Prof Tim Elliott, experimental oncology

Tim ElliottProfessor Elliott’s research looks at how the body prepares viruses and cancer cells for recognition (and eventual destruction) by the immune system.


This process is known as antigen processing, and is important for developing vaccines and therapies that involve modifying the immune response (immunotherapies).

Cancer, respiratory and rheumatology research

This research feeds into translational programmes in vaccine development at the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre, NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre and in rheumatology at Southampton.

Markers of disease and rheumatic disease targets

Professor Elliott’s research focus with Dr Edd James at the Cancer Sciences Unit has identified biomarkers (molecules associated with specific diseases) and a potential therapeutic target for autoinflammatory diseases, including ankylosing spondylitis.

Leading vaccine research

His studies benefit from combining approaches from the physical sciences, synthetic and computational chemistry, enabling him to model immune pathways to predict the outcome of responses to infection, cancer and vaccines.

Professor Elliott was among a key group of immunologists in the 1980s who developed studies of how antigens are recognised by the immune system at the molecular level, work on which much recent vaccine development has been built.

This work continues to fuel clinical research in Southampton, where discoveries in the areas of antigen discovery, immune 'T' cell control and immunodominance are impacting new cancer vaccine trials.


Before his current appointment at the University of Southampton, Professor Elliott held a lectureship and then a professorship in immunology at Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine and Balliol College, University of Oxford. 

He has published more than 120 research papers, given over 100 research lectures, has sat on national and international scientific advisory boards (such as the Wellcome Trust and the Association of International Cancer Research) and serves on seven editorial boards. 

Professor Elliott has a first in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford, a PhD from the University of Southampton, and completed his postdoctoral training at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology.