Day 1 – 3rd November 2021

KIM EVA DICKSON, DR LAUNCH DAY MC

Dr Kim Eva Dickson is a women’s health advocate with over 20 years’ international experience in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) including adolescent health programming.

Dr Kim Eva Dickson holds a B.Sc in Human Biology and Doctor of Medicine and Surgery (MB ChB) from the School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. She also holds an MSc in Maternal and Child Health from the Institute of Child Health, University of London; a Postgraduate Diploma in Family Planning from the Faculty of Reproductive Health of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, United Kingdom and has training in Quality Management in Health, University of Heidelberg.

Dr Dickson has worked at the national and international level with countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and America and has the unique experience of working for three UN Agencies – WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA. She is currently the Senior Advisor and Chief of the Maternal, Newborn and Adolescent Health in UNICEF, New York.


PHILIPP LAMBACH, DRKeynote Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Medical Officer, Initiative for Vaccine Research, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland


JOY LAWN, PROF. Keynote Speaker

Joy has lived and worked in many African countries, including as a lecturer and neonatalogist in Ghana in the 1990s. She shifted to public health and global estimation working at the WHO Collaborating Center, CDC Atlanta, USA (1998-2001), and then at the Institute of Child Health, London, UK (2001-2004), completing a Masters of Public Health at Emory University, Atlanta and a PhD in perinatal epidemiology at University College London, UK. For ten years she was Director Global Evidence and Policy for Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) programme of Save the Children (Gates Foundation-funded) working with governments and partners to scale up and evaluate newborn care including leadership in Lancet Every Newborn series and Action Plan, leading to the first SDG on neonatal survival.

She has published over 250 peer-reviewed papers, as well as a range of chapters, books and policy-relevant reports. She co-led several Lancet series on newborn survival and stillbirths. 


MARK JIT, PROF. Keynote Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

I teach postgraduate and professional courses on vaccinology, modelling and economics of infectious diseases, both at LSHTM and elsewhere. I co-coordinate a module on Health Decision Science at LSHTM, and the Croucher Summer Course on Vaccinology for Public Health and Clinical Practice in the 21st century held in Hong Kong in collaboration with the University of Hong Kong. I also help to coordinate training workshops on modelling and economics of vaccines across Asia.

In non-pandemic times, my main research focus is investigating the epidemiological and economic impact of vaccines and other infectious disease control interventions to support evidence-based public health decision making. Much of this work uses transmission dynamic models to capture the ecological effects of interventions beyond the individual.


KATHERINE (Kate) L. O’BRIEN, MD, MPH Keynote Speaker

Dr Kate O'Brien, Director at the WHO.

Dr Kate O’Brien is Director of the Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals Department at the World Health Organization. In this role, she is responsible for leading WHO’s strategy and implementation to advance the vision of a world where everyone, everywhere, at every age, fully benefits from vaccines for good health and wellbeing. The Department works across all levels of WHO (country, region and headquarters) in collaboration with partners to support countries in achieving the optimum use and impact of vaccines. Dr O’Brien also serves as WHO’s Technical Lead of the COVID Vaccine Pillar (COVAX), a part of the Access to COVID Tools Accelerator (ACT-A). The mission of COVAX is to deliver 2 billion doses of the COVID vaccine by the end of 2021, to help end the acute phase of the pandemic.

Dr O’Brien is a Canadian who trained as a pediatric infectious disease physician, epidemiologist and vaccinologist. She earned her BSc in chemistry from the University of Toronto (Canada), her MD from McGill University (Canada), and her MPH from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (US) before completing her training at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an Epidemic Intelligence Officer, in the Respiratory Diseases Branch. Prior to joining WHO she was Professor of International Health and Epidemiology and Executive Director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research and policy work focused on vaccine-preventable illnesses, especially for pneumonia-causing pathogens including pneumococcal disease; Haemophilus influenzae type b; respiratory syncytial virus and influenza.


MARTA TUFET, DR Keynote Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Dr Marta Tufet Bayona is a British and Spanish biologist and public health resource coordinator with a speciality in malaria. She is Executive Director of the UK Collaborative on Development Research. And Head of Policy at GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.


MARTINA BAYE, DR Keynote Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Dr Martina Lukong Baye (MD, MPH) is a physician specializing in Public Health and is greatly interested and involved in the promotion of maternal and child health in her country, Cameroon, and beyond. In line with this, during her term on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) as representative of Cameroon (2011 -2014), she strongly advocated for the adoption of the Every Newborn Action Plan. She is currently the national coordinator of the multisector program to combat maternal, newborn and child mortality in Cameroon. In this capacity, she piloted the development of the RMNCAH investment case within the Global Financing Facility for Every Woman Every Child Initiative and is following up on its implementation.


ANNALIESA ANDERSON, DR Keynote Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Dr Annaliesa Anderson, PhD, FAAM has over 20 years of pharmaceutical research experience and is currently the Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer for Bacterial Research, within the Vaccine Research and Development Unit at Pfizer Inc. Her responsibilities include infectious disease vaccine research and development, surveillance, and assessment of the immunopathology of bacterial colonisation and disease.


ANISUR RAHAM SIDDIQUE, DR Keynote Speaker

Dr Anis Siddique, a Bangladesh national has an international career spanning nearly two decades of service to the UN’s country operations in Asia and Africa.

Currently as Head of Coverage and  Equity Implementation unit in UNICEF Headquarters in New York. Prior to this assignment, he worked in Nigeria as Chief of Immunization, Polio & Health systems and spearheaded the health workforce building in collaboration with the Government of Nigeria. Dr Siddique worked extensively in the conflict-laden Lake Chad basin and played a crucial role in delivering vaccines and other life-saving commodities in collaboration with the military partnership.  He joined the UNICEF team in Nigeria in 2016, at the time the country was taking stringent steps to eradicate polio and contributed to the polio-free certification in Nigeria. He was pivotal in new vaccine introduction, Yellow fever elimination strategy and neonatal tetanus elimination.


AJOKE SOBANJO-TER MEULEN, DR – Keynote

Ajoke Sobanjo-ter Meulen, MD, Dr. med., MSc, is a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she serves as the Global Maternal Immunization Lead. In this role, she leads the foundation’s maternal immunization strategy and its implementation via industry, academia, and global health partners. Previously, Ajoke led the maternal immunization clinical development program for Group B streptococcus vaccine at Novartis Vaccines, including the successful IND filing for the first clinical trials in pregnant women in the United States. Further, Ajoke served as Associate Director of Vaccine Clinical Research at Merck Research Laboratories where she led the global phase 3 clinical development program of S. aureus vaccine. Before joining the industry, she was the Program Coordinator for Child Health and Neglected Diseases at the bilateral agency of the German government (GIZ). Ajoke trained in pediatric and adolescent medicine at the University of Würzburg, Germany, and in pediatric infectious diseases at Mount Sinai Medical School, New York. She holds an M.D. degree from the Free University of Berlin, a Dr. med.  degree from the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Hamburg, Germany; and received an M.Sc. degree in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in England. 


MARIE-PIERRE PREZIOSI, DR Keynote Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Medical Officer and Lead Flagship Projects at the Initiative for Vaccine Research World Health Organization.


VINNY SMITH, CEO MENINGITIS RESEARCH FOUNDATION Keynote Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Since joining the MRF in 2015, Vinny has been instrumental in developing and launching a new brand identity, website and strategy. The Foundation has held governments to account on vaccine policy and called for and achieved a new World Health Organisation global task force for meningitis to 2030.

Previously, his roles include International Consultant, Chief Operating Officer and Head of Direct Marketing for organisations as diverse as Cancer Research UK and the African Center for Economic Transformation (Ghana). He is a business development professional, skilled in non-profit organisations, Marketing Management, Corporate Social Responsibility, Business Planning, and Social Enterprise.


