Our executive team is charged with the early development of GAFFI and additional members will join this start up team.
David Denning is an internationally recognised clinician with expertise in fungal diseases and Professor of Infectious Diseases in Global Health at The University of Manchester. He was the founding Director of the UK’s National Aspergillosis Centre in Manchester (2009-2020), the world’s only such centre. David Denning has published more than 600 papers, books and book chapters and lectures worldwide. His writings have been cited over 75,000 times and he has successfully lead many major international collaborative science, diagnostic and treatment projects and clinical guidelines, with subsequent publication in Nature, the New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet. He is the Founder of two University spinout biotechnology companies – F2G Ltd (antifungal drug discovery and development) and Myconostica Ltd (molecular diagnostic tests for fungi).
David is Chairman of the Editorial Board of The Aspergillus Website (1998-) accessed by >100,000 computers per month and the educational LIFE website. He has chaired the Scientific Committees of several international fungal infection meetings and co-chairs the alternate year Advances Against Aspergillosis meetings, attracting ~400 delegates from >120 countries. He is a longstanding member of the Infectious Disease Society of America Aspergillosis Guidelines group, the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Aspergillosis Guidelines group and the British Society for Medical Mycology Standards of Care Committee and a member of the SEARO Task Force on AMR (2019 -).
David and family hold Founder shares in F2G Ltd, a University of Manchester spin-out antifungal development company, and he holds a minority stake in Next Level Diagnostics (Ukraine) and share options in TFF Pharma. He acts or has recently acted as a consultant to Pulmatrix, Pulmocide, Biosergen, TFF Pharmaceuticals, Omega, Novacyt, Cipla and Pfizer. In the last 3 years, he has been paid for talks on behalf of Hikma, Biorad, Basilea, Gilead, Mylan and Pfizer.
David is Chief Executive of GAFFI, with responsibility for all functions and advocacy. He is part-time and unpaid.
Sara Werkneh is a public health professional with seven years of experience in the Eritrean Ministry of Health where she worked in non-communicable diseases prevention and control.
She is a CSLA scholar and has a Master’s degree in public health with a specialization in Epidemiology from EHESP in Paris, France in 2021.
She has experience in research, public health analysis, and hands-on epidemiology. Furthermore, she has an interest in Global Health and finding solutions to public health problems with an emphasis on LMICs.
Sara is the co-author of a forthcoming book on non-communicable diseases.
She Joined GAFFI in October 2021 as an intern and she is working on the ongoing survey on access to diagnostics and treatment as well as modelling of fungal diseases.
Emma Orefuwa brings with her 14 years of Public Health program management experience and has worked extensively in Africa, Asia and Europe. Her first degree was in Biochemical Sciences at the University of Salford in 2001. She then went on to study a Master of Science in the Biology and Control of Disease Vectors at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (2002) and subsequently, a Masters in Public Health from Kings College (University of London) in 2009.
She has held a number of high profile project and programme management roles within the UK National health service, International Development, and Global Health sectors. Her most recent apointment was as Strategic Operations Consultant and Programme Manager for Connecting Organisations for Regional Disease Surveillance (CORDS) France, a network of regional disease surveillance networks networks to improve global capacity to respond to infectious diseases.
Emma has extensive experience managing multi-country Maternal, Newborn and Child Health programmes for the African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF Health Africa, UK) and has led the implementation of Diaspora development programmes at the African Foundation for Development (AFFORD). Her research has spanned her diverse range of interests; from carrying out susceptibility studies of the mosquito vector Culex quinquefasciatus to local strains of the Lymphatic filariasis parasite Wuchereria bancrofti in Nigeria, to seeking to gain a deeper understanding of ways in which to engage young African diaspora in the development of Africa.
As a second generation African diasporan of Nigerian and Seychellois descent, Emma has a passion for supporting Africans to act as agents of change, and for facilitating African solutions to African problems. It was during her time working as a co-organiser for the European Mosquito Research Association annual conference in 2009, that she decided with fellow African entomologists, to co-found the Pan African Mosquito Association (PAMCA), an African-led network of scientists and Public Health professionals dedicated to identifying unified approaches to fighting vector-borne disease across the African continent.
Emma is Director of Programmes, Africa, with responsibility for supporting GAFFI’s Ambassadors, regional networks and programme development and monitoring.
