18th ICID | International Congress on Infectious Diseases, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Plenary Lectures
"Evolutions in Global Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness"

Gaya Gamhewage, is the manager and team leader of Support for Response Unit of the Infectious Hazard Management Department of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme.

Dr Gamhewage has 15 years of experience in WHO including 8 years in humanitarian response capacity building, and 4 years as head of Corporate Communications and 3 years as head of risk communications. She is currently also responsible for supporting WHO Member States to build sustainable risk communications capacity as required by the International health regulations (2005), the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework and for integrating risk communication in all outbreak response work. In 2015 alone, she and her team trained 1,500 experts from 122 countries in risk communication. She also led the development of WHO’s first-ever evidence-based guideline on emergency risk communication and has published several articles on the practice of risk communication in the 21st century.

For the international response to the Ebola Virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa 2014-2015, Dr Gamhewage was assigned to coordinate all Ebola-related training for WHO. She leads risk communication and community engagement work at global level for WHO’s responses to Zika and Yellow Fever. She currently serves on the WHO Guideline Review Committee.

A medical doctor by training, Dr Gamhewage holds an Executive Master in International Negotiation and Policy-Making by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies of Geneva and has several qualifications in conflict management, negotiation, and in initiatives such as UNICEF’s Children as Zones of Peace and WHO`s Health as Bridge for Peace. She has additional training in public health advocacy, social marketing, adult learning and medical teaching, human rights programming and global health studies.

Born in Sri Lanka, she spent most of her childhood in England. She spent 8 years in China studying and practicing medicine, and has carried out assignments in more than 50 countries. She speaks English, Chinese and Sinhalese and is learning Russian.

"New Frontiers In Our Approaches To Antimicrobial Resistance"

Alison is Professor of Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London. She has a longstanding clinical and research career in infectious diseases, with particular interests in antibiotic use, antimicrobial resistance, epidemiology and public health and she serves on the Executive Committee of the International Society of Infectious Diseases.

Alison leads a large multidisciplinary research group and network, which collaborates nationally and internationally. She leads an Antimicrobial Research Collaborative at Imperial College and is Director of the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance. She sits on a variety of WHO expert groups and committees, and sits on or chairs numerous international scientific advisory boards, funding panels and editorial boards. 

In the NHS in the UK, she is an Associate Medical Director, Director of Infection Prevention and Control, and a consultant in infectious diseases. She served as an expert member of the Governmental Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection for nine years.

She was born in Nigeria and grew up in East Africa, the Middle East and Swaziland. She was an undergraduate at Cambridge University and completed her medical training at St George’s, London. Her specialist training in communicable diseases and tropical medicine took place in Oxford and she gained a DTM&H from London. She then completed an ID fellowship programme in Boston, where her research was conducted in the Maxwell Finland Laboratories in molecular epidemiology and she gained an MPH in International Health from Harvard. In addition to her work in infectious diseases, she has been involved in refugee health, health and human rights and has served as medical advisor to VSO, UK. She became a Professor in Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London in 2009, and in 2017 was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, UK.

'Enteric Infections in Under Resourced Countries – From Research to Clinical Practice'

Prof. Gagandeep Kang is a physician scientist who for many years was a Professor of Microbiology and Head of the Division of Gastrointestinal Sciences and the Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory at the Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore. Focusing on vaccines, enteric infections and nutrition in young children, she combines field epidemiology with intensive laboratory investigations to develop data, insight and tools that have advanced both the science of infectious diseases and policy in India.

Prof. Kang's groundbreaking work has been recognized with numerous awards and honors. These include Woman Bioscientist of the Year from the Government of India (2006); several national awards and the Infosys Prize for Life Sciences (2016). In addition to her pioneering research in low resource settings, she contributes to the biomedical sciences through serving on numerous national and international editorial boards, research grant review boards, and scientific advisory committees. Recently Prof. Kang was appointed Executive Director of the Translational Health Service and Technology Institute (THSTI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.

