Dr Rachel Tanner

Dr Rachel Tanner




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

Tel: +44 (0)1865 617615
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 in vitro functional assays that may be applied in preclinical vaccine testing. A successful assay would 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. I am currently leading a project on a non-human primate mycobacterial growth inhibition assay (MGIA), as well as investigating the association of vaccine-induced antibodies and gene expression signatures with control of mycobacterial growth using samples from UK and TB endemic populations. Other projects I work on include controlled human mycobacterial infection using BCG, non-specific effects of BCG vaccination and bovine TB vaccine development.

I obtained an MA in Biological Sciences and DPhil in Clinical Medicine from the University of Oxford, funded by a prize studentship from the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW). I am currently a Fulford Junior Research Fellow at Somerville College.

Key Publications

Brennan MJ*, Tanner R*, Morris S, Scriba TJ, Achkar JM, Zelmer A, Hokey D, Hoft DF, McShane H, Fletcher HA. The cross-species mycobacterial growth inhibition assay (MGIA) project 2010-2014. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2017 Sep 5;24(9).*denotes shared first authorship.

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.