Professor Jay Berkley

Jay Berkley is the Principal Investigator of the CHAIN Network and co-directs the Network with Judd L. Walson. Jay is based full-time at the KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, Kenya. Jay is a Professor of Paediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Oxford in the UK and Affiliate Professor in Global Health at the University of Washington. Dr. Berkley is an expert adviser to the Ministries of Health and the World Health Organization on child health, malnutrition and antimicrobials.

Jay lead a research group working on serious infection and survival in highly vulnerable groups of infants and children. Major achievements include the largest systematic study of invasive bacterial infection in children worldwide; the first comprehensive study of viral causes of pneumonia in Africa; risks for pneumonia treatment failure; diagnostic strategies for meningitis and the performance of simple clinical syndromes in targeting of antimicrobial treatment. These have been important contributors to the introduction of conjugate vaccines in Africa, and have directly informed WHO and national management guidelines.

Current trials include a large multicentre RCT in Kenya and Uganda aiming to improve empiric first-line antimicrobial treatment in severely malnourished children (FLACSAM). Phase 1 is determining pharmacokinetics in malnourished children, and the presence and acquisition of ESBL and other forms of antimicrobial resistance influencing. Phase II examines efficacy on mortality, nutritional recovery, costs to health services and families, and consequences of antimicrobial resistance. A multicentre RCT in Kenya and Malawi is examining modified F75 therapeutic feeds for severe malnutrition to address re-feeding syndrome and osmotic diarrhoea from carbohydrate malabsorption. This RCT is being done together with Dr Robert Bandsma and Dr Wieger Voskuijl from the CHAIN Network. On breastfeeding, a pilot trial is ongoing which exploits approaches known to be successful in neonates to optimize the lactation for infants under 6 months old with acute malnutrition. We will determine if exclusive breastfeeding can be attained and retained after discharge; and if breastmilk alone is sufficient for recovery of acutely malnourished infants, together with Dr Martha Mwangome from the CHAIN Network.

Other work within the research group includes a longitudinal community birth cohort on the onset of environmental enteric dysfunction and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in relation to mode of feeding, acquisition of intestinal pathogens, diarrhoea episodes and antimicrobial usage; inflammatory activation and functional immune responses to ex vivo pathogen challenge in severely malnourished children; spatiotemporal modelling to examine proximate and environmental determinants of malnutrition; risk factors for adverse birth outcomes and neonatal infection; aetiology, clinical and molecular epidemiology of newborn serious bacterial infection; and antimicrobial resistance in community and hospital-acquired neonatal sepsis.

CHAIN Working Groups

  • Leadership team
  • Main CHAIN coordination team

CHAIN Locations