She holds MBBS, MD and PhD degrees from CMC and a Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists, London. She has also been elected to the Fellowship of the American Academy of Microbiology (2010), the Indian Academy of Sciences (2011), National Academy of Sciences (2013), the Faculty of Public Health in the UK (2016), and the Indian National Science Academy (2016).

'The Human Microbiome'

David A. Relman, MD is the Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan Professor in Medicine, and Microbiology & Immunology at Stanford University. He is also Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto, California. He is also Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford.

Dr. Relman was an early pioneer in the modern study of the human indigenous microbiota. His more recent work has focused on human microbial community assembly, and community stability and resilience in the face of disturbance. Ecological theory and predictions are tested in clinical studies with multiple approaches for characterizing the human microbiome. Previous work included the development of molecular methods for identifying novel microbial pathogens, and the subsequent identification of several historically important microbial disease agents. One of his papers was selected as “one of the 50 most important publications of the past century” by the American Society for Microbiology.

Dr. Relman received an S.B. (Biology) from MIT, M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and joined the faculty at Stanford in 1994. He served as vice-chair of the NAS Committee that reviewed the science performed as part of the FBI investigation of the 2001 Anthrax Letters, a member of the National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity, and President of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He was chair of the Forum on Microbial Threats at the National Academy of Medicine from 2007-2017. He has received an NIH Pioneer Award, an NIH Transformative Research Award, and was elected a member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2011.

'Advances and Challenges in the Treatment of Chagas Disease - a Global Perspective'

Dr. Sergio Sosa-Estani is a medical surgeon and a graduate from the School of Medicine, University of Córdoba, Argentina. He has an MPH from the School of Public Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He got his medical degree from the School of Medicine, University of Buenos Aires and he held a post-doctoral position at CEBGH/SPHTM, Tulane University, USA.

His current position is Head of the Chagas Clinical Program, at the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), a collaborative, patients’ needs-driven, non-profit drug research and development and access for medicines organization, that is developing new treatments for neglected diseases.

Dr. Sosa-Estani is also an Independent Researcher at the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET) and professor of the Master of Clinical and Health Care Effectiveness program of the University of Buenos Aires and the Master of Public Health and Master of Molecular Biology programs of the University of San Martín in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Formerly, Dr. Sosa-Estani was Head of the Service of Epidemiology at the National Center for Research on Endemic Diseases (CeNDIE), ANLIS "Dr. Carlos G. Malbrán", Ministry of Health; Director of Epidemiology, MOPH, Argentina; and Director of the National Institute of Parasitology "Dr. Mario Fatala Chaben", Ministry of Health.

Dr. Sosa-Estani has directed many epidemiological and clinical research projects on tropical and endemic diseases and re-emerging and emerging diseases and he has conducted research on Chagas disease, HIV/AIDS, Uremic Heamolitic Syndrome, Hantavirus, and other infectious diseases.

"Long-Term Zika Complications"

Dr. van der Linden, a pediatric neurologist practicing in Recife, Brazil, was one of the first physicians to make the connection between Zika virus infections and birth defects. Recife was one of the areas hardest hit by the Zika epidemic. Dr. van der Linden was recognized as an exceptional leader who accelerated a global, cooperative response to the Zika virus epidemic. She continues to practice in Recife and will talk on the long-term complications of congenital Zika infections.

Dr. van der Linden got her MD at the Federal University of Pernambuco, UFPE, Brazil and her medical training in pediatrics at Prof Fernando Figueira Integral Medicine Institute, IMIP, Brazil. She did her medical training in pediatric neurology and got her Master’s degree at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. She was a pediatric neurologist at the public hospital in the State of Pernambuco until 1993, and is currently practicing and teaching at the Barão de Lucena Hospital. Her research focuses on the neurological follow-up of children with Congenital Zika syndrome.