Dr Clive McKimmie

Dr Clive McKimmie


Clive McKimmie is an Associate Professor who leads an interdisciplinary team at the University of Leeds studying virus-host interactions.

Clive obtained his degree at the University of Nottingham in Molecular Cell Biology (2000, 1st class) and a Wellcome-Trust funded PhD at the University of Edinburgh (2005). During his PhD, he studied innate immune responses of the brain to virus infection.

Clive then moved to the University of Glasgow, where he worked in the laboratory of Professor Gerry Graham. Here, Clive defined mechanisms by which chemokines control the positioning of leukocytes in inflamed tissues.  In 2012, he was awarded a university-funded fellowship and a MRC project grant, which he used to establish a team of investigators. In collaboration with key international researchers in virology and immunology, they discovered fundamental new insights into mosquito-borne virus infection, the first results of which are now published in the journal Immunity and Science Translational Medicine, amongst other journals. Simultaneously, he has continued to pursue an interest in chemokine-driven inflammation by extending their work to study psoriasis, an important inflammatory skin condition.

In 2016, Dr McKimmie relocated to the University of Leeds to consolidate his independence as a principal investigator and because Leeds provides an ideal environment for combining expertise in virology, inflammation biology and translational medical research. He co-founded a new British Society of Immunology affinity group, the Leukocyte Migration Group. In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 lockdown that has prevented scientific meetings and comnferences, Clive co-organised and co-chairs the “International virtual seminars on arbovirus biology”; https://twitter.com/ArbovirusS

Clive has a keen interest in public engagement, which includes interacting with a variety of media outlets who have since reported their work (e.g. Scientific American, Nature, Science, MailOnline, New York Observer, BBC, Time Magazine, New Scientist and The Conversation).


  • Group leader of Virus Host Interaction Team
  • Chair Biological Safety Committee

Research interests

We have a particular interest in host immune responses to viruses spread by mosquitoes. These viruses infect many millions of people each year and include viruses that cause Zika, dengue and chikungunya. Most such infections are usually found in the tropics, but a changing climate and globalisation mean their range is spreading at an alarming rate. There are many different types of these viruses and it is hard to predict which virus will cause the next outbreak. It is challenging to develop and stockpile medicines for each type of infection. 

Innate immune responses by the host are crucial for effective anti-viral defences, yet the tissue-specific basis by which they are coordinated in vivo and their modulation by confounding environmental variables remains poorly defined. This particularly applies to infection by mosquito-borne viruses at the skin inoculation site. Inoculation of virus by mosquitoes as they bite the skin is an important stage of all such infections. We have recently identified key inflammatory pathways that are activated in the skin during biting, that are important determinants of the subsequent systemic course and clinical outcome of infection. 

By combining virology, bioinformatics, in vivo models and clinical expertise we are defining;

  • the coordination of skin innate immune responses to virus and how mosquito-derived factors influence them
  • the relevance of skin-based events on the later systemic course of infection
  • how key environmental variables modulate these responses

Together we suggest that this work will characterise an important aspect of mosquito-borne virus infections that will enable the development of novel, broadly-applicable therapeutic and public health strategies for limiting disease severity. 


  • BSc (Hons) University of Nottingham, 1st class Molecular Cell Biology
  • PhD University of Edinburgh

Professional memberships

  • Higher Education Academy Fellowship
  • British Society of Immunology
  • Microbiology Society

Student education

Supervision topics; Inflammation, infection, skin biology, virus infection, chemokines.

I lecture in immunology and infectious diseases. 

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
  • Infection and Immunity
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>