Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah is the current Director-General of Health, Malaysia. Prior to that, he was the Deputy Director-General of Health (Medical) between January 2008 and February 2013. His special interest lies in enhancing universal healthcare coverage to marginalized communities and bringing personalized healthcare back to the community and home through digital technology and creative innovation. He chairs multiple medical professional councils and national-level technical committees and is actively involved as a policymaker in global organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi).
Dr Noor Hisham trained in breast and endocrine surgery under the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Fellowship training programme and obtained his Master of Surgery and Medical Degrees from the National University of Malaysia. He is a Senior Consultant Surgeon in Breast and Endocrine Surgery, Putrajaya Hospital. His area of expertise is in breast endocrine cancers, with numerous published papers and textbook chapters in endocrine surgery. He is a Councilor-at-Large (2017-2021) in the Executive Board of the International Society of Surgery (ISS) and chairs the Global Surgery Committee of ISS.
Dr Noor Hisham has been conferred numerous local and international awards including an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians London (2012), Goatcher Surgeon in Residence, Royal Perth Hospital (2013), Honorary Degree of Doctor of Medicine, Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (2014), Honorary Fellowship of the Academy of Family Physicians of Malaysia (2015), Honorary Fellowship of the International College of Dentists (2016), Honorary Doctorate in Medicine, Management and Science University, Malaysia (2017) and the prestigious Fellowship Ad Hominem of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 2018 for his contributions toward healthcare.
At the Forefront of Hepatitis C Elimination
DATUK DR NOOR HISHAM ABDULLAH
Elizabeth Ashley is the Director of the Lao-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital- Wellcome Trust Research Unit, part of the MORU Tropical Health Network, and an Honorary Consultant in Infectious Diseases & Microbiology at the Oxford University NHS Foundation Trust. She has spent 12 of the last 19 years based in Southeast Asia mainly working on malaria. Her other interests include clinical research into other tropical diseases, bacteriology in low-and middle-income countries, antimicrobial resistance surveillance and antibiotic stewardship.
The Threat of Multidrug Resistant falciparum Malaria
Dr. Peter Daszak is President of EcoHealth Alliance, a US-based organization that conducts research and outreach programs on global health, conservation, and international development. Dr. Daszak’s research is instrumental in identifying and predicting the impact of emerging diseases across the globe including identifying the bat origin of SARS, and the underlying drivers of both Nipah and Hendra virus emergence. He is one of the founders of the field of conservation medicine and has been instrumental in the growth of EcoHealth, One Health, and now Planetary Health. Dr. Daszak’s work on disease ecology is directed by the conviction that disease outbreaks are not just predictable, but preventable and that the problems of human and animal disease are intimately linked. He led research that produced the first ever global emerging disease ‘hotspots’ map of where viruses with pandemic potential are most likely to emerge and developed a strategy to identify those same viruses in the field. Dr. Daszak is Chair of the US National Academy of Sciences Forum on Microbial Threats. He is a regular advisor to WHO, OIE and FAO. Dr. Daszak is on the Editorial Board of several scientific journals and authored over 300 scientific papers.
Environmental Change and Emerging Infectious Diseases
Professor George F. Gao is the Director-General of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a Professor in the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences; President of the Chinese Society of Biotechnology; and President of the Asian Federation of Biotechnology (AFOB).
Prof. George Gao obtained his PhD (DPhil) degree from Oxford University, UK and did his postdoc work in both Oxford University and Harvard University. His research interests include enveloped viruses and molecular immunology, mainly focusing on the enveloped virus entry and release, esp. interspecies transmission (host jump) influenza virus and coronaviruses. His research has recently expanded on public health policy and global health strategy. He led the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s delegation in Sierra Leone during the West Africa Ebola outbreak
Prof. George Gao has been elected as a member/ fellow of several academies, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences and The Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). Gao is a recipient of several international and national awards, including TWAS Medical Prize (2012) and Nikkei Asian Prize (2014), and the HLHL S&T Advancement Award (2015).