Ana Alastruey-Izquierdo has an MsC in Microbiology and Parasitology and in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology from Complutense University (Madrid, Spain). She got her PhD in 2009 under the title “Molecular identification and antifungal susceptibility profile of human pathogenic fungi”. After completing her degree she was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Public Health Research Institute (New Jersey, USA) working in antifungal resistance. She joined the Mycology Reference Laboratory at the Spanish National Centre for Microbiology (Madrid, Spain) in 2011 where she is working at the present as a Research Scientist. She has been a visitor Scientist at The Fungal Biodiversity Centre (CBS, Utrecht, The Netherlands), Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT, Seibersdorf, Austria) and European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI, Hinxton, UK).
Her main area of research is focused on Medical mycology: Identification and early diagnosis of invasive fungal infections, standardization of antifungal susceptibility testing methods, resistance mechanisms to antifungals, the taxonomy of fungal species, molecular biology and bioinformatics.
In the last years, she has been a principal investigator in projects dealing with new antifungals, antifungal resistance, cryptic species of fungal pathogens, developing diagnostic methods for fungal infections, epidemiology and microbiome.
She has published over 125 peer-reviewed papers, including several guidelines for the diagnosis of fungal infections and book chapters. She is a regular speaker and chair of national and international conferences. She collaborates with WHO and PAHO in several projects. She is an associate editor for the Journal of Fungi and belongs to the editorial board of Mycopathologia and Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology.
She is the current chair of the EFISG (Fungal Infection Study group) from ESCMID (unpaid), Spanish delegate in the ECMM (European Confederation of Medical Mycology) board (unpaid), Fellow of the ECMM (FECMM), vice president of the Spanish Society for Mycology (AEM) (unpaid), on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Joint Program Initiaive on Antimicrobial Resistance (unpaid) the co-supervisor of the EUPHEM (European Public Health Microbiology training program) from ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) in Spain. She chairs the WHO Technical advisory Fungal disease expert group (unpaid).
Ana has received research support in her laboratory from F2G and Scynexis and has given talks on behalf of Gilead, Pfizer, MSD and Astellas.
Tim Moss is an accountant who oversees the finances and governance for GAFFI and GAFFi UK. Tim qualified as a chartered accountant with Pannell Kerr Forster in London in 1990 and has over 30 years experience having held senior financial positions with a number of private and public companies in financial services, utilities, food product development, communications and telecoms sectors. He has been based in Geneva, Switzerland, since May 2006.
He has wide ranging commercial experience, developing strategies, financial reporting, audit and corporate governance to meet statutory and stakeholder expectations. Considerable experience managing, developing and implementing processes designed for rapidly expanding enterprises including budgeting¸ cash flow and fund raising.
Graham Atherton has a broad background, with a first degree and subsequent PhD in genetics followed by 15 years as a scientist in cancer research (The Beatson Institute 1987-1990, The Paterson Institute 1990-2000). Graham joined David Denning at Manchester University in 2000 to work on the Aspergillus Website (www.aspergillus.org.uk) and he has gone on to develop a series of websites, all in the field of fungal disease for stakeholders including researchers, clinicians and patients, National Aspergillosis Centre, Manchester Regional Mycology Centre, Manchester Fungal Infection Group. He successfully studied for a Masters degree in Computing in 2007.
In 2009 the National Aspergillosis Centre was created by the NHS Highly Specialised Commissioning Group and Graham went on to support thousands of patients as part of that Centre.
The websites Graham runs are viewed by hundreds of thousands of people, professional and patient, each month and he currently supports 3-4000 patients with fungal diseases worldwide via several very active patient communities.
The impact damp buildings have on our health has been an interest over the last 20 years and Graham has served as a Director of Education and Fellow of the Institute of Specialist Surveyors and Engineers (2013-2019 www.isse.org.uk) and co-Chair of the Damp Homes and Health Working Group of the UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings (2017- ukcmb.org).
For information on publications see https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/graham.atherton.html
Having grown up in Herefordshire, Richard studied Natural Sciences at Durham University, specialising in Biology and Chemistry. He completed his degree in 2020 (though he is yet to have a graduation due to the pandemic). His Masters research project was on the topic of antimicrobial resistance.
He joined GAFFI in October 2020 as an intern and was subsequently offered the job of Global Health Programme Associate, which mainly involves working with Emma Orefuwa (Director of Programmes for Africa) on the ongoing Access to Diagnostics survey, in which they are documenting the availability of various procedures and diagnostics related to fungal disease.