Speakers at ESCAIDE 2024

Plenary A: Prevention vs. Cure:  what can we learn from cancer, crime and climate change?  

Chris Dye

United Kingdom
Professor of Epidemiology | University of Oxford

Chris Dye trained as a biologist and ecologist (BA York) but postgraduate research on mosquitoes (DPhil Oxford) led to a career in epidemiology and public health. Based at Imperial College and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine from 1982-96, he did research on bloodsucking insects as vectors of leishmaniasis, malaria and river blindness in Africa, Asia and South America, and on the role of domestic and wild animals as reservoirs of human infection and disease. In 1996, he joined the World Health Organization where he developed ways of analyzing the vast quantities of routine surveillance data collected by government health departments worldwide ─ to better understand and control tuberculosis, malaria, and Ebola, HIV, SARS and Zika viruses. As WHO Director of Strategy 2014-18, he served as science advisor to the Director General, oversaw the production and dissemination of health information by WHO press and libraries, and coordinated WHO’s work on health and the Sustainable Development Goals. He is now Professor of Epidemiology at Oxford University, a Fellow of The UK Royal Society, and of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. His most recent book is Investing in Health and Wellbeing: When Prevention is Better than Cure (OUP 2024).

Plenary B: Infectious diseases in times of conflict: learning from Ukraine  

Ihor Kuzin

Deputy Minister | Ministry of Health

Olga Gvozdetska

Acting Deputy Director General | Public Health Centre | Ministry of Health

Katarzyna Drążek-Laskowska

Director | International Cooperation Bureau | Ministry of Health

Plenary C: Advancements in surveillance: how can we better tell what’s going on?  

Lieke van Alphen

Medical Molecular Microbiologist | Department of Medical Microbiology, Infectious diseases and infection prevention | Maastricht University Medical Centre

Lieke van Alphen studied Medical Biology at the Utrecht University, specialising in infection and immunity. She continued into a PhD at this same university and completed her thesis in 2008 on “the  virulence strategies of Campylobacter jejuni”. After a 3-year postdoc in the Szymanski lab at the university of Alberta (Canada) investigating the interaction of Campylobacter with bacteriophages, she trained as a Public Health Microbiologist during the EUPHEM fellowship at Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. Since then, she has been working as a member of staff at the Department of Medical Microbiology, Infectious diseases and Infectionprevention, Maastricht university Medical Centre. She specialised during a 2-year postgrad training as Medical Molecular Microbiologist, where she is head of the regional typing lab. Currently, her research work at the MUMC focusses on the spread of resistant bacteria and resistance genes and molecular epidemiology using next gen sequencing and rapid data sharing.

Caterina Rizzo

Professor of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine | University of Pisa

André Charlett

United Kingdom
Deputy Director | Statistics, Modelling and Economics | UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)

Plenary D: Disease X: are we ready?  

Mika Salminen

Director | THL

Ana Maria Henao-Restrepo

Technical Lead for the R&D Blueprint for Emergency Response | World Health Organization

Christian Drosten

Deputy Coordinator | Emerging Infections | Charité

Plenary E: The new old: rethinking the future of known diseases  

Nienke Beerlage-de Jong

Assistant Professor of technology for planetary health behaviour | University of Twente

Nienke Beerlage-de Jong is an Assistant Professor of Technology for Planetary Health Behaviour, at the Technical Medical Centre of the University of Twente, the Netherlands. She also holds a guest appointment at the Medical Microbiology and Infection Prevention dept. of the University Medical Centre Groningen, the Netherlands.

Her research focuses on the interface between behaviour, technology and planetary health, much of it involving the participatory development, implementation, and evaluation of eHealth technologies to foster behaviour change in the face of the complex planetary health challenges.

In her work, she seeks to transcend disciplinary, sectoral, and national boundaries, integrating insights from e.g. behavioural science and infectious diseases, and fostering collaboration between academia, industry, and healthcare.

She coordinates and teaches bachelor- and master-level courses on eHealth at the University of Twente, for e.g. health sciences, technical medicine and biomedical engineering students. In addition, she is general chair of the international Supporting Health by Technology conference series, and co-editor of an international edited book on ‘eHealth Research, theory and development – a multidisciplinary approach’.

Maria Wessman

Epidemiologist, Head of Section | Statens Serum Institut (SSI)

Maria Wessman is a medical doctor and epidemiologist, specialised in Public Health. She holds a Ph.D in Infectious Diseases and her research concentrates within the field of HIV and sexually transmitted infections. She currently works as the Head of section of Blood-borne and Sexually Transmitted Infections and Digitization of the Infectious Disease Surveillance, at the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention at Statens Serum Institut (SSI) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

She graduated with a medical degree in 2009 and has a background as a clinical doctor, mostly working at the Department of Infectious Diseases of Hvidore Hospital in Copenhagen, before joining SSI in 2017.

Tomasz Sobierajski

Health scientist, Sociologist and Professor | Sociomedical Research Centre | University of Warsaw

Tomasz Sobierajski is a health scientist, sociologist, methodologist, social vaccinologist, sociomedical researcher, interpersonal and medical communication trainer, socio-urbanist, evaluator, university lecturer, head of the Sociomedical Research Center, and professor at Warsaw University. He is the creator of the multidisciplinary scientific sub-discipline of social vaccinology. He has authored dozens of scientific publications in sociology, sociomedical, public health, and vaccinology, and 5 scientific monographs and 5 textbooks for health care professionals. He designs and coordinates research projects for Polish and international public institutions, NGOs, and private companies. He performs scientific project research in cooperation with, among others: Warsaw Medical University, Silesian Medical University, National Institute of Public Health - National Institute of Hygiene, National Institute of Medicines, Poznan Medical University, and Ankara Üniversitesi and the University of Alabama. He also supports the business sector with social research and analysis and business ethics. For over a decade, he has trained medical personnel in patient communication. He trains in cross-biking and squash and is a marathon runner.