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Dr Giovanni Villa

Dr Giovanni Villa

Dr Giovanni Villa (MD MSc PhD)

Clinical Research Fellow in Medicine & Infectious Diseases
T: +44 (0)1273 877817
Location: Ground Floor, BSMS Medical Research Building, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9PX

Area of expertise: HIV drug resistance; adherence to antiretroviral treatment; non-communicable comorbidities and HIV infection; viral hepatitis 

Research areas: implementation of point-of-care virological monitoring in programmatic settings in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA); non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and HIV-infection in SSA; aetiologies of liver disease in SSA; prevalence of screening for hepatitis B in primary care; molecular platforms for hepatitis C and HIV screening in Emergency Departments 

Other faculty positions: Honorary HIV physician at the Lawson Unit of the Royal Sussex County Hospital



I am a physician and a specialist in Infectious Diseases. I graduated in Medicine in 2008 at the University of Udine (Italy), where I was awarded a MD. In my MD thesis, I investigated novel algorithms for the management of vertebral osteomyelitis.  I subsequently completed my specialty training in Infectious Diseases in 2014 at the University of Verona (Italy). My speciality dissertation explored the risk factors for the development of daptomycin-non susceptibility in Staphylococcus aureus. In the academic year 2014/2015, I attended the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (United Kingdom), where I was awarded a Master of Science in Tropical and Infectious Diseases. My MSc dissertation was a qualitative study on the most effective testing strategies for Chikungunya virus infection in Brazil. In 2015, I was awarded with a post within the Medical Exchange Programme sponsored by the European AIDS Clinical Society. As a result, I joined Professor Anna Maria Geretti’s research team at the University of Liverpool (United Kingdom). On the same year, I started a PhD fellowship within the same research group. My PhD studies allowed me to develop several skills that ranged from laboratory techniques (i.e. nuclei acid extraction and PCR amplification, Sanger sequencing) to research and statistical methods. I obtained my PhD in Infection and Global Health in July 2019.



My doctoral studies focused on the outcomes of antiretroviral treatment in a programmatic setting in Ghana. I explored measures of self-reported adherence and its determinants, as well as the development of HIV drug resistance-associated mutations in a cohort of HIV/hepatitis B co-infected individuals. Additional research focused both on the feasibility of the implementation of point-of-care molecular platforms for virological monitoring in the same setting, and on the rates of virological resuppression in viraemic subjects after an adherence intervention. Furthermore, I investigated the renal and liver health of such cohort: I estimated the prevalence of tenofovir-mediated kidney toxicity and investigated potential predictors of liver fibrosis as well as liver steatosis, which were diagnosed with portable FibroScan. Part of my research has been exploring screening for viral infections in the United Kingdom: I co-authored a study that explored feasibility and acceptability of a point-of-care molecular platform for the screening of hepatitis C +/- HIV in an urban Emergency Department, and I am currently working on a project that investigates the prevalence of screening for hepatitis B infection in primary care.

Selected publications

AM. Geretti, H. Austin†, G. Villa†, D. Hungerford, C. Smith, P. Davies, J. Williams, A. Beloukas, W. Sawicki, M. Hopkins. Finger-prick blood screening for hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA to diagnose a current infection at point of care: influence on uptake of a concomitant offer of HIV screening. Sci Rep 2018 Oct;8(1):15297 †equal contribution

G. Villa, RO. Phillips, C. Smith, AJ. Stockdale, A. Ruggiero, A. Beloukas, LT. Appiah, D. Chadwick, FS. Sarfo, AM. Geretti. Drug resistance outcomes of managing first-line antiretroviral therapy in the absence of virological monitoring in a sub-Saharan HIV-1 positive cohort exposed to long-term tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). J Antimicrob Chemother 2018 Nov;73(11):3148-3157

G. Villa, RO. Phillips, C. Smith, AJ. Stockdale, A. Beloukas, LT. Appiah, D. Chadwick, A. Ruggiero, FS. Sarfo, F. Post, AM. Geretti. Renal health after long-term exposure to tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) in HIV/HBV positive adults in Ghana. J Infect 2018 Jun;76(6):515-521

E. Righi, F. Ivaldi, A. Carnelutti, L. Tomkova, G. Villa, A. Sartor, G. Soardo, U. Baccarani, F. Pea, M. Bassetti. Immunologic and pharmacologic aspects in an elderly recipient of liver transplant with pulmonary aspergillosis and multiple comorbidities. Exp Clin Transplant, 2016 Oct;14(5):567-570

E. Righi, A. Londero, F. Pea, S. Bonora, P. Nasta, P. Della Siega, P. Delle Foglie, G. Villa, O. Giglio, S. Dal Zoppo, U. Baccarani, M. Bassetti.  Antiretroviral blood levels in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with cirrhosis after liver transplant: a report of three cases. Transplant Infectious Diseases 2015 Feb;17(1):147-153

M. Bassetti, G. Villa, E. Righi, M. Crapis, F. Ansaldi, D. De Florentiis, C. Tascini, F. Menichetti, P. Cojutti, F. Pea, A. Sartor, and F. G. De Rosa.  Risk factors associated with the onset of daptomycin non-susceptibility in Staphylococcus aureus infections in critically ill patients.  Intensive Care Med, 2015 Feb;41(2):366-368

M. Bassetti, B. Cadeo, G. Villa, A. Sartor, V. Cainero, and A. Causero.  Current antibiotic management of prosthetic joint infections in Italy: The Udine strategy.  J Antimicrob Chemother, 2014 Sep;69 Suppl 1:i41-45

M. Bassetti, G. Villa, and D. Pecori.  Antibiotic-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa: focus on care in patients receiving assisted ventilation.  Future Microbiology.2014;9(4):465-474

M. Bassetti, D. Pecori, A. Sartor, A. Londero, G. Villa, B. Cadeo, F. Brillo, D. Bongiorno, F. Campanile, and S. Stefani.  First report of endocarditis by Gluconobacter spp. in a patient with a history of intravenous-drug abuse.  J Infect 2013 Mar;66(3):285-287

M. Bassetti, G. Villa, D. Pecori, A. Arzese, and M. Wilcox.  Epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of Clostridium difficile infection.  Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther., 2012 Dec;10(12):1405-1423