunity in non-human primates. F1000 Research, 30;10:257 (2021).

Tanner R, White AD, Boot C et al. A non-human primate in vitro functional assay for the early evaluation of TB vaccine candidates. NPJ Vaccines, 6, 3 (2021).

Cappuccini F, Kopycinski J and Tanner R. Therapeutic vaccines, in Richards D. (ed.) Drug Discovery and Development 3rd Edition (2021).

Tanner R and McShane H. BCG and other vaccines, in Davies P. (ed.) Clinical Tuberculosis 6th Edition. Boca Raton: CRC Press (2020).

Tanner R, Satti I, Harris SA et al. Tools for assessing protective efficacy of TB vaccines: in vitro mycobacterial growth inhibition predicts outcome of in vivo mycobacterial infection in humans. Front Immunol., 10:2983 (2020).

Müller J, Tanner R, Matsumiya M et al. Cytomegalovirus infection is a risk factor for tuberculosis disease in infants. JCI Insight 4, 23 (2019).

Tanner R, Villarreal-Ramos B, Vordermeier HM et al. The humoral immune response to BCG vaccination. Front Immunol., 10:1317 (2019).

McNeill E, Stylianou E, Crabtree MJ, Harrington-Kandt R, Kolb AL, Diotallevi M, Hale AB, Bettencourt P, Tanner R et al. Regulation of mycobacterial infection by macrophage Gch1 and Tetrahydrobiopterin. Nature Comms. 9: 5409 (2018).

Tanner R, Smith SG, van Meijgaarden KE et al. Optimisation, standardisation and harmonisation of the direct mycobacterial growth inhibition assay using cryopreserved human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. J. Immunol. Methods. 469:1-10 (2018).

Hayward S, Harding RM, McShane H and Tanner R. Factors influencing the higher incidence of tuberculosis among migrants and ethnic minorities in the UK. F1000 Research 7, 461 (2018).

Tanner R*, Brennan MJ*, Morris S et al. The cross-species mycobacterial growth inhibition assay (MGIA) project 2010-2014. *denotes shared first authorship. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 5; 24(9) (2017).

Tanner R, O’Shea MK, White AD et al. The influence of haemoglobin and iron on in vitro mycobacterial growth inhibition assays. Sci Rep. 7: 43478 (2017).

Tanner R and McShane H. Replacing, reducing and refining the use of animals in tuberculosis vaccine research. ALTEX. 34(1): 157-166 (2017).

Fletcher HA, Snowden MA, Landry B, Rida W, Satti I, Harris SA, Matsumiya M, Tanner R et al. T-cell activation is an immune correlate of risk in BCG vaccinated infants. Nature Comms. 7: 11290 (2016).

Tanner R, O’Shea MK, Fletcher HA et al. In vitro mycobacterial growth inhibition assays: a tool for the assessment of protective immunity and evaluation of vaccine efficacy. Vaccine. 34(39): 4656 (2016).

Tanner R, Kakalacheva K, Miller E et al. Serum indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase activity is associated with reduced immunogenicity following vaccination with MVA85A. BMC Infect Dis. 14(1): 660 (2014).

Tutorial Fellow in One Health
Academic - Fellows & Lecturers