Dr Elizabeth Whittaker graduated from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and following clinical experience in Dublin and Brisbane, Australia, moved to London. Here she trained as a paediatrician and was successfully awarded an academic clinical fellowship in paediatric infectious diseases in 2006. The nine-month research period associated with this fellowship allowed her to develop her interest in paediatric infectious diseases and involved a couple of research projects on tuberculosis biomarkers and interferon gamma release assays (IGRA). She completed the Gorgas Diploma Course in clinical tropical medicine in Peru and was awarded a DTM&H in 2009.
Dr Whittaker completed her Wellcome Trust funded PhD project ‘Immune responses to mycobacteria; the role of age and disease severity’ in 2014, based between Imperial College London and the University of Cape Town in South Africa. She completed her paediatric training in 2016, combining clinical and research experience as an NIHR-funded academic clinical lecturer.
Dr Whittaker is the paediatric specialty co-lead for the North West London Clinical Research Network. In this role, she leads the development of local clinical research network activity in paediatrics, encouraging local clinicians to participate in NIHR clinical research network portfolio studies. She is the secretary of the British Paediatric Allergy, Infection and Immunity Group (BPAIIG) and on the steering committee of the British Association of Paediatric TB (BAPT). She is the co-lead for high consequence infectious diseases (HCID) in children at Imperial and is on the RCPCH expert advisory group for COVID 19. With the ID research team at Imperial College, she described the emerging disease PIMS-TS and works closely with national and international groups to determine a case definition and best treatment plan.
Dr Whittaker has a strong interest in teaching and training and currently is the quality adviser to the paediatric allergy, immunology and infectious diseases CSAC committee at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.