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Tonia Thomas

DPhil, BSc (Hons)

Visiting Academic

  • DPhil Physiology Anatomy & Genetics
  • Vaccine Knowledge Project

I joined the Oxford Vaccine Group in 2019 as Vaccine Knowledge Project Manager, and since February 2022 I support the project as an academic visitor. I have a specific interest in vaccine delivery in humanitarian settings

I have maintained the Vaccine Knowledge Project website and led the communications strategy for vaccine awareness at Oxford Vaccine Group. I have undertaken quantitative and qualitative research to understand vaccine attitudes and to identify the most effective communication tools for vaccination campaigns. I have been actively engaged with the public, health professionals, and key stakeholders to share knowledge on vaccine development and vaccine attitudes, and collaborated with clinical investigators and social science researchers to ensure the work utilises the most relevant evidence-based approaches. I have also led the Patient and Public Involvement Advisory Group at OVG, including the development of the group's PPI Framework. 

After completing my BSc in Pharmacology at the University of Liverpool, I undertook my DPhil as part of the British Heart Foundation Oxbridge Centre of Regenerative Medicine. For my DPhil research I investigated the molecular mechanisms involved with forming new blood vessels after a heart attack, particularly focusing on the endocardium as a source of de novo coronary vessels. This project employed molecular biology techniques and genetic sequencing to uncover novel pathways for therapeutic potential.

During the course of my DPhil I maintained interests in public health, policy, and science communication, and alongside my research I engaged in voluntary work, conferences and societies to expand my knowledge in these areas. I have been involved with University outreach projects such as Oxford Hands-On Science, Pathways, and Oxplore, aiming to widen access to higher education and engage children and young people with STEM. I have also undertaken campaign work and fundraising for the British Heart Foundation, provided guidance for Ugandan social enterprise ventures with UniTED OxMAK, University of Makerere, Kampala, and chaired international debates for GlobalMUN, Shanghai. 


Thomas, T.M. and Pollard, A.J. (March 2020). Vaccine communication in a digital societyNature Materials. 

Dube, K., Thomas, T.M., Munshaw, S., Rohling, M., Riley, P. and Smart, N. (Nov 2017). Recapitulation of developmental mechanisms to revascularise the ischemic heartJCI Insight

Thomas, T.M., Colin-Jones, R., (Jan 2021). Oxford scientists: how we developed our COVID-19 vaccine in record time. The Conversation. 

Thomas, T.M., Vanderslott, S., Pollard, A.J., (March 2020). Coronavirus vaccine: here are the steps it will need to go through during developmentThe Conversation.