Speakers at ESCAIDE 2019

Plenary session A:  Health security and preparedness: lessons from Ebola

Invited keynote speaker: Dr Mike Ryan

Mike Ryan

Executive Director | WHO Health Emergencies Programme

Dr Mike Ryan has been at the forefront of managing acute risks to global health for nearly 25 years. He served as Assistant Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response in WHO's Health Emergencies Programme from 2017 to 2019.

Dr Ryan first joined WHO in 1996, with the newly established unit to respond to emerging and epidemic disease threats. He has worked in conflict affected countries and led many responses to high impact epidemics. He is a founding member of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), which has aided the response to hundreds of disease outbreaks around the world. He served as Coordinator of Epidemic Response (2000-2003), Operational Coordinator of WHO’s response to the SARS outbreak (2003), and as WHO’s Director of Global Alert and Response (2005-2011),

He was a Senior Advisor on Polio Eradication for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative from 2013 to 2017, deploying to countries in the Middle East.

He completed medical training at the National University of Ireland, Galway, a Master’s in Public Health at University College Dublin, and specialist training in communicable disease control at the Health Protection Agency in London and the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training.

Plenary session B: Vaccine confidence in a post-factual world

Invited speaker: Dr Wolfgang Gaissmaier

Dr Wolfgang Gaissmaier

Professor of Social Psychology and Decision Sciences | University of Konstanz

Wolfgang Gaissmaier (*1977), PhD, has been a Full Professor of Social Psychology and Decision Sciences at the University of Konstanz, Germany, since 2014. His research investigates how people make decisions under uncertainty and how risks can be communicated more successfully to help people make better decisions, particularly in medicine. He received his PhD in 2007 (Free University Berlin) and his habilitation (venia legendi) in 2013 (University of Heidelberg). For many years, he worked as Chief Research Scientist at the Harding Center for Risk Literacy at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin. Wolfgang Gaissmaier’s work has been published in leading psychological and medical journals, including Annals of Internal Medicine, Annual Review of Psychology, Cognition, Health Psychology, JAMA, PNAS, and Psychological Science. He received numerous awards, including the Otto Hahn Medal for outstanding scientific achievements by the Max Planck Society (2008), a fellowship at the Young Academy of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (2012-2017), a rising star nomination by the Association for Psychological Science (2013), and an award for excellent teaching and being a positive role model by the students of the University of Konstanz (2016 and 2019).

Invited speaker: Robb Butler

Robb Butler

WHO Europe Transition Team member | WHO Regional Office for Europe

Robb Butler is a social scientist and public health advocate with working experience in public health, social protection and humanitarian assistance in developing and transitional states. Robb’s specialist areas of experience and knowledge include behavioural and community insight methodology/application, and social science interventions in public health – particularly with regard to communicable disease prevention and vaccine acceptance and demand.

He has presented regularly on vaccine hesitancy at ESPID since 2010. Between 2009 and 2014 Robb spearheaded WHO’s efforts to strengthen vaccine demand support to countries in the European Region and represented WHO globally as a spokesperson on vaccine hesitancy, acceptance and demand. Between 2014-2018 Robb managed the Vaccine-preventable Diseases and Immunization Programme at the WHO Regional Office for Europe. The Programme, WHO/Europe’s largest, delivers normative guidance and technical assistance to 53 Member States. The programme is globally recognized for establishing capacity in behavioural insights and the application of social science approaches to improve coverage, close immunity gaps and generate demand for vaccination in countries. 

Having recently established a global vaccine demand hub with UNICEF, Robb currently serves on the incoming Regional Director for WHO/Europe's Transition Team.

Plenary session C: The microbiome: what you need to know

Invited speaker: Dr Sean Gibbons

Dr Sean Gibbons

United States
Assistant professor | Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle
Declaration of interest - EN - [PDF-503.12 KB]

Sean Gibbons earned his PhD in biophysics from the University of Chicago in 2015. He completed his postdoctoral work at MIT in 2018. Sean is now an assistant professor at the Institute for Systems Biology, in Seattle. His lab studies the ecology and evolution of microbial communities. In particular, Sean is interested in how host-associated bacterial communities influence the health and wellness of the host organism. His group designs computational and wet-lab tools for studying these complex systems. Ultimately, the Gibbons Lab aims to develop strategies for engineering the ecology of the gut microbiome to improve human health.

Invited speaker: Prof Debby Bogaert

Prof Debby Bogaert

United Kingdom
Chair of Paediatric Medicine | University of Edinburgh

Since September 2019, Prof Debby Bogaert has been Chair of Paediatric Medicine at the Centre for Inflammation Research. Furthermore, she works as a physician scientist in paediatric infectious diseases at the University of Edinburgh, the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh, and at the UMC Utrech in the Netherlands.

In 2009, they embarked on a new adventure studying the ecosystem (microbiome) of the respiratory tract in relation to health and disease. So far, they have performed multiple cross-sectional studies in children, adults and elderly, and started several intensive microbiome-driven follow-up studies including birth-cohort studies in healthy infants, premature infants, newborns with cystic fibrosis and children with NEONS (n=150). One of the findings was an important ecological link between risk factors and respiratory health in children as well as adults. Moreover, they found that during serious viral infections such as RSV inflammation, the severity of infections appears driven by co-signaling of the microbial ecosystem.