BEATE KAMPMANN, PROF. Keynote Speaker

Prof. Beate Kampmann

Professor Beate Kampmann joined the LSHTM from Imperial College London in May 2018 and is the Director of The Vaccine Centre @ LSHTM. She trained as a clinician-scientist in Paediatric Infectious Diseases in Germany, UK, France, the USA and South Africa. Beate holds a Chair in Paediatric Infection & Immunity and was appointed as the Scientific Director (Theme Leader) for Vaccinology research at the MRC Unit The Gambia in July 2010. She directs a comprehensive childhood infection and immunity research program both in the UK and sub-Saharan Africa.

As one of the three theme leaders at the MRC Unit in The Gambia, she oversees all research activities in infant immunology, childhood tuberculosis and molecular diagnostics, which range from basic research into innate and acquired immune responses to infection and vaccination in pregnant women and infants and the conduct of clinical trials of novel vaccines, adjuvants and administration modalities. 

Over the last few years, she has conducted a number of studies in both the UK and West Africa investigating the scientific and implementation challenges of maternal immunization.


Day 2 – 4th November 2021

ZIYAAD DANGOR, PROF. – Track 1 – Parallel Session Convenor

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Associate Professor Ziyaad Dangor is a paediatric pulmonologist at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. As a researcher, Ziyaad completed his doctoral thesis on the clinical and immunological epidemiology of Group B Streptococcus disease at the Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit (now VIDA). In addition, his research interests include childhood TB and sequelae of lung disease in young infants. Ziyaad have undertaken investigator-initiated, original research using a range of clinical, epidemiological, and laboratory-based research techniques to establish a successful research output, including the publication of cited papers in high-impact factor journals in the field.

Ziyaad is actively involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching at the University of Witwatersrand. He serves on the executive committee of the South African Paediatric Association and is an examiner in the College of Paediatricians of South Africa. He is also an instructor with the Advanced Paediatric Life Support Group.


JOY LAWN, PROF. Track 1 – Parallel Session Convenor

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Joy has lived and worked in many African countries, including as a lecturer and neonatalogist in Ghana in the 1990s. She shifted to public health and global estimation working at the WHO Collaborating Center, CDC Atlanta, USA (1998-2001), and then at the Institute of Child Health, London, UK (2001-2004), completing a Masters of Public Health at Emory University, Atlanta and a PhD in perinatal epidemiology at University College London, UK. For ten years she was Director Global Evidence and Policy for Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) programme of Save the Children (Gates Foundation-funded) working with governments and partners to scale up and evaluate newborn care including leadership in Lancet Every Newborn series and Action Plan, leading to the first SDG on neonatal survival.

She has published over 250 peer-reviewed papers, as well as a range of chapters, books and policy-relevant reports. She co-led several Lancet series on newborn survival and stillbirths. 


MERIJN BIJLSMA, DR – Track 1 – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Merijn W Bijlsma currently works at the Department of Neurology, University of Amsterdam. Merijn does research in Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology. His current project is ‘GBS epidemiology, bacterial virulence genes and protective maternal antibody levels’.


PROMA PAUL, DR – Track 1 – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Research Fellow, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Proma is currently a research fellow and the co-ordinator of the multi-country GBS long term outcome study which looks at developmental outcomes of survivors of invasive GBS disease in early infancy in Argentina, India, Kenya, Mozambique, and South Africa.


ANNA SEALE, DR – Track 1 – Parallel Speaker

I trained in paediatrics, and subsequently epidemiology and public health, with a focus on infectious diseases in maternal, child and newborn health.

I currently lead the research programme of the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST), as Deputy Director for Research. This is a collaboration between LSHTM and Public Health England to support response to infectious disease outbreaks worldwide.

I am a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow, and through this I am investigating the aetiology of maternal infection and its association with stillbirth in Ethiopia (Haramaya University) and Kenya (KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme). My work in Ethiopia is based at a new Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance site, which I initiated for LSHTM in 2017, developing a partnership with Haramaya University. 


QUIQUE BASSAT, DR – Track 1 – Parallel Speaker

Dr Quique Bassat, is a pediatrician with a special interest in infectious disease epidemiology and public health.

As a paediatrician, with a special interest in infectious disease epidemiology and public health, Dr Bassat has attempted to combine his clinical work with biomedical research in those diseases that most affect the poor and vulnerable. His main area of interest has been the prevention and treatment of malaria in childhood, with a particular focus on understanding the clinical overlap of malaria and other common pediatric conditions. His research has also covered the new paradigm of malaria eradication, with a particular interest in evaluating the role of drugs in elimination strategies.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Bassat has been involved in different studies and trials to better understand the use of preventive and therapeutic strategies for COVID-19, as well as the particularities of SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease in children. He has advised the Spanish Government on topics related to Pediatric COVID-19.


ERZSEBÉT HORVÀTH- PUHÓ, PROF. – Track 1 – Parallel Speaker

Erzsébet Horváth-Puhó is an associate professor and biostatistician at the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University, Denmark. Dr. Horváth-Puhó has a master’s degree in mathematics, a PhD diploma in Health Sciences, and extensive experience with epidemiological study designs, biostatistical methods, and large databases. She is leading a team of biostatisticians at the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and collaborates closely with international research institutes (e.g. Stanford University, Boston University, London School of Hygiene Tropical Medicine, and Amsterdam UMC). Erzsébet is working on research projects on the long-term impact of group B streptococcal disease on the life of children and their families based on Danish registry data. Dr. Horváth-Puhó is the author or co-author of more than 220 clinical epidemiological research projects published in acknowledged international journals with peer-review.


LINDE SNOEK – Track 1 – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

PhD student, Amsterdam UMC, Neurology

Linde Snoek received her MD in 2019 and worked as a resident at the Paediatric Department at a large, regional hospital in Almere. Since 2020, she is a PhD candidate at the Neurology Department in the Amsterdam UMC. The main focus of her research is the prevention of neonatal invasive GBS infections: ‘the Netherlands observational study on group B streptococcal disease, bacterial virulence and protective serology (NOGBS study)’


JUSTINA BARMUGY, DR – Track 1 – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

ISGlobal, Hospital Clinic – Universitat de Barcelona; Centro de Investigação em Saúde de Manhiça (CISM), Maputo


MARGARET IP, PROF – Track 2 – Parallel Session Convenor

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Chairman, Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Clinical and molecular epidemiology of Gram positive cocci, including characterization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Hong Kong, Group B streptococcus (Streptococcus agalactiae) and Streptococcus pneumoniae. Clinical epidemiology of such infections, incl. pneumococcal bacteraemia and meningitis study, colonisation of Group B streptococcus in pregnancy, toxic shock syndrome in streptococci.


SHANNON MANNING, DR – Track 2 – Parallel Speaker

Shannon Manning is a Michigan State University (MSU) Foundation Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG). She joined the MMG faculty in 2010 after earning her PhD from the University of Michigan and serving as an Emerging Infectious Diseases Research Fellow through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Her research focuses on the molecular epidemiology, evolutionary genetics, and pathogenesis of Streptococcus agalactiae, a leading cause of neonatal infections, as well as common foodborne pathogens such as Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli and Campylobacter. She has contributed to >95 publications and routinely teaches microbial pathogenesis courses for undergraduate and graduate students. Since 2014, she has mentored 15 undergraduate researchers, 13 graduate students and 10 postdoctoral fellows. She received the Best Mentor Award from the National Postdoctoral Association in 2016 as well as the 2017 Outstanding Academic Advisor Award and 2021 Meritorious Faculty Award from the MSU College of Natural Science. She was also recently named a 2021 American Society for Microbiology Distinguished Lecturer.


