Day 1 – 3rd November 2021

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

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. 


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.


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.


KIM EVA DICKSON, DR Keynote Speaker

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.


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

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

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’.


JAYA CHANDNA, DR – Track 1 – Parallel Speaker

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

Child Development Research Fellow, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

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.


ANNA SEALE, DR – Track 1 – Parallel Speaker

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

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.


CHRISPIN CHAGUZA, DR – Track 2 – Parallel Speaker

Chrispin is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Parasites and Microbes Programme at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. He analyses large epidemiological and genomic datasets of microbial pathogens to understand pathogenesis, evolution, drug resistance, transmission, and epidemiology.


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

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

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 is on the International Symposium on Streptococcus Agalactiae Disease 2021 Conference Local and Scientific Organising Committees, leading the Patient Voice Stream. Jane was a member of the Department of Health’s priority setting workshops for group B Strep research in 2015/6. She has sat on several National Institute of Health & Care Excellence guideline development committees. Jane has been and is a coapplicant on many group b Strep research projects, including the GBS3 trial, where she co-leads the Patient & Public Involvement work. Jane was awarded an MBE in 2012 for services to child health and a Fellow of the RSA.


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.


PROMA PAUL, DR – Track 6 – Parallel Speaker

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

Research Fellow, London School Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Over 15 years of experience in epidemiological and operational research; with a focus on maternal and child health outcomes.


KATE WALKER, DR – Track 6 – Parallel Speaker

I am a Clinical Associate Professor in Obstetrics at the University of Nottingham. I divide my time equally between research and clinical work. My research work is based in Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit (NCTU). My clinical work is based at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust.
Clinically I have an interest in high risk pregnancy, labour ward management and obstetric ultrasound scanning. My research work has focused on randomised controlled trials in obstetrics, gynaecology and neonatology.


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.


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.


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.


AJOKE SOBANJO-TER MEULEN, DR – Plenary 1, Track 4 & 5 – Plenary & Parallel Speaker

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. 


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.


NATALIA COSTA, DR – Track 3 – Parallel Speaker

Dr Natália Costa is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She received her bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and Immunology from UFRJ in 2009. Her master’s degree was obtained in Human Medical Microbiology from the State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012 and her doctoral degree was earned in Microbiology from UFRJ in 2016. She has been working on molecular epidemiology of streptococcal species for more than ten years and currently, her studies are focused on Group B Streptococcus colonizing pregnant women in Brazil.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Day 3 – 5th November 2021

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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 GBS detection, identification and phenotypical and genotypical characterization, in pregnant women.