bring international expertise and reach, with clinical and clinical research experience, diagnostic test delivery and development and extensive educational experience, in fungal infections.
Swarup Sarkar is an Indian physician, epidemiologist, public health professional and diplomat known for his works in the field of Infectious Diseases and HIV/AIDS in particular.
Sarkar served as the Director of Communicable Diseases of the World Health Organization, South East Asia Regional Office (WHO SEARO) and is currently an advisor to international health agencies. He also holds the C G Pandit National Chair for Health Research at the Indian Council of Medical Research. Prior to his role in the WHO, Sarkar has worked as the Head of South Asia and Regional Advisor of the Asia Pacific region of the UNAIDS, Asia Pacific Regional Director of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS TB and Malaria and with the Asian Development Bank. Sarkar for long has been an advocate for raising the political commitments and allocation of resources to fight HIV/AIDS and TB in the South Asian countries. He has been instrumental for the availability of antiretroviral drugs through free-to-end-user programs. He has worked extensively with people left behind including migrant labourers, injection drug users, sex workers, transgenders and men who have sex with men and has been active to curb the prejudice and biases against the groups most at risk for communicable diseases, that are embedded in laws, policies, and the operational guidelines of law enforcement agencies in South Asia.
He has earlier worked with GAFFI in producing evidence and cost-effectiveness on opportunistic infections associated with HIV specifically on Cryptococcus and PCP.
Sarkar is an author and contributor to more than 100 publications, including policy and advocacy documents, technical reports, training manuals, peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and abstracts at international conferences.
Chief, Mycotic Diseases Branch; Associate Director for Global Health, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA
At the CDC, Tom Chiller provides leadership for fungal disease activities, which include detection, prevention and response activities, policy and advocacy, both nationally and internationally. He also serves as the associate director for global programs in the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases. He remains actively involved in antimicrobial resistance, healthcare associated infections, molecular epidemiology and laboratory activities for fungal diseases. Dr Chiller is board certified in infectious diseases and is a faculty member in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Emory School of Medicine. During the past decade with the Mycotic Diseases Branch, Dr Chiller has led efforts to end deaths from opportunistic fungal infections in HIV, control the spread of MDR Candida auris and azole resistant Aspergillus, and identify emerging mold infections.
David Denning is an internationally recognised retired clinician with expertise in fungal diseases and a 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 was Chief Executive of GAFFI from its inception in 2013 until early 2023, part-time. David Denning has published more than 700 papers, books and book chapters and lectures worldwide. His writings have been cited over 95,000 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 – 2021).
Professor Matthew Burton is the Director of the International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH) at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). He holds a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship and leads a large international research group of clinicians and scientists, working to improve eye health in low and middle-income countries.
He is currently co-leading the Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health, which will report in October 2020.
Matthew is also the Director of the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium, funded by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust. The Consortium supports public health and research capacity development, sub-specialist ophthalmology training, health systems strengthening and technology development for eye health professionals.
He is an Honorary Consultant Ophthalmologist in Cornea & External Eye Disease at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, where he specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of microbial keratitis.
Matthew qualified in medicine from Cambridge University. His post-graduate training was in Oxford and at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London. He joined the International Centre for Eye Health in 2000. He was based at the MRC Laboratories, The Gambia (2001-2003), whilst doing his PhD, for which he received the LSHTM’s Woodruff Medal. After the completion of specialist training he spent four years based at KCMC Hospital, Moshi, Tanzania (2008-2012), where he established new trachoma research programmes in Tanzania and Ethiopia, which was funded through a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship. Wellcome have continued to support Matthew’s trachoma research (2013-2018) through a Senior Research Fellowship in Clinical Science and more recently through a Collaborative Award (2017-2022). Recently his Wellcome Senior Research Fellowship was renewed for a further five years (2018-2023), for research on corneal infection in Uganda, Tanzania and Nepal.
Dr Arnaldo Colombo Full Professor at the Division of Infectious Diseases, Escola Paulista de Medicina-UNIFESP and Director of the Special Mycology Laboratory of the same institution. He received his medical degree from the Escola Paulista de Medicina (1983), Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil, where he continued his residency training in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases (1984-1986). In 1994 he finished his PhD in Health Science at the Escola Paulista de Medicina-UNIFESP, evaluating antifungal resistance of Candida spp. He completed his fellowship in Medical Mycology at the University of Texas Health Science Centre at San Antonio, Texas, USA for a period of 30 months.
Dr. Colombo has authored and co-authored 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals, accumulating more than 11,000 citations (H index 57) up to march-2018, according to data provided by Google Academic. He has organized several multicentre surveillance studies to characterize the epidemiology of opportunistic fungal infections in Brazil and Latin America, with focus on candidiasis and aspergillosis. He also collaborated with several worldwide programs to detect antifungal resistance to Candida sp. He serves as a consultant on Medical Mycology for several medical centres in Brazil and other Latin American countries.
Of note, he was the Vice-Chancellor of Graduate Students and Research of the Federal University of São Paulo between 2009 and 2012. He served as a senior consultant from CAPES for more than 20 years and had the opportunity to coordinate all Professional Science Master’s Degree related to the division of MEDICINE II-CAPES. Currently, Dr Colombo is a Senior Advisor for the Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections (GAFFI, 2013 – present) and for Leading International Fungal Education (LIFE, 2013-present), as we as part of the International Council Member of the International Immunocompromised Host Society (2016-present).
Donald Cole (Professor) trained as a physician and practised primary care, public health, occupational health and environmental health in a variety of settings in Canada and lower and middle income countries. After a Masters in Health Research Methods and a residency at McMaster, he qualified as a specialist in Occupational Medicine (1990) and Community Medicine (1992). A Tri-Council Eco-Research fellowship in environmental epidemiology led to research on environmental contaminants, ecosystems, human health and public health responses.