STEVEN TOWNSEND, DR – Track 2 – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Our small molecule research program is focused on the synthesis of natural products which may prove clinically useful in the treatment of human diseases ranging from cancer to neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s). Our synthesis candidates have been reported to possess interesting biological activity. After chemical synthesis is complete, we employ the process of Diverted Total Synthesis (DTS) to “edit” the natural product to remove toxicity and produce congeners with enhanced potency. We leverage the core strength of Vanderbilt, carefully chosen collaborative efforts, to rigorously evaluate the biological activity of these fully synthetic compounds in vitro and in vivo.

As bacteria play essential roles in maintaining human health and contributing to human illness, the establishment and maintenance of a symbiotic microbiome is key to metabolic, immunologic, and hormonal homeostasis. At no time is this more important than during infancy which is a critical period of growth and immune system development. Human milk contributes substantially to the establishment of a healthy gut microbiome in breastfed infants by providing an inoculum of >400 symbiotic and commensal bacterial species and supplying components that promote or suppress the growth of select bacteria. Yet, our mechanistic understanding of how a host responds to or modulates a bacterial challenge is deficient. The central focus of this program is to define how human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) maintain microbiome homeostasis over dysbiosis.


ASMAA TAZI, DR – Track 2 – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Clinical Bacteriologist – Associate Professor · Hôpitaux Universitaires Paris Centre/Cochin – Université Paris Descartes


LINDSEY BURCHAM, DR – Track 2 – Parallel Speaker

I am a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Kelly Doran. I am particularly interested in understanding how streptococcal pathogens cope with pressures from the host during colonization and invasive disease.


JULIE GUIGNOT, DR – Track 2 – Parallel Speaker

Julie Guignot started her career on Escherichia coli pathogenicity. She joined Claire Poyart’s laboratory in 2015 to work on group B streptococcus where she develops a research project on how meningitis-associated hyper-virulent CC17 group B Streptococcus infects the brain.


JANE PLUMB – Track 6 – Parallel Session Convenor

Jane Plumb co-founded Group B Strep Support with her husband Robert in 1996 after their middle child died from group B Strep infection, and is its Chief Executive. Jane is also Vice-Chair of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ Women’s Network. She is a member of the World Health Organization’s Extended Technical Taskforce on Defeating Meningitis By 2030 and contributed to the WHO’s Roadmap to Defeat Meningitis by 2030. She is the Chair of the Council for the Confederation of Meningitis Organisations and its Europe Africa Regional Leader. Jane was a member of the Department of Health’s priority setting workshops for group B Strep research in 2015/6. She has been a member of several National Institute of Health & Care Excellence guideline development committees, and a co-applicant on many GBS research projects, including currently GBS3 and iGBS3 trials, where she co-leads the Patient & Public Involvement work. Jane was awarded an MBE in 2012 for services to child health, and made an honorary Fellow honoris causa of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists in 2021.”


CAROL J. BAKER, DR. – Track 6 – Parallel Speaker

Carol J. Baker, M.D. is professor of pediatrics at University of Texas Medical School in Houston, USA.

Carol J. Baker, M.D. is a professor of paediatrics at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston and was formerly a professor of paediatrics, molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) from 1975-2018.

Dr Baker made groundbreaking recognition of neonatal and young infant group B streptococcal disease and its correlation of lack of maternal antibodies to the GBS capsular polysaccharide during her infectious diseases fellowship training at BCM and Harvard Medical School. She subsequently expanded knowledge of changing epidemiology of neonatal sepsis, and GBS pathogenesis and prevention strategies, and specifically the development of a maternal GBS vaccine. Her advocacy work first with the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1992 and then with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1996 led to the U.S. guidelines for routine culture screening of pregnant women for GBS colonization and intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis, a policy that has implemented in several European countries and resulted in a more than 85% reduction GBS disease in the U.S. A pioneer in advocating for maternal immunization, the recommendation for routine pertussis booster immunization during every pregnancy was made during her time as Chair of the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices to the CDC, 2009-2012.

She is the author or co-author of more than 450 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, reviews and editorials. A committed clinician and teacher, she has received several awards and mentored dozens of pediatric infectious diseases trainees. A few of her many awards include the Mentor and Alexander Fleming Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Distinguished Physician and Distinguished Research Awards from the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, and the Albert Sabin Gold Medal Award from the Sabin Vaccine Institute. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.


HANNAH DAVIES, DR – Track 6 & 3 – Parallel Speaker

Dr Hannah G Davies is a PhD candidate at St George’s University of London based in Kampala, Uganda. She has worked there for the last three years on projects that aim to accelerate the development and licensure of a GBS vaccine. Her PhD is focused on improving the safety of maternal vaccines in resource-limited settings by strengthening the infrastructure for identifying, reporting and investigating adverse events after immunisation. 


SAM NYE – Track 6 – Parallel Speaker

Sam Nye is CoMO Network Lead for Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO), a part of Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF). Sam has worked for CoMO since 2015 and has always been inspired and amazed by the dedication of its membership to defeating meningitis. She has a background in scientific communication and is passionate about connecting people and de-mystifying scientific topics, especially around healthcare.


JAYA CHANDNA, DR – Track 6 – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Research Fellow, London School Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Jaya is a child development research fellow and the coordinator for the EN-SMILING study which looks at the developmental follow up of children in Bangladesh, Nepal and Tanzania (a nested project within the EN-BIRTH study).


GRACE RAYBOULD, DR – Track 6 – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

I am currently working as a junior doctor in East Midlands, UK after graduating from Keele University in 2020. I have a specialist interest in Women’s health and completed a Master’s degree in Reproductive and Developmental medicine in 2019


PLENARY SESSION: BENCH TO BEDSIDE

CLAIRE POYART, DR Plenary Speaker MC

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Dr Claire Poyart, has done her PhD at the Pasteur Institute on antibiotic resistance mechanisms of gram-positive bacteria.  She was nominated in 1992 as Assistant Professor hospital practioner at Necker University Hospital and in 2003 Professor of University-Hospital Practioner (PUPH) and Chief of the Bacteriology Laboratory of the University Hospital Cochin. She has co-directed 2006 the INSERM team “Barriers and Pathogens” within the Institute Cochin INSERM 1016 and the French National Center for Streptococci. The INSERM team was recreated in 2014 ranked excellent by INSERM CCS3 and labelled as an FRM team (2010-2013).


LAKSHMI RAJAGOPAL, PROF Plenary Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Dr Rajagopal is an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Disease at the University of Washington. She has adjunct faculty appointments in the Departments of Microbiology and Global Health at the University of Washington. She is also a full faculty member of the Molecular and Cellular Biology PhD program of the University of Washington and a course coordinator of the PABIO 551 program in the Interdisciplinary Pathobiology PhD program.

Rajagopal is a member of the Center for Global Infectious Disease Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, where her laboratory is physically located. She is an internationally recognized expert on the role of novel signalling pathways in Gram-positive pathogens.


ASMA KHALIL, PROF Plenary Speaker MC

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Asma Khalil is a Professor of Obstetrics and Maternal-Fetal Medicine at St George’s Hospital, University of London. She gained her MD at the University of London in 2009. She also has a Masters degree in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and an MRC scholarship. She is a subspecialist in Maternal and Fetal Medicine. Asma is the Lead for the Twin and Multiple Pregnancy service at St George’s Hospital. She also leads the Reproductive Health Research Group at St George’s Hospital.