Epidemic Preparedness in China, the Region, and Beyond
GEORGE FU GAO
Haripriya Vaidehi Narayanan is interested in studying the biophysics of infectious disease and immunity, with the practical goal of engineering solutions to challenges in global health. She received her PhD from Stanford University under the guidance of Prof. Manu Prakash in the Department of Bioengineering. As a graduate student, she was awarded the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) pre-doctoral fellowship to support her research on the physical biology of interesting animals at population, organism, and cellular scales. She developed a method to study the population ecology of mosquitoes by their wingbeat sounds using ordinary mobile phones and is building a web/mobile platform to crowdsource this data for monitoring and predicting the ecological dynamics of mosquito-borne diseases. At the organism level, she also studied how aquatic water-lily beetles adapted a novel mode of water-skiing to travel between the lily pads they eat, where non-linear surface tension forces exert an evolutionary influence by making the dynamics of their flight and aerial transition chaotic. Further, she contributed to a cellular and molecular understanding of the physiology of placozoans – ancestral marine invertebrates lacking any gut, brain, limbs, or muscles – by sequencing their transcriptome and developing techniques to study their cell types. Currently, Hari is a postdoctoral fellow in the Signaling Systems Lab under Prof. Alexander Hoffmann at UCLA, sponsored by the James S McDonnell 21st Century Postdoctoral Award in Complex and Multi-scale Dynamics. Her work combines the theoretical principles of complex systems science with experimental immunology, to understand the signaling networks, system dynamics, and physical computations shaping immune responses in health and disease. As a long-term goal, she aims to bridge the fundamental physics underlying immunity with the ecology of infection, to build a quantitative framework for the rational design of interventions from molecular to population scales to mitigate infectious diseases.
ABUZZ: Citizen Science for Mosquito Monitoring
HARIPRIYA VAIDEHI NARAYANAN
Victor Nizet is a Professor and Vice Chair for Basic Research in the Department of Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Host-Microbe Systems & Therapeutics at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), School of Medicine as well as Professor at UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences. Dr. Nizet is a graduate of Reed College, received his medical training at Stanford University School of Medicine, completed a Residency and Chief Residency in Pediatrics at Harvard University's Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and a then a Fellowship in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Washington’s Children's Hospital in Seattle. Dr. Nizet leads a basic and translational research laboratory focused on discovering virulence factors of invasive bacterial pathogens, elucidating mechanisms of host innate immunity, and novel approaches to infectious disease therapy. He is also currently leading the initiative for the UCSD Collaborative to Halt Antibiotic-Resistant Microbes (CHARM) which will debut in Fall 2019. Dr. Nizet has authored over 430 peer-reviewed publications and has collaborated with several biotechnology interests in developing new antibiotic and immune-based therapies against drug-resistant pathogens. Dr. Nizet's work has been recognized by an American Heart Association Established Investigator Award, the American Lung Association Career Investigator Award, the American Asthma Foundation Senior Investigator Award, the E. Mead Johnson Award for Research in Pediatrics. Dr. Nizet has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and the American Academy of Microbiology. Details of his research program can be found on the laboratory website:
Collaborating with the Innate Immune System to Control Antibiotic-resistant Superbugs
Professor Sharifah Syed Omar obtained her MBBS from The University of Manchester, United Kingdom in 1999 and a Masters in Internal Medicine from the University of Malaya in 2007. She completed her training in Infectious Diseases at the University of Malaya (UM) in 2011 and was accredited as an Infectious Diseases Physician by the National Specialist Registry in 2012. She was appointed as an Associate Professor in Medicine and Infectious Diseases in 2017 and is currently working at UM and the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) as a Consultant in Infectious Diseases. In her role as Head of the Infectious Diseases Unit at UMMC she is part of the hospital Dengue Task Force that regularly conducts case discussions, training workshops for clinicians and prepares recommendations for quality improvement. She also sits on the state Dengue Mortality Task Force which aims to improve the clinical management of dengue in the state and country. She is also on the Antibiotic Stewardship Subcommittee and helped develop the hospital antibiotic guidelines in 2014 and 2017. The Infectious Diseases Unit together with the infection control group have also initiated many antimicrobial stewardship programs and infection prevention and control (IPC) measures at UMMC. Prof. Sharifa Syed Omar is a member of the Malaysian Academy of Medicine, the Malaysian Society of Infectious Diseases and Chemotherapy and the International AIDS Society. She is the Vice President of the Malaysian Society of HIV Medicine. She teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students from the University of Malaya. Her research interests include research in clinical presentation and outcome of dengue, HIV and Hepatitis C, antimicrobial resistance and stewardship. She has numerous publications in peer reviewed journals and was on the writing committee for the National Guidelines on the Management of HIV in Adults (2017).
