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Professor Charles Kelly’s research has been focused on host-pathogen interactions at mucosal surfaces that may lead to infection.

In earlier work, together with Tom Lehner, Julian Ma and other collaborators he investigated the structure and binding activity of a major adhesin of the caries-causing bacterium, Streptococcus mutans. In human studies, topical application of a synthetic peptide derived from the adhesin binding site was effective in preventing colonisation of the oral cavity with S. mutans.

In further collaborative studies he characterised binding properties of the BabA adhesin of Helicobacter pylori.

Over the least 15 years he has coordinated large scale international collaborative projects (EMPRO, CHAARM, MOTIF) funded by the European Union aimed at developing topically applied compounds (microbicides) for the prevention of HIV-1 infection.

He is currently involved in a collaborative project, coordinated by Dr Julie Fox (King’s College London), investigating optimal dosing for oral pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV -1 infection.