CARSTEN MANTEL, DR Plenary Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

MM Global Health (MMGH) Consulting


THOMAS CHERIAN, DR Plenary Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

MM Global Health (MMGH) Consulting


KIRSTY LE DOARE, PROF TRACK 3 – PARALLEL Speaker MC

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Professor Le Doare joined the SGUL from Imperial College London in September 2018 as part of the Paediatric Infectious Diseases Research Group. She trained as a clinician-scientist in Paediatric Infectious Diseases in the UK, the Gambia and South Africa. Kirsty holds a Chair in Vaccinology and Immunology and is a Principal Scientist at MRC/[email protected] in Uganda where she is developing a maternal vaccine platform and surveillance of pregnancy outcomes in a large urban cohort. She was awarded a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship in 2019.


TATIANA PINTO, PROF TRACK 3 – PARALLEL Speaker MC

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

I have obtained my PhD in Microbiology from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) in November 2009, which was followed by a postdoc fellowship in the infectious diseases program of UFRJ between 2009 and 2014. In 2011, I participated in the Global Pneumococcal Strain Bank Project, in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA, USA. In August 2014, I achieved the permanent position of Assistant Professor in the same University. I have been granted different funding and awards to carry on our laboratory projects. I was selected one of the “Young Scientists of our State” (Jovem Cientista do Nosso Estado) by a local funding agency (Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, FAPERJ), and have been recently recognized as a productive researcher by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico (CNPq) with a productivity fellowship (bolsa de produtividade) level 2.


KELLY DORAN, DR TRACK 3 – PARALLEL Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Kelly Doran, MD, MHS is an emergency physician and faculty member in the Department of Population Health and the Department of Emergency Medicine who studies how health care systems can better address homelessness and other social determinants of health. Dr Doran has been active in homelessness related work and research since working at a student-run homeless shelter as an undergraduate at Harvard College. Dr Doran attended medical school at the University of Michigan, completed a residency in emergency medicine at NYU-Bellevue, and earned a master’s degree in health sciences as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at Yale University. She is a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and works clinically in the emergency department at Bellevue Hospital Center.


PRESCILLA NAGAO, DR – TRACK 3 – PARALLEL Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Dr Prescilla Nagao practices in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Her top areas of expertise are Streptococcal Group B Infection, Diphtheria, Strep Throat, and Meningitis.


RUTH ZADOKS, DR – Track 3 – Parallel Speaker

Professor Zadoks is a veterinarian and molecular epidemiologist.

Professor Zadoks is a veterinarian and molecular epidemiologist who has worked on group B Streptococcus across host species and continents for more than a decade. The scientific name of GBS is Streptococcus agalactiae, which refers to its impact on dairy cattle, where it causes mastitis (inflammation of the mammary gland) and reduced milk production (agalactia). Coming from a background in dairy herd health and bovine mastitis, Prof. Zadoks has since been involved in comparative molecular studies of GBS in Europe, North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia and across host species, including people, cattle, fishes, frogs, sea mammals, and camels.

Her work on GBS ranges from molecular and genomic epidemiology to challenge studies and the development of diagnostics, vaccines, and control recommendations for different host species. With international collaborators and postgraduate students, she has documented the emergence and re-emergence of GBS in cattle, fishes, and camels. Her work has shown that there are no strict host-species barriers separating human and animal-derived GBS and that we can only understand the GBS pangenome and evolution if we consider both human and animal isolates in seroepidemiological and genomic surveillance.

Her work has been funded by academic, government, and industry bodies in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Australia, and she is a collaborator on the JUNO project. She takes an interdisciplinary approach, working with medical, genomic, aquaculture and social science experts, among others; has published over 150 peer-reviewed papers; and is a regular international speaker on GBS, the molecular epidemiology of infectious disease and One Health. With colleagues from Singapore, she was one of the drivers behind the recently published FAO Risk Profile on GBS ST283 in freshwater fish, which is an emerging pathogen of humans transmitted via the foodborne route that threatens food security and public health alike.


STEPHEN BENTLEY, DR – Track 3 – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Stephen joined the Sanger Institute in 1998 to work on the annotation and analysis of bacterial genomes. His early work focused on the antibiotic-producing soil bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor and the rare human pathogen Tropheryma whipplei and provided insights into the mechanisms of horizontal gene transfer, generation of antigenic variation and the prevalence of antibiotic production genes. This was followed by research into Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis showing that gene and genome variation between loci and species was due to common and differing mechanisms of variation. The study to sequence the capsular biosynthesis genes for all known serotypes of S. pneumoniae enabled molecular methods for determining serotype which has brought important new understanding of pneumococcal colonisation and transmission.

Since the development of high throughput sequencing Stephen’s research has focused on population genomics with pioneering papers on MRSA (2010) and the pneumococcus (2011) revealing patterns of international spread, vaccine escape and the acquisition of antimicrobial resistance.


MERIJN BIJLSMA, DR – Track 3 – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Merijn W Bijlsma currently works at the Department of Neurology, University of Amsterdam. Merijn does research in Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology. His current project is ‘GBS epidemiology, bacterial virulence genes and protective maternal antibody levels’.


NATALIA COSTA, DR – Track 3 – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Natália Silva da Costa Granato was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She concluded her bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences: Microbiology and Immunology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2009. Her master’s degree in Human Medical Microbiology was obtained at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012 and her PhD in Sciences (Microbiology) at UFRJ in 2016. Currently she is a postdoctoral researcher in the area of Medical Microbiology at the UFRJ.


NATALIA COSTA, DR – Track 3 – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Natália Silva da Costa Granato was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She concluded her bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences: Microbiology and Immunology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2009. Her master’s degree in Human Medical Microbiology was obtained at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012 and her PhD in Sciences (Microbiology) at UFRJ in 2016. Currently she is a postdoctoral researcher in the area of Medical Microbiology at the UFRJ.


YIJUN DING, DR – Track 3 – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Dr. Ding is a neonatologist at Beijing Children’s Hospital, Beijing, China. Her primary research interest is infectious diseases.


JULIA RHODES, DR – Track 3 – Parallel Speaker

Julia Rhodes, PhD is a senior epidemiologist with the US CDC’s Active Bacterial Core Surveillance Program and leads the CDC’s natural history case-control study to characterize the relationship between GBS capsular polysaccharide antibody levels and risk of infant GBS disease. She earned a Master of Science in Epidemiology in 1995 and Doctor of Philosophy in Epidemiology in 2000 at the University of Maryland Baltimore. In 2000, she joined CDC and in 2004 she moved to Thailand and began working for CDC’s collaboration with the Thailand Ministry of Health. There she developed subject matter expertise in emerging infectious diseases, including childhood pneumonia, invasive bacterial disease, and antimicrobial resistance. In 2017 Dr. Rhodes moved to Atlanta, GA and began work in CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases where she continues to expand her Group B Streptococcal expertise.


STEPHANIE LEUNG – Track 3 – Parallel Speaker

Research Scientist, Public Health England / UK HSA – Porton Down

Stephanie has been working on Group B Streptococcus research in understanding host-pathogen interactions and correlates of complement-mediated protection. She is currently involved in the GASTON consortium to assist the licensure of vaccines through the development of standardised assays for the assessment of vaccine candidates. She graduated from the University of Edinburgh (BSc with Honours in Immunology) and a Masters degree (MSc Immunology) from Imperial College London.


ELIZABETH MASON, DR – Track 5 – PANEL MC

Elizabeth Mason is a specialist in Public Health – Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and has more than 40 years of experience in Clinical care; Policy and Strategy development; Planning, management, implementation and monitoring of programmes at all levels of the health service, including 24 years living and working in Zimbabwe and the African region. She has a special interest in immunization and quality of care.  She was Director of the WHO’s Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, Geneva, for 10 years. She was co-chair of the UN Secretary General’s Independent Accountability Panel for Every Woman, Every Child, Every Adolescent.

