Mr Todd Swarthout

Senior Research Fellow - Epidemiology; Principal Investigator

Division of Infection and Immunity
University College London

Areas of interest

Todd Swarthout is an infectious diseases epidemiologist. His research interests are in understanding how to optimise vaccine schedules to reduce the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases in low-resourced high mortality settings, how best to protect vulnerable groups, and how to optimise methods to evaluate vaccine impact and effectiveness.


Todd obtained his MSc (Public Health in Developing Countries) from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2001. He subsequently worked 12 years as an epidemiologist with Médecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) and Médecins du Monde (MDM). This included work 7 years as field epidemiologist in several subSaharan locations (incl. DRC, southern Sudan, Zimbabwe, Nigeria). Todd also worked as Senior Health Advisor and emergency/outbreak epidemiologist for MSF (Médecins sans Frontières) and MDM (Médecins du Mond) during headquarter postings in Paris and Amsterdam. Prior to his work in Malawi, Todd worked for 2 years in Amsterdam with Novartis Vaccines, leading the epidemiology portfolio in work to develop a GBS vaccine.

Prior to his work in infectious diseases epidemiology, Todd trained in the field of forestry and natural resource conservation. Todd lived in rural coastal northern California, teaching field biology at an independent secondary school and leading a number of local environmental campaigns. One of these led to the 1999 creation of the Headwaters State Forest Reserve along California’s Redwood Coast.


Based since 2015 in Malawi with the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme, Todd worked 4 years with LSTM building a portfolio of projects in the field of vaccines. Affiliated with University College London since 2019, Todd continues to expand that portfolio in collaboration with UoL and LSTM. Activities include leading the PCVPA project, a 4-year programme to assess the impact of PCV13 on pneumococcal carriage after its 2011 introduction into Malawi’s EPI schedule (funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). Todd is also PI on a subsequent (BMGF-funded) project implementing a 3.5-year evaluation to assess the impact of an alternative WHO-approved PCV13 vaccine schedule in Blantyre District, Malawi.


University of Liverpool, Honorary Affliation: Senior Lecturer
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Honorary Affliation: Senior Research Fellow

Links to recent publications:

1) Gori A, Harrison O, Mlia E, Nishihara Y, ... , Swarthout TD, et al. 2020. Pan-GWAS of Streptococcus agalactiae highlights lineage-specific genes associated with virulence and niche adaptation. mBio 11(3):e00728-20.

2) Lourenço J, Obolski U, Swarthout TD, Gori A, Bar-Zeev N, et al. 2019. Determinants of high residual post-PCV13 pneumococcal vaccine type carriage in Blantyre, Malawi: a modelling study. BMC Med 17(1):219.

3) Swarthout TD, Fronterre C, Lourenço J, Obolski  U, Gori A, et al. 2020. High residual prevalence of vaccine-serotype Streptococcus pneumoniae carriage after introduction of a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in Malawi: a prospective serial cross-sectional study. Nat Commun 11(1):2222.