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Helen Collins obtained a first class honours degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Bradford, followed by a PhD in cellular Immunology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Following postdoctoral positions with David Russell at Washington University Medical School, St Louis and with Stefan Kaufmann at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, primarily investigating immune mechanisms in the control of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection she joined the Division of Immunology, Infection and Inflammatory Diseases in 2002.