She serves on a number of Technical Advisory Groups, Review Panels and Research Groups at the Global and Regional levels. She qualified in Medicine from the University of Leeds, holds a postgraduate qualification in Child Health, an MPH from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health, UK, an Honorary Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute for Global Health, UCL, UK.


TRACEY GOODMAN, DR – Track 5 – SCENE SETTING TALK

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

NARENDRA ARORA, DR – Track 5 – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Prof Narendra Kumar Arora MD, MMSc, from India is the current Executive Director of The INCLEN Trust International since 2005. He holds MD in Pediatrics from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi and has received MMSc in Clinical Epidemiology and Bio-Statistics from the University of Newcastle, Australia under the INCLEN training Program.


STEFANO MALVOLTI – Track 5 – Parallel Speaker

Stefano Malvolti, Managing Director and Co-Founder of MMGH Consulting.

Stefano Malvolti is Managing Director and Co-Founder of MMGH Consulting, an advisory agency assisting public and non-profit clients in the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs and products targeting vaccine-preventable and infectious diseases. The agency, founded in 2017, has advised key immunization actors (WHO, UNICEF, CEPI, Gavi, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the Asian Development Bank, etc.) on more than 70 projects across different countries and regions. Stefano is also a Member of the Board of Directors of Fondazione Achile Sclavo, an NGO focused on facilitating vaccine development for neglected diseases.

In 2016, he served as CEO at Univac, an early-stage Biotech company developing a vaccine platform for viral diseases. Previously he was the Director of Vaccine Implementation at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance where he oversaw more than 150 country introductions across 11 vaccine programs. He also held positions at Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics, PATH, Novartis Pharma, and Baxter Healthcare in public policy, marketing, strategy, supply chain, and finance.

Stefano holds a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and a Master of Business Economics from Bocconi University in Milan. In the past years, he has published several articles on vaccines and immunization, with a particular focus on vaccines’ value proposition and business cases, demand forecasting, and access to vaccines.


DAFROSSA LYIMO, DR – Track 5 – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Medical Doctor with 25 years experience in Public health, planning and management. Skilled in programme management with 10 yrs experience in managing Immunisation programme and surveillance for vaccine preventable diseases. Experience in Measles Rubella elimination strategy with expertise in organising and managing wider age vaccination campaigns. 5 years experience on Electronic Information System and data management tools. Great experience in working with Low and middle income countries together with developed nations, UN agencies, GAVI and multiple international partners.


SARAH GEOGHEGAN, TRACK 5 – PARALLEL Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases, Children’s Health Ireland

Sarah Geoghegan is a consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases in Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin and Temple Street. She is currently completing a PhD at University College Dublin. Her research, which is taking place in the US, Ireland and the Dominican Republic examines global perspectives on maternal immunization, with a particular focus on future vaccines against Group B Streptococcus.


KATE WALKER, DR – Track 5 – Parallel Speaker

Kate F Walker, BMBS, MRCOG, PhD, Clinical Associate Professor in Obstetrics and Anne McLaren Fellow

Faculty of Medicine, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

Dr Walker is a Clinical Associate Professor in Obstetrics at the University of Nottingham. She divides her time equally between research and clinical work. Her research work is based in Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit (NCTU). And her clinical work is based at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust.

Clinically Dr Walker has an interest in high-risk pregnancy, labour ward management and obstetric ultrasound scanning. Her research work has focused on randomised controlled trials in obstetrics, gynaecology and neonatology.


RAYMOND HUTUBESSY, DR – Track 7 – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Raymond Hutubessy is a health economist with over 25 years of experience in health economics analysis in both high-income and low- to middle-income countries. His M.Sc. is in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Maastricht and his Ph.D. is in Economic Evaluations of Health from Erasmus University, Rotterdam. He worked at the University of Maastricht and VU Medical Centre Amsterdam on the economic evaluations of non-communicable diseases and extramural care. In 1997 he joined the WHO and worked in various departments: at the WHO Country Office in Bangkok; the WHO CHOICE team at WHO-HQ and the Stop TB department on economic policy research in the Russian Federation. Since 2005 he has been an active staff member of the Immunization, Vaccine and Biologicals Department at the WHO-HQ as a lead economist, where he sponsors and conducts research in vaccine impact, economics and modelling of vaccine-preventable diseases. He has published over 100 articles in peer-reviewed publications in the field of vaccines, tuberculosis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes economics, policy research, and financing. Finally he serves as the Executive Secretary of the WHO Immunization and Vaccine-related Implementation Research (IVIR) Advisory Committee (formerly QUIVER-AC) since its inauguration in 2007.


FARAH SEEDAT, DR – Track 7 – Parallel Speaker

Dr Farah Seedat, Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Farah is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where she has been working on studies on the long-term impact of iGBS in children in low and middle-income countries. She is also a Senior Evidence Manager at the UK National Screening Committee, hosted by Public Health England, where she manages the UK policy on antenatal GBS screening. As part of this, she is working on how to address the evidence gaps related to GBS, including its long-term impact.


FARAH SEEDAT, DR – Track 7 – Parallel Speaker

Dr Farah Seedat, Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Farah is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where she has been working on studies on the long-term impact of iGBS in children in low and middle-income countries. She is also a Senior Evidence Manager at the UK National Screening Committee, hosted by Public Health England, where she manages the UK policy on antenatal GBS screening. As part of this, she is working on how to address the evidence gaps related to GBS, including its long-term impact.


SHANNON LEAHY, DR – Track 7 – Parallel Speaker

I am a specialist paediatrician working at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg South Africa. The Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital is the third-largest hospital in the world, and it serves a population of approximately 1.2 million people. I am currently training as a paediatric nephrologist and gaining practical experience in acute and chronic dialysis programs. I have published a three-decade experience of Prune Belly Syndrome at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in 2018. I am a keen junior researcher and have been part of a multinational team looking at the long-term impact of group B streptococcus disease in children. I hope to continue my research journey in this field and make an impact on the prevention of this disease and others.


PLENARY – PARENTS & NEXT GENERATION RESEARCH

CHARLOTTE CLEARY – Track 6 – Plenary Speaker

Charlotte Cleary lives in England where she is mother to two daughters Aimee, aged 10 and Millie aged 1. Born in July 2011, Aimee contracted GBS meningitis at 5 days old. As a result of the brain damage, her full diagnosis today is quadriplegic spastic dystonia cerebral palsy. 


KALLIE HESS – Track 6 – Plenary Speaker

Kallie Hess lives in Louisiana in the US. She is a wife, mother of two and a nurse practitioner. Her son Wyatt was diagnosed with late-onset group B Strep meningitis on August 19 in 2021 at 17 days old. Kallie tested negative for group B Strep and had a planned Caesarean.


DEBBIE FORWOOD – Track 6 – Plenary Speaker

Debbie lost her daughter Ada to an ascending group B Strep infection in 2019. She is also a mother to 14-month-old Alexander, lives in London and works as a fundraiser in the music industry.


ANGELA KOECH, DR – Track 8 – Plenary Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Dr. Angela Koech Etyang is a physician scientist at the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health and an Instructor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Aga Khan University – Nairobi.

She is a medical doctor and holds an MMed (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) degree from the Aga Khan University and an MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has 8 years’ experience in clinical medicine and over 4 years’ experience in clinical research in the area of maternal and newborn health. She has been involved in setting up and conducting several clinical studies alongside a perinatal surveillance program at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust research program in Kenya. Her previous work has been in the areas of maternal Group B Streptococcus and its role in neonatal disease, fetal growth and aetiology of preterm birth/low birth weight, preeclampsia and its risk factors and the role of inflammatory markers in preterm pre-labour rupture of membranes. She is also interested in improving routine data collection systems in pregnancy and reducing inequities in access to health care in pregnancy and delivery. She has publications in peer reviewed journals and has presented in several local and international conferences.