Unusual Clinical Presentations of Dengue
SHARIFAH SYED OMAR
Faith is a 2018 TED Fellow and the Vice-President/President-elect of the International Union of Immunological Societies. She has won multiple international prizes for her research in understanding the mechanisms of immunity against Plasmodium falciparum in man. She aims to translate this knowledge into highly effective vaccines against malaria. She is Visiting Professor of Malaria Immunology in the Nuffield Dept of Medicine, Oxford University, and holds the prestigious Sofja Kovalevskaja Award from the Alexander Humboldt Foundation as well as an EDCTP Senior Fellowship. In 2014, she won the Royal Society Pfizer Prize, UK. She holds major research grants from the Wellcome Trust and is an MRC/DfID African Research Leader. Faith originally trained as a Paediatrician in Kenya, before specializing in Immunology in Liverpool, and later obtaining a PhD from the Open University, UK. Her interests include vaccine development, with an emphasis on malaria. Her research groups are based at the KEMRI-Wellcome Training Programme in Kilifi, Kenya and at the Heidelberg University Hospital in Heidelberg, Germany. She is passionate about capacity building and the training of African scientists to deliver the interventions needed on the continent.
The Key to a Better Malaria Vaccine
Andy Tatem is Professor of spatial demography and epidemiology at the University of Southampton and is the Director of WorldPop (www.worldpop.org) and Flowminder (www.flowminder.org), leading a group of more than 50 researchers and data scientists. He is interested in how populations, their characteristics and their dynamics can be mapped at high resolution across low and middle-income countries, with a particular focus on human mobility and spatial connectivity and how it impacts pathogen spread and elimination strategy design. His research has led to new approaches to the use and integration of satellite, survey, cell phone and census data to map the distributions and dynamics of vulnerable populations for disease, disaster and development applications. He runs international collaborations with national governments, UN agencies and data providers, and leads multiple research and operational projects funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust, World Bank, Clinton Health Access Initiative and others.
Using Mobile Data and Global Mapping to Tackle the Next Outbreak
Bridget Wills is a Professor of Tropical Medicine and Honorary Consultant in Paediatrics at the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, University of Oxford. She trained in paediatrics and infectious diseases in the UK and worked at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, based at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, for more than 20 years before returning to the UK in October 2018. Her clinical research focuses primarily on dengue and incorporates studies designed to improve dengue diagnosis and risk prediction for severe disease, randomised intervention trials aiming to improve dengue management, and research investigating the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the major complications of infection. Human challenge studies are now being explored as a novel approach to advance the development of dengue vaccine candidates, and she has recently received grant funding to explore the ethical, legal and regulatory issues surrounding execution of dengue challenge studies in endemic settings like Viet Nam. In 2012 she was awarded the Ho Chi Minh City Medal by the People’s Committee of HCMC, and in 2018 she was awarded the Sir Rickard Christophers Medal by the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in the UK.
Innovations in Clinical Management of Dengue
Professor Dr. Fong Mun Yik obtained his PhD degree from the University of Malaya (UM) in 1996. After a short stint as a Research Scientist in a private R&D biotechnology company, he joined the Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, UM in 1998 and was promoted to Professor in 2008. Prof. Fong’s main research interest is in molecular parasitology, particularly in the areas of molecular epidemiology and development of recombinant antigens for serodiagnosis of parasitic infections. His main focus now is on the zoonotic malaria parasite Plasmodium knowlesi. He has received numerous research grants from various funding bodies such as the China Medical Board, Academy of Science Malaysia, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, and the Ministry of Higher Education. He was President of the Malaysian Society of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine (MSPTM) in 2006-2007 and 2011-2012, and of the Malaysian Society of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in 2007-2009. He has served as assessor of research proposals for national agencies. He was recently appointed as a member of the Malaysia Ministry of Health Technical Committee for the Control of Zoonotic Malaria. Prof. Fong serves as the member of the Editorial Board of Tropical Biomedicine, and the Asian-Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine and is a regular reviewer of manuscripts for PLoS One, Malaria Journal, Parasites & Vectors, American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Acta Tropica, Infection, Genetics and Evolution and BMC Infectious Diseases. He was awarded the Malaysian Society of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine (MSPTM) Medal in 2007 for his contribution in promoting and advancing the field of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine in Southeast Asia.
Plamodium knowlesi- Malaria at the One Health Interface