At the Forefront of Hepatitis C Elimination

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. 



The Threat of Multidrug Resistant falciparum Malaria

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.



Environmental Change and Emerging Infectious Diseases

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. ​



At the Forefront of Hepatitis C Virus Elimination

Wahid Doss is Professor of Hepatogastroenterolgy and Endemic Medicine at Cairo University. He became the Head of the National Hepatology Institute, Cairo from 2006 till 2015. He is the Head of the National Committee for the control of viral Hepatitis from 2006 till present. Together with his colleagues, he established and supervised one of the most comprehensive Hepatitis treatment programs worldwide, which has received acclaim from local and international organizations including the WHO. The Egyptian national hepatitis C treatment program has been responsible for providing treatment for over 4 million Egyptian patients with hepatitis C over the last 5 years with a cure rate of 96%. This was achieved by establishing 130 treatment centers all over the country in which patients were treated at the expense of the ministry of health. He is a founding member of the GI endoscopy unit at Kasr ElAini hospital, Cairo University and has special interest in therapeutic endoscopic procedures. He is a member of EASL, AASLD and ASGE. He is a founding member and current vice-president of the Egyptian Liver Care Society. Professor Doss has over 75 publications in international peer-reviewed publications in the field of liver disease, hepatitis and gastrointestinal endoscopy.



Plamodium knowlesi- Malaria at the One Health Interface

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.

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Getting Back on Track: The Tools and Strategies Needed to Achieve Malaria Elimination and Eradication

Professor Azra Ghani is an infectious disease epidemiologist in the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis & Modelling at Imperial College London where she heads the malaria modelling research group. Her group’s research takes a biological approach to constructing models to better understand the transmission dynamics of malaria both within the human and vector hosts and between hosts. From a public health perspective, the models are used to inform policies on how, where and when to implement different interventions against malaria to aid local elimination, and eventual eradication, of the parasite. Much of this work is collaborative with a wide range of public health agencies. 

Professor Ghani obtained an MA in mathematics from the University of Cambridge, a Masters in Operational Research from the University of Southampton and a PhD from Imperial College London. She has previously held Wellcome Trust and Royal Society fellowships at the University of Oxford and Imperial College respectively and from 2004-2007 was a Reader in infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Over the past 20 years she has worked on a wide range of infectious diseases, including BSE and variant CJD, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, SARs and influenza. Through this she has advised the UK government and numerous international agencies on the scale of outbreaks and impact of interventions. She is a member of the WHO Malaria Policy Advisory Committee and the 2018 Gavi Vaccine Investment Strategy Steering Committee. She also acts a policy advisor and member of the board of trustees for the international charity Malaria No More UK.

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Pandemic Preparedness in China

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).



ABUZZ: Citizen Science for Mosquito Monitoring

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.



Collaborating with the Innate Immune System to Control Antibiotic-resistant Superbugs

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:

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Unusual Clinical Presentations of Dengue

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). 

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Climate Change, Migration and Infectious Diseases

Dr. Kanta Kumari Rigaud is a Lead Environmental Specialist, and Regional Climate Change Coordinator in the Africa Region of the World Bank Group. She is a leading expert on climate adaptation and resilience and works on climate policy, knowledge management, and development of tools and learning platforms to manage climate risks. She led a multidisciplinary team on the Bank's pioneering flagship report on Groundswell - Preparing for Internal Climate Migration and on the Turn Down the Heat report series which looked at nexus of climate science and development impacts.  She has worked with multiple countries in the Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean as the Bank's Focal point for the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience - working to mainstream climate resilience into core development planning and for transformation at scale. She is currently leading the Bank’s work on the  Africa Climate Business Plan, deepening analysis of climate induced migration in West Africa, and working with countries in East Africa on advancing their commitments to the Paris agreement. She has a doctorate from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. She serves as co-chair of the Technical Working Group on Environmental Change and Migration in KNOMAD.



Using Novel Data Sources to Tackle the Next Outbreak

Dr. Wesolowski is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She obtained her PhD in engineering from Carnegie Mellon University before completing postdoctoral fellowships at the Harvard School of Public Health and Princeton University. Her research focuses on understanding the role of human mobility on infectious disease transmission. This work focuses on developing computational tools and methods to integrate novel sources of human mobility data with epidemiological studies to better predict spatial disease dynamics.



Innovations in Clinical Management of Dengue

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.