LAURA BONOFIGLIO, DR – Track 8 – Plenary Speaker

Laura obtained her PhD in Microbiology from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) in 2008. In the same year, she gained a position as a lecturer of Microbiology at the Microbiology Department of UBA. During her PhD., she received a fellowship to study the biology of pneumococcus at CIB- CSIC, Madrid, Spain, under Dr Ernesto García. In 2010 Laura achieved a position as a researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council in Argentina. In 2014 Laura co-directed an Argentinian Multicenter Study of invasive Streptococcus agalactiae. She has been granted several funds to carry out her laboratory projects. Laura is a Board Member of Revista Argentina de Microbiología, Coordinator of Group Strep of Asociación Argentina de Microbiología (AAM), and Head Coordinator of the Subcomission of Microbiology Education at AAM.


PRISCILLA ROMINA DE GREGORIO, DR – Track 8 – Plenary Speaker

Dr. Priscilla De Gregorio obtained a Biotechnology degree in 2009 at the National University of Tucuman, Argentina. She got the Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at the same University in 2015, and a postdoctoral degree in 2017, both supported by scholarships of the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET) from Argentina. In 2017, she got a CONICET position as a scientist at Reference Center for Lactobacilli (CERELA), and her research is focused on: “Design of probiotic products containing beneficial vaginal lactobacilli for the prevention of female urogenital infections”

During her Ph.D. and at present she was working in the preventive and/or therapeutic effect of vaginal lactobacilli against urogenital pathogens (between them Streptococcus agalactiae) both in in vitro and in vivo experimental models. She has gained experience in different areas as microbiology, immunology, and nanotechnology. She carried out assays using eukaryotic cell and murine experimental models trying to understand mechanistic studies of lactobacilli and/or their metabolites at the urogenital tract. She has actively participated in two clinical studies in healthy women where Lactobacillus effect was evaluated. She is co-authoring 15 publications in international journals (9 as the first author), 1 book chapter, and 1 patent, being most of them related to vaginal probiotics. She has participated in different international and national scientific meetings, in granted research projects, and in the license of probiotic vaginal Lactobacillus strains to an Argentina Company. She has trained with different research groups in Germany, Brazil, and Italy. She is co-mentoring a Ph.D. thesis and a master’s degree, and she is training permanently undergraduate students, all of them in subjects related to probiotic characterization.


TARA RANDIS, DR – Track 8 – Plenary Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Associate Professor of Pediatrics, and the Pamela and Leslie Muma Chair in Neonatology at the University of South Florida. Dr. Randis completed her residency in Pediatrics at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. Dr. Randis is board certified in Pediatrics and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. Dr. Randis’ interests include research focused on Group B Streptococcus, with a specific interest in the mechanisms of bacterial colonization of the female reproductive tract as it relates to adverse pregnancy outcomes including chorioamnionitis, preterm labor and neonatal sepsis.


CLARE CUTLAND, DR – CAROL BAKER HONORARY LECTURE MC

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Clare Cutland is the Scientific Coordinator of the African Leadership in Vaccinology Expertise (Alive) consortium. ALIVE was selected as the flagship entity for the University of the Witwatersrand in 2016, and aims to create African expertise and leadership in vaccinology training, research and advocacy. She has established and coordinates the MSc(Med) in the field of vaccinology at Wits, and the 10-day African advanced vaccinology short course.


SHABIR A. MADHI, DR, M.B.B.C.H. (Wits), FCPaeds(SA), – Keynote Speaker – Carol Baker Honorary Lecture

Shabir Madhi is the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Professor of Vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Shabir Madhi is the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Professor of Vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He also holds the position of Director of the South African Medical Research Council Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit (VIDA) and is co-Director of the African Leadership Initiative for Vaccinology Expertise (ALIVE). He has in the past led studies on pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and rotavirus vaccine in Africa, which informed WHO recommendations on the use of these vaccines in low and middle-income settings. He has led studies on the clinical development of vaccines for pregnant women aimed at the protection of mother-infant dyads. Most recently he led the first two COVID-19 vaccine studies being undertaken in Africa and has been involved in multiple epidemiological studies on Covid-19 in South Africa.  He has co-authored more than 480 scientific manuscripts since 1997, mainly on vaccine-preventable diseases.


Day 3 – 5th November 2021

PAUL Heath, PROF – Track 4 Vaccines – Parallel Speaker

Prof. Paul Heath, St George's University of London
Prof. Paul Heath, St George’s University of London

Professor Heath trained in paediatrics and infectious diseases at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, and St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. He is also a member of Public Health England Vaccine Preventable Invasive Bacterial Forum, the steering committee of the Brighton Collaboration, the Paediatric European Network for Treatment of AIDS vaccination guidelines group, the advisory committee of the Meningitis Research Foundation and the European Society of Paediatric Infectious Diseases Committee for Research. In addition, Professor Heath is the co-director of the London & South East Medicine for Children Research Network and Secretary of the UK Paediatric Vaccines Group.


PAULINE PATERSON, DR – Track 4 Vaccines – Parallel Speaker

Dr Pauline Paterson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK and is Co-Director of The Vaccine Confidence Project. Dr Paterson has been researching issues of public confidence in immunisations since 2010, co-leading a recent global study exploring views towards vaccinating in pregnancy.  

Dr Paterson is a member of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit in Immunisation and has an honorary academic contract with Public Health England. Dr Paterson has a PhD in Epidemiology, MBA and MSc from Imperial College London.


PER FISCHER, DR – Track 4 Vaccines – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Per Fischer holdS a D.Phil from University of Oxford. Has 25 years of experience for the Pharmaceutical and Biotech Industry.


PENDA JOHM – TRACK 4 – Parallel Speaker

Penda Johm is a social scientist specialized in medical anthropology and based at the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene at Tropical Medicine ([email protected]). Penda is also a PhD candidate at the LSHTM, and her PhD research explores women in the Gambia’s acceptance of maternal vaccinations as well as related health system factors. She holds a BSc from Carleton University and an MSc from King’s College London. Penda hopes to make a positive impact by improving policy related to public health and health interventions in her home country of The Gambia.


MORENA MAKHOANA, DR – Track 4 – Parallel Speaker

Dr Morena Makhoana joined Biovac in 2004 and holds the role of Chief Executive Officer. Before his CEO role at Biovac, he had the position of Deputy CEO and before that of Medical Affairs Director for Biovac. His mandate is to realise the objective of building vaccine manufacturing capacity in Southern Africa through Biovac. Biovac was established to revive vaccine manufacturing capability in South Africa. Africa has limited ability in human vaccine manufacture. Its vision and mission are to develop sustainable world-class international African vaccine manufacturing capability by protecting life through the development, manufacture and supply of much needed and vaccines. During his tenure, Biovac has secured two successful technology transfers with global pharmaceutical companies such as Sanofi and Pfizer, allowing it to grow its staff complement from 24 to over 320. Morena is a medical graduate from the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa. He has participated in Senior Executive Courses at both Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School. He also serves as the Chairperson of the South African College of Applied Science (SACAP).