The role of Interim Director of Research at the Institute for Work & Health fostered research on burden of disease, health services, and evaluation of complex interventions for health. With support from the Rockefeller Foundation, CIDA, IDRC and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he has co-led research on pesticides (surveillance and health impacts), urban agriculture and nutrition in South America and East Africa. He was founding Director of the Collaborative PhD Program in Global Health at the University of Toronto and Co-Chair of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research’s Capacity Development Program. He currently teaches and mentors a wide range of young researchers using mixed methods. He contributes research evidence on higher education, research systems development and public health globally.
Dr Tania Sorrell has longstanding interests in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Infectious Diseases, especially in immune-compromised hosts, and in the emergence of resistant microorganisms. Her research into the serious fungal infection, cryptococcosis, has provided new insights into host-microbial interactions and resulted in a new antifungal drug development program. She has developed new diagnostics for fungal diseases, led national studies of the epidemiology of invasive fungal infections and is/has been a member of international committees developing guidelines for antifungal therapy. She has served/serves on state and national advisory committees in Infectious Diseases, approval of therapeutic agents and both the Research and Human Ethics Committees of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.
Dr Arunaloke Chakrabarti earned his MD in Microbiology from Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh, India in 1985 and is presently working as Professor In-Charge, Division of Mycology at the same Institute.
He is currently the Vice-President of International Society for Human and Animal Mycology (ISHAM), President of Society for Indian Human and Animal Mycologists (SIHAM), President of Indian Association of Medical Microbiologists, Coordinator of the ISHAM working group on ‘Fungal sinusitis’ and ‘ABPA in asthmatics’, chair of ‘Asian Fungal Working Group’, and member of two more ISHAM working groups. He is Associate Editor of ‘Medical Mycology’, and Editor/Associate Editor/Deputy Editor of three more journals – Mycopathologia, Journal of Medical Microbiology, Mycoses.
He has published >170 papers in the field of Medical Mycology and delivered lectures in >100 medical conferences and societies. He wrote chapters in 11 books. His major contribution is in the field of epidemiology of fungal sinusitis, mucormycosis, and hospital acquired fungal infections. His laboratory identified the endemic regions of fungal sinusitis, sporotrichosis, penicilliosis, source of Cryptococcus gattii in India, emergence of Apophysomyces elegans in tropical countries. His laboratory investigated many nosocomial fungal outbreaks in developing countries, and developed molecular identification and typing methods of zygomycetes. He received multiple awards from National Societies, Academies of India, and was awarded the Fellow of National Academy of Medical Sciences and Fellow of The National Academy of Sciences, India.
He has consistently helped in the development of the discipline of Medical Mycology and laboratories in India. He conducts two training courses on medical mycology every year at his center. His laboratory is now recognized as ‘Center of Advanced Research in Medical Mycology’ in India, ‘WHO Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Fungi of Medical Importance’. Recently ‘National Culture Collection of Pathogenic Fungi’ has been added to his laboratory.
Tom’s initial research training was in the laboratory of Professor Stuart Levitz in Boston, where he worked on immune responses to Cryptococcus neoformans, a common cause of meningitis in immunocompromised patients, especially those infected with HIV. His clinical research training was through the programmes in Clinical Effectiveness and International Health at Harvard Medical School. On returning to the UK, clinical trial work was developed first in Thailand, and subsequently in Africa. In the first study of its kind, by measuring the rate of clearance of infection from the cerebrospinal fluid, the fungicidal activities of different drug treatments for cryptococcal meningitis were directly compared. The technique was shown to be much more powerful than prior markers of response, opening the way for more rapid assessment of novel treatments. Follow up trials have been completed in Cape Town, Uganda and Malawi; and he heads a large phase III trial recently funded by the UK Medical Research Council. Associated laboratory projects are examining the effects of other pathogen and host factors on the outcome of infection. The feasibility of preventing of cryptococcal meningitis through screening for sub-clinical infection and pre-emptive therapy has been demonstrated, and a novel point-of-care test for immunodiagnosis developed with collaborators to aid screening. With colleagues in the InterTB Group at St George’s Hospital, Tom lead phase II and III trials of chemotherapy for tuberculosis including novel methods for rapid and reliable testing for drug sensitivity of tuberculosis isolates are being developed.
Dr Tom Harrison is an expert panel member for cryptococcal guidelines for the World Health Organisation, the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society and a member of the MRC College of Experts. He is also an advisor to the Health Services and the Public Health Research Board and recipient of several awards and fellowships.
Henk den Besten is a pharmaceuticals supply chain expert. His current role is with the Partnership for Supply Chain Management, employed by John Snow International. Activities include Strategic Supply Chain and procurement support for SCMS, the PEPFAR supply chain project funded by USAID. Henk has been involved in the setting up of local supply chain solutions using existing private sector supply chains in target countries and recently worked in Tanzania and Ethiopia. He has also been involved in strategic procurement activities, including sourcing of essential drugs, meeting USG quality requirements in India, China and other countries; mapping the supply chain of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API’s) and starting material for pharmaceutical products, in China, India, Korea and other countries.
He has undertaken missions for the World Health Organization, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Netherlands, World Bank, Danida, The Global Fund and others. From 1980 – 2005, Henk was Managing Director of IDA Foundation in the Netherlands, the world largest not for profit Essential Medicines Supplier and from 2006-2011 Managing Director of i+Solutions, a consultancy firm aimed at improving access to quality health care services in low and middle income countries, with partners including USAID, WHO/AMDS the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Unitaid, The Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria, MIT Zaragoza, O3i and RBM.