Currently, they are analysing the development of other ecological niches, like oral, and gut microbiome, as well as the mycobiome and resistome, in relation to (un)beneficial drivers and health consequences such as respiratory and oral health, growth and development, and neurological development. Their aim is to develop new diagnostic tools and new strategies to prevent and/or treat acute and chronic respiratory infections.

Prof Debby Bogaert has a current research portfolio funded by the Dutch government (NWO/ZonMW), the Scottish government (CSO/NRS), UK Medical Research Council (MRC), Wellcome, NIHR global health research units (MPRU and RESPIRE), GCRF, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She is the author of approx. 100 peer-reviewed papers, nearly 8000 cites, and an H-index of 39.

Plenary session DHow should public health research priorities be defined, and what should they be?

Invited speaker: Dr Jean- Claude Desenclos

Dr Jean- Claude Desenclos

MD, PhD, Scientific director | deputy to the general Director | Santé Publique France
Declaration of interest - EN - [PDF-74.87 KB]

Dr. Desenclos moved to public health in 1988 after several years of medical general practice and international humanitarian involvement through Médecins Sans Frontiéres.  After working for 3 years at the US CDC as a medical epidemiologist, he joined the newly created French national surveillance institute (Institut de Veille Sanitaire [InVS]) in 1993. He was the head of the InVS Department of infectious Diseases for 12 years and became the Scientific Director of InVS in 2008. He then became the scientific director, deputy to the general director at the creation of the new French public health Agency (Santé Publique France) in 2016.  Dr. Desenclos is the author or co-author of 210 international scientific publications and editor of a French textbook in epidemiology.  He is affiliated with the Paris Doctoral School of Public Health where he supervises PhD students.  He is a member of numerous scientific committee and advisory boards in France and in Europe. He is associate editor to the “European Journal of Epidemiology” and the French journal “Santé Publique”.  Dr. Desenclos currently serves as Secretary General of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes.

Invited speaker: Ed Whiting

Ed Whiting

United Kingdom
Director of Strategy | Wellcome Trust

Ed is responsible for working with teams across Wellcome to align Wellcome’s activity with their mission and ensure that Wellcome’s impact is greater than the sum of its parts. This includes working with Wellcome’s senior teams to set and communicate short, medium, and long-term priorities and put resources and plans in place to deliver them. As part of Ed’s role, Ed is also the Executive Leadership Team sponsor of Wellcome’s policy function, strategic partnerships, and mental health priority area.

Before joining Wellcome in September 2016, Ed worked in a number of Whitehall social and financial policy departments, including HM Treasury’s financial stability team during the 2008-09 financial crisis. He was most recently at 10 Downing Street as Deputy Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, leading on public services.

Invited speaker: Dr Lina Moses

Dr Lina Moses

United States
PhD MSPH, Assistant Professor | Department of Global Community Health & Behavioral Sciences | Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine

Lina Moses is an Assistant Professor at the Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine. Trained in Tropical Medicine, Community Health and Environmental Health, Moses’ research focuses on the prevention and control of zoonotic diseases. She has spent over a decade in West Africa overseeing epidemiology and surveillance activities for Ebola virus disease, Lassa fever, and monkeypox. Moses is a member of the GOARN Steering Committee and will assume leadership of the GOARN-Research Working Group in January 2020.

Plenary session E: Climate change: Addressing the public health challenge in Europe

Invited speaker: Henriette de Valk

Henriette de Valk

Head of Unit | Foodborne, Vectorborne and Zoonotic Infections Unit | Santé publique France

Henriette de Valk, MD, MPH, DTMH is the head of the vectorborne, foodborne and zoonotic infections department at Santé publique France, the French Public Health Agency. She earned her degrees from the University of Leyden, The Netherlands, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom, and the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, and she is alumna of the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training (EPIET). Prior to working at Santé publique France she worked for the NGO Médecins Sans Frontières in emergency relief programs in Sudan, Uganda and Mali. For five year she was public health advisor for the German Technical Co-operation (GTZ) in Cameroon. She was a medical officer for the World health Organisation in Indonesia at the control programmes for diarrhoeal diseases and respiratory infections.

As head of the vectorborne, foodborne and zoonotic infections department, she participates in the national working groups developing guidelines for surveillance, prevention and control of vectorborne agents such as West Nile, chikungunya, dengue and Zika viruses, as well as the national plan for tick borne diseases. She was involved in the investigation of a large number of vectorborne disease outbreaks, some of which were massive such as the outbreak of chikungunya in 2006 in La Réunion, in the Indian Ocean, and the chikungunya and Zika virus outbreaks in the French Caribbean in 2014 and 2016. She is serving on the national committee nominating the National Reference Centres (laboratories) for infectious agents in France and in Belgium. She is an associate editor of the journal “Eurosurveillance”.

Page last updated 31 Oct 2019