MORENA MAKHOANA, DR – Track 4 – Parallel Speaker

Dr Morena Makhoana joined Biovac in 2004 and holds the role of Chief Executive Officer. Before his CEO role at Biovac, he had the position of Deputy CEO and before that of Medical Affairs Director for Biovac. His mandate is to realise the objective of building vaccine manufacturing capacity in Southern Africa through Biovac. Biovac was established to revive vaccine manufacturing capability in South Africa. Africa has limited ability in human vaccine manufacture. Its vision and mission are to develop sustainable world-class international African vaccine manufacturing capability by protecting life through the development, manufacture and supply of much needed and vaccines. During his tenure, Biovac has secured two successful technology transfers with global pharmaceutical companies such as Sanofi and Pfizer, allowing it to grow its staff complement from 24 to over 320. Morena is a medical graduate from the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa. He has participated in Senior Executive Courses at both Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School. He also serves as the Chairperson of the South African College of Applied Science (SACAP).


GAURAV KWATRA – TRACK 8 REAL WORLD– Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Dr Gaurav Kwatra is a Senior Medical Scientist at Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit (VIDA), University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He has been involved in research on vaccine development for 17 years. His current research focus is on Group B Streptococcus (GBS) epidemiology, immunological correlates of protection and development of GBS vaccine.


HYLEMARIAM MIHIRETIE MENGIST, DR – Track 8 Real World – Parallel Speaker

Hylemariam Mihiretie Mengist is an Ethiopian masters degree graduate from Addis Ababa University. He received a degree in Microbiology in 2014. Hylemariam is an assistant professor of microbiology in the department of the medical laboratory at Debre Markos University, Ethiopia. Hylemariam is currently a young PhD researcher focusing on pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment, vaccination and prevention of medically necessary microorganisms. He has ample academic, research and community service experience and has presented his research outcomes nationally and internationally.


DEBORA DA COSTA MORATO NERY – Track 8 Real World – Elevator & Poster Talk

Clinical Microbiologist at Hospital Universitário Clementino Fraga Filho at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ) and PhD student at Instituto de Microbiologia Paulo de Góes (IMPG- UFRJ) currently working with new approaches for GS detection, identification and phenotypical and genotypical characterization, in pregnant women.


JAYA CHANDNA – Track 8 Real World – PARALLEL SPEAKER

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Jaya Chandna is a child psychologist and has been working in the area of child development for the past 10 years. She has spent six years in Malawi and Zimbabwe as a research fellow on early child development research studies. She has extensive experience in training teams to use a variety of child development assessment tools.


KATHLEEN CAR – Track 8 – Real World – Parallel Speaker

Kathleen Car is a recently qualified Paediatrician from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She is currently working as a researcher for the Perinatal HIV Research Unit, at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, on Enhancing Diagnostics and Improving outcomes in Childhood TB (EDICT) study. She has presented her master’s thesis “The Burden of Early Onset Sepsis in Neonates with Neonatal Encephalopathy” at multiple local conferences achieving Best Oral in the Registrar Researcher Category at the 4th Biennial USANA Conference in September 2019. She has a keen interest in Infectious Disease and Paediatric Critical Care with a budding passion for research and hopes to one day to complete her PhD.


HIMA B JOHN – Track 8 – Real World – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Hima John is an Occupational therapist with more than 10 years experience in the Neonatal ICU and follow up clinic. She is passionate about developmentally supportive care and promoting optimal oral feeding experiences to infants. Her research foci include early identification of developmental disabilities through rigorous follow up care and neurological and movement assessments. She works towards the implementation of family centered and developmentally supportive care giving with infants and families in the NICU.


LOIS HARDEN, DR – Track 8 Real World – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Lois Harden is an Associate Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. She is working as a researcher and lecturer in the Brain Function Research Group in the School of Physiology at the University of the Witwatersrand. Her work includes teaching physiology to second year medical students, second year allied health professions students and Bachelor of Science students and coordinating the postgraduate program. For the past nine years, her primary research areas have been in the fields of fever, immunology and neuroscience. More recently she has expanded her research interests to studying the effect that acute infection and inflammation has on cognitive functioning.


KATY PATRAS, DR – Track 8 LABS – Parallel Speaker

My intent is to understand biological mechanisms dictating interactions between mucosal immunity and microbiota of the female urogenital tract, with applications in both disease pathogenesis and overall women’s reproductive health.


LAURA COOK, DR – Track 8 Labs – Parallel Speaker

Dr Laura Cook, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Binghamton University.

Laura Cook grew up in Rochester, MN, and earned her B.A. degree in English Literature and B.S. degree in Microbiology from the University of Minnesota in 2005. As an undergraduate, she worked in the laboratory of Dr Patrick Schlievert for 3 years studying staphylococcal superantigen toxins. She stayed at the University of Minnesota to obtain her PhD in Microbiology studying enterococcal conjugation and biofilm formation in the lab of Dr Gary Dunny in 2006. Laura began her postdoctoral training at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the lab of Dr Michael Federle in 2012. While there, she began her work with streptococci, examining cell-cell communication between streptococcal species and streptococcal-host interactions. In 2018, Dr Cook moved to Binghamton University to begin a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. She is also a member of the Binghamton Biofilm Research Center. Her lab currently focuses on two species of pathogenic bacteria, Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus agalactiae, and their interactions with host mucosal surfaces and the resident microbiota.


COLE R MCCUTCHEON – Track 8 LABS – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Cole McCutcheon is a 6th year PhD candidate in the labs of Dr. Shannon Manning and Dr. Margaret Petroff at Michigan State University. His work focuses on elucidating how strain diversity impact disease outcomes during in utero infections. Specifically, he is interested in understanding how strain variation in membrane vesicle production and composition shapes infection phenotypes.


BRADY SPENCER – Track 8 LABS – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

I am a fourth year postdoctoral fellow in Kelly Doran’s laboratory at University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus studying Group B streptococcal interactions with the host.


REBECCA KEOGH, DR – Track 8 LABS – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Rebecca Keogh is a first-year Postdoctoral Fellow in the labs of Drs. Kelly Doran and Alexander Horswill. She earned her PhD in the lab of Dr. Ronan Carroll at Ohio University in 2020. As a Postdoc, Rebecca has developed a novel model of GBS diabetic wound infection. She hopes this model can be adopted in the field to address this clinically relevant model of GBS pathogenesis in the immunocompromised.


VICKI MERCADO – Track 8 LABS – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Vicki Mercado is a 5th year MD/PhD candidate whose interests lie at the interface of immunology, host-microbe interactions, pediatric clinical care, and minority health with a focus on health equity and disparities. As the first in her family to pursue medicine or science, she is passionate about increasing representation of underrepresented and first-generation scholars in these fields. Vicki’s long-term career goal is to be in a position where she can fulfill her passions of caring for and empowering patients, leading research with potential to improve patients’ lives and mentoring underrepresented students while advocating for minority health and advancement.


MACY PELL – Track 8 Labs – Parallel Speaker

Macy Pell is a PhD candidate in the lab of Dr Shannon Manning at Michigan State University (MSU), currently studying pathogenesis mechanisms and genomic diversity of Group B Streptococcus (GBS). She is particularly interested in stress response and virulence mechanisms behind persistent infections of GBS during pregnancy.

Macy received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May of 2018 studying Microbiology. As an undergraduate, Macy investigated the population dynamics and diversity of Influenza viruses in non-human primate models in the lab of Dr Thomas Friedrich. During the summers of her undergraduate career, Macy also performed research in Dr Christopher Waters’ lab at MSU where she studied second-messenger signalling pathways in Vibrio cholerae and co-authored her first publication.


KAY TO – Track 8 Labs – Parallel Speaker

Kay To is a final-year PhD student, finishing up her project on Group B Streptococcus genomics under the supervision of Professor Kirsty le Doare and Dr Elita Jauneikaite at Imperial College London. She previously completed a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences from King’s College London and then embarked on an MRes in Bacterial Infection and Immunity at Imperial College London. Her PhD project focuses on using a Gambian mother-infant cohort to understand the genetic associations of mother to infant transmission using both bioinformatics and molecular microbiology techniques.


