Dr Rachel Tanner

Dr Rachel Tanner




The Jenner Institute, Old Road Campus Research Building, Roosevelt Drive, Oxford OX3 7DQ

Tel: +44 (0)1865 617617
Email: rachel.tanner@ndm.ox.ac.uk
Principal areas of research TB Immunology  


Tuberculosis continues to pose a serious global health threat, and development of an effective new TB vaccine is severely hampered by the lack of a validated immune correlate of protection. My research interests are immune correlates and the host immune response to TB vaccination, with a focus on the development of mycobacterial growth inhibition assays (MGIAs). MGIAs are in vitro functional assays which represent a potential correlate of protection that may be applied in preclinical vaccine testing. A successful assay would also reduce the number of animals used in challenge experiments, in line with the principles of the 3Rs (replacement, reduction and refinement) for the use of animals in scientific procedures. In addition, I work on projects studying the non-specific effects of BCG vaccination, and understanding the variation in vaccine immunogenicity observed in different populations.

I obtained my undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford and recently completed my DPhil in Clinical Medicine at the Jenner Institute, funded by a prize studentship from the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW).

Key Publications

Tanner R, O’Shea MK, White AD, Müller J, Harrington-Kandt R, Matsumiya M, Dennis MJ, Parizotto EA, Harris S, Stylianou E, Naranbhai V, Bettencourt P, Drakesmith H, Sharpe S, Fletcher HA, McShane H. The influence of haemoglobin and iron on in vitro mycobacterial growth inhibition assays. Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 3;7:43478.

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

Tanner R, O'Shea MK, Fletcher HA, McShane H. In vitro mycobacterial growth inhibition assays: A tool for the assessment of protective immunity and evaluation of tuberculosis vaccine efficacy. Vaccine. 2016 Aug 12. pii: S0264-410X(16)30656-9.

Zelmer A, Tanner R, Stylianou E, Damelang T, Morris S, Izzo A, Williams A, Sharpe S, Pepponi I, Walker B, Hokey DA, McShane H, Brennan M, Fletcher H. A new tool for tuberculosis vaccine screening: Ex vivo Mycobacterial Growth Inhibition Assay indicates BCG-mediated protection in a murine model of tuberculosis. BMC Infect Dis. 2016 Aug 12;16:412.

Fletcher H, Snowden M, Landry B, Rida W, Satti I, Harris S, Matsumiya M, Tanner R, O’Shea M, Dheenadhayalan V, Bogardus L, Stockdale  L, Marsay L, Chomka A, Harrington-Kandt R, Manjaly Thomas ZR, Naranbhai V, Stylianou E, Darboe F, Penn Nicholson A, McShane H, et al. T-cell activation is an immune correlate of risk in BCG vaccinated infants. Nature Communications. 2016 April 12. Article number: 11290.

Tanner R, Kakalacheva K, Miller E, Pathan AA, Chalk R, Sander CR, Scriba T, Tameris M, Hawkridge T, Mahomed H, Hussey G, Hanekom W, Checkley A, McShane H, Fletcher HA. Serum indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase activity is associated with reduced immunogenicity following vaccination with MVA85A. BMC Infect Dis. 2014 Dec 3; 14(1):660.

Fletcher HA, Tanner R, Wallis RS, Meyer J, Manjaly ZR, Harris S, Satti I, Silver RF, Hoft D, Kampmann B, Walker KB, Dockrell HM, Fruth U, Barker L, Brennan MJ, McShane H. Inhibition of mycobacterial growth in vitro following primary but not secondary vaccination with Mycobacterium bovis BCG. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2013 Nov; 20(11):1683-9.