Sheena McCormack, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology

Sheena is a clinical epidemiologist whose research focus is the development and implementation of biomedical interventions to prevent, or at least reduce the risk of acquiring HIV.

Since 1994, she has worked on Phase I/II HIV vaccine trials in Europe and Africa. Current collaborations include MucoVac, TaMoVac, CUTHIVac and the UK HIV Vaccine Consortium, all with Imperial College. From 2000, Sheena has been the co-Principal Investigator of the Microbicides Development Programme (MDP), a multi-disciplinary public-private partnership. The Phase III clinical trial enrolled 9,385 women through six research centres in Southern Africa and reported in 2009, disappointingly observing no benefit.

Four of six trials that have reported in full, or in part, have confirmed that tenofovir-based regimens can reduce the risk of HIV acquisition when taken by HIV negative individuals. This is highly relevant to the UK HIV epidemic and Sheena’s research interests have now expanded to encompass questions relevant to the implementation of oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in the UK. She is Chief Investigator on the PROUD trial, a UK pilot study in men who have sex with men.

Sheena has been a Consultant in HIV/ Genitourinary (GU) Medicine since 1991, initially at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospitals and since 1996 at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital working at 56 Dean Street in Soho. She is Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at Imperial College.

Selected publications

Moore C, Stöhr W, Crook AM, Richert L, Leliévre J-D,  Pantaleo G, García F, Vella S, Lévy Y, Thiébaut R,  McCormack S (2019) Multi-arm multi-stage randomised controlled trials for evaluating therapeutic HIV cure interventions. Lancet HIV 2019 May; 6(5):e334-e340. doi: 10.1016/S2352-3018(19)30082-7. PMID:31047670

Dunn DT, Glidden DV, Stirrup OT, McCormack S. (2018) The averted infections ratio: a novel measure of effectiveness of experimental HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis agents. Lancet HIV. Jun; 5(6): e329-e334. Doi: 10.1016/S2352-3018(18)30045-6. (Viewpoint) PMID: 29893246

White E, Dunn DT, Desai M, Gafos M, Kirwan P, Sullivan AK, Clarke A, McCormack S; PROUD study group (2019). Predictive factors for HIV infection among men who have sex with men and who are seeking PrEP: a secondary analysis of the PROUD trial. Sex Transm Infect. 2019 Mar 27. pii: sextrans-2018-053808. PMID: 30918121

McCormack S,  Dunn D, Desai M, Dolling D, Gafos M, Gilson R, Sullivan A, Clarke A,  Reeves I, Schembri G, Mackie N, Bowman C, Lacey C, Apea V, Brady M, Fox J, Taylor S, Antonucci S, Khoo S, Rooney J, Nardone A,  Fisher M, McOwan A, Phillips A, Johnson A, Gazzard B, Gill ON.  Pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent the acquisition of HIV-1 infection (PROUD): effectiveness results from the pilot phase of a pragmatic open-label randomised trial. Lancet 2016 Jan 2;387(10013):53-60. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00056-2. Epub 2015 Sep 9. PMID: 26364263

Joseph S, Quinn K,  Greenwood A, Cope AV, McKay PF, Hayes PJ, Kopycinski KT, Gilmour J,  Miller AN,  Geldmacher C, Nadai Y, Ahmed MIM,  Montefiori DC, Dally L, Boutiolis G, Lewis DJM, Tatoud R, Wagner R, Esteban M, Shattock RJ, McCormack S and  Weber J (2017). A comparative phase I study of combination, homologous subtype-C DNA, MVA and Env gp140 protein/adjuvant HIV vaccines in two immunisation regimes. Frontiers in Immunology 8:149 PMID: 28275375

McCormack S, Fidler S, Fisher M. The British HIV Association/British Association for Sexual Health and HIV Position Statement on pre-exposure prophylaxis in the UK. Int J STD&AIDS, 2012 23:1-4.

Shattock RJ, Warren M, McCormack S, Hankins CA. Turning the tide against HIV. Science 2011, 333 (6038): 42-43.

Pool R, Montgomery C, Morar NS, Mweemba O, Ssali A, Gafos M, Lees S, Stadler J, Crook A, Nunn A, Hayes R, McCormack S. Assessing the accuracy of adherence and sexual behaviour data in the MDP301 vaginal microbicides trial using a mixed methods and triangulation model. PLoS One. 2010 Jul 21;5(7):e11632.  PMID: 20657774.

McCormack S, Ramjee G, Kamali A, Rees H, Crook A, Gafos M, Jentsch U, Pool R, Chisembele M, Kapiga S, Mutemwa R, Vallely A, Palanee T, Sookrajh Y, Lacey CJ, Darbyshire J, Grosskurth H, Profy A, Nunn A, Hayes R, Weber J. PRO2000 vaginal gel for the prevention of HIV infection: results of the MDP301 Phase III randomised microbicide trial. The Lancet 2010 376: 1329-37.

McCormack S, Stöhr W, Barber T, Bart PA, Harari A, Moog C, Ciuffreda D, Cellerai C, Cowen M, Gamboni R, Burnet S, Legg K, Brodnicki E, Wolf H, Wagner R, Heeney J, Frachette MJ, Tartaglia J, Babiker A, Pantaleo G, Weber J.  EV02: A Phase I trial to compare the safety and immunogenicity of HIV DNA-C prime-NYVAC-C boost to NYVAC-C alone. Vaccine 2008, 26(25):3162-74. PMID: 18502003.

Research Interests

  • The development and implementation of new technologies for HIV prevention:
    • vaccines
    • microbicides (when drug is delivered directly to the genital tract)
    • pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
  • The integration of anthopological research into clinical trials protocols to better understand risk and adherence behaviours


Research Areas

IRIS Profile