DULMINI NANAYAKKARA SAPUGAHAWATTE – Track 8 Labs – Parallel Speaker

Dulmini N. Sapugahawatte is a final year PhD student in the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her doctoral research investigates the characterization of animal and human Group B Streptococcususing phenotypic and genotypic methods. She also interests in antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic bacteria, with a special focus on applying whole-genome sequencing for the identification of novel antibiotic resistance mechanisms. She took a multidisciplinary approach that encompasses the fields of bacteriology, infectious disease, public health and genomics.


CILICIA NASCIMENTO – Track 8 Labs – Parallel Speaker

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

I have been working with Group B Streptococcus for four years. I majored in Biomedical Sciences and I have a master’s degree in sciences, obtained in 2019. In the same year I started my PhD. I truly believe in the power of spreading science.


KRISTEN DOMINGUEZ – Track 8 Lab – Elevator & Poster Talk

Kristen Domínguez is a Biomedical Sciences PhD student in Dr Tara Randis’s lab co-mentored by Dr Sophie Darch at the University of South Florida. Her research is focused on understanding late-onset GBS pathogenesis to develop prophylactic strategies. She earned her BA/BS in Psychology/Biology from Florida International University and completed the NIH-funded Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program in infectious diseases at the University of Georgia. 


CAMILLE BARRO – Track 8 Labs – Elevator & Poster Talk

Camille is a junior scientist working as a laboratory technician in the Paediatric Infectious Diseases Research Group at St George’s, University of London, under the supervision of Prof. Kirsty Le Doare. She obtained an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree in Vaccinology coordinated by the Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University in 2021. Her Master internship project focused on the growth dynamics in enrichment broth of GBS serotypes. 


ELEANOR REID – Track 8 Labs – Elevator & Poster Talk

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

Eleanor is a 4th year medical student studying at the University of Nottingham. A passion for the neonatal microbiome began with a high school research project and has since been able to complete her BMedSci dissertation on the topic. She wishes to continue research in neonatal field and hopes to one day become a paediatrician.


ALEXANDRA SHARP – Track 8 Lab – Elevator & Poster Talk

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

I am a third year medical student at the University of Nottingham with a keen interest in the neonatal microbiome having just written my dissertation (a systematic review) on the topic.


OLWENN DANIEL – Track 8 Labs – Elevator & Poster Talk

Olwenn is a technician at St George’s of London Paediatric Infectious Diseases Research Group since September 2020. She graduated from a bachelors in Life Sciences and then completed a master in Molecular and Cellular Biology in Lyon in 2020. Her current research on Group B Streptococcus involves the development of immunoassays to measure antibody levels in human body fluids.


CLOSING PLENARY – GROUP B STREP: WHAT NOW AND WHAT NEXT BY 2023?

HANNAH BLENCOWE, DR – Track 1 – Plenary Speaker

Dr Hannah Blencowe, Assistant Professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Hannah Blencowe is a clinician and perinatal epidemiologist, and currently an assistant professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), with over fifteen years of experience in global health. Her research is focused on maternal, perinatal, and child. Hannah’s specific skills are regarding improving national and global measurement and estimation of perinatal outcomes. She was a leading author on Lancet papers regarding national and global rates of preterm birth (2012), stillbirths (2011 and 2016), and low birth weight (2019). She has played a central role in the Lancet Every Newborn series, Every Newborn Action Plan (2014), and Lancet Ending Preventable Stillbirths series (2016). She has also coordinated novel estimates on congenital conditions and disability after neonatal complications. In addition to improving data, she works on how data can be used in policy and programs towards ending preventable deaths, including stillbirths. She contributes to ongoing UN-led work to improve perinatal data through providing country technical support and supporting further research as part of the UN-IGME Core Stillbirth Estimation Group, the Every Newborn Action Plan metrics group, and the Vulnerable Newborns working group. She is co-chair of the Global Stillbirth Advocacy Working Group.


DAVID ARONOFF, PROF – CLOSING COMMENTS

Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC
Streptococcus agalactiae image Source: CDC

The overarching goal of the Aronoff lab is to improve human health through discovery, with a primary interest on maternal-child wellness. The Aronoff lab primarily studies bacterial infections that complicate pregnancy. These infections include perinatal streptococcal infections and postpartum clostridial infections. Our major interest is revealing root molecular mechanisms whereby bacterial pathogens evade innate immunity within the female reproductive tract. In this context we have a special interest in the role that host-derived lipid mediators (eicosanoids) play in modulating immune responses to microbial invaders. Our work with toxigenic clostridia has extended to non-reproductive tract infections, such as colitis caused by Clostridium diffficile. Members of our lab engage in a range of research approaches, from purely bench science to translational science to purely clinical research. We value interdisciplinary team science.


Add-on session (Gates Foundation): Data – a gamechanger for maternal immunization uptake and coverage

PROFESSOR FLOR MUNOZ-RIVAS

Dr. Munoz is Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Infectious Diseases, Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, and Director of Transplant Infectious Diseases at Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, TX. She is a physician-scientist with projects focusing on the epidemiology of respiratory infections in healthy and immunocompromised hosts, and the evaluation of vaccines in pregnant women and children. Dr Muñoz is a former member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Infectious Diseases (COID), the Influenza Work Group of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and current member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Immunization Expert Work Group. She is currently co-Chair of the Maternal Immunization working group of COVAX-CEPI and Chair of the Maternal Immunization working group of the NIH IDCRC.


PROFESSOR MARIAN KNIGHT

Marian Knight is Professor of Maternal and Child Population Health at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, UK. She is a public health physician and applied health researcher whose research focuses on the care and prevention of severe complications of pregnancy and early life and addressing disparities in outcomes for women and babies from different population groups. She established the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS) in 2005 to conduct national studies of severe morbidities in pregnancy and leads the MBRRACE-UK national Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity. She was elected to fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2021 in recognition of her exceptional contribution to the advancement of medical science.


PROFESSOR LEE FAIRLIE

Prof Lee Fairlie is the Director of Maternal and Child Health at Wits RHI. Prof Fairlie has obtained a medical degree (MBChB) from the University of Cape Town in 1997 and a Paediatric Specialist qualification (FCPaeds SA) from the University of Witwatersrand in 2005. She has worked as a paediatrician in the HIV and infectious diseases (specifically TB) field since 2006. Prof Fairlie conducts clinical trials, implementation science research and clinical work, as well as providing technical assistance and programmatic work aimed at strengthening health care for women, children, and adolescents living with HIV or accessing HIV prevention. The clinical and research work that she leads focuses on HIV treatment and prevention, TB, and other vaccine-preventable diseases particularly in maternal populations, children, and adolescents.  More recently she has been involved in COVID-19 work, including vaccines, in these and adult populations.

Prof Lee Fairlie is a member of the IMPAACT Treatment Scientific Committee, and several IMPAACT protocol teams, and she co-leads the Ubomi Buhle Pregnancy Register with Dr Ushma Mehta. She has published over 50 peer-reviewed publications in her fields of interest.


PROFESSOR ALISA KACHIKIS

Dr. Alisa Kachikis is an Assistant Professor of Maternal-Fetal Medicine in the University of Washington Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Her research interests include vaccinations and infections in pregnancy, prematurity prevention, and global health. She is currently leading a prospective study investigating maternal immunizations in low- and high-risk pregnancies as well as a prospective survey-based study on COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy and lactation. Dr. Kachikis completed her medical training at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and her residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She worked at the University of Malawi College of Medicine as an Obstetrician-Gynecologist with Peace Corps for two years before completing a fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Washington. Dr. Kachikis also holds a M.Sc. degree in Global Health Policy from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.