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  • 1 Anticipating Epidemics – Participants’ biographical sketches

    Anticipating Emerging Infectious Disease Epidemics

    Participants’ Biographical Sketches

    Professor Frank Møller Aarestrup – Head of Research Group, National Food Institute, Technical University of

    Denmark, Denmark

    Dr James Ajioka -- Senior Lecturer, Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, UK

    Dr Jim Ajioka is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Pathology and Fellow of Jesus College,

    Cambridge. He also teaches in the Departments of Biochemistry and Engineering. His current research

    directions are (i) investigating host-intracellular pathogen interactions and the population

    structure/evolution of the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii, and (ii) developing Synthetic Biology

    methods for the construction of genetic systems in microbes. Current projects include analysis of host cell response to

    toxoplasma infection; hierarchical network analysis of large transcriptomic data sets (B. subtilis); developing methods for

    genetic part/device characterization; and constructing a whole-cell arsenic biosensor for field use. Dr Ajioka is one of the

    Pathology Department’s Biological Safety Officers, organizing the review of risk assessments on both dangerous

    pathogens and GM work. “Understanding how infectious disease agents evolve is crucial for implementing synthetic

    biology methods for detection and intervention.”

    Dr Hamoud S. Al Garni -- Director of Health Authority at Point of Entry, Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia, Saudi


    Dr Homoud S Algarni works as a Director of Health Authority at Points of Entry and also coordinating

    the implementation of the International Health Regulation (IHR) in Saudi Arabia. He has a master’s

    degree in Public Health (MPH), Global Health, with a concentration in infectious disease, from Emory

    University in the United States. “In today’s interconnected world, it's more important than ever to make sure all countries

    are able to respond to and contain public health threats. As known the countries have agreed to build their capacities to

    detect, assess and report public health events through the International Health Regulations (IHR).”

    Dr Ray Arthur – Director, Global Disease Detection Operations Center, Division of Global Health Protection, Center for

    Global Health, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA

    Dr Rana Jawad Asghar -- Resident Advisor, Field Epidemiology & Laboratory Training Program, National Institute of

    Health, Pakistan

    Dr. Rana Jawad Asghar has worked as a Resident Advisor of the Field Epidemiology and Laboratory

    Training Program (FELTP) in Pakistan since August 2006 (workforce capacity development in surveillance

    and response, setting up surveillance systems, laboratory capacity enhancements, One Health). He was an

    Epidemic Intelligence Service Fellow at CDC before coming to Pakistan. He has served as program manager for a child

    survival project in Mozambique, faculty member at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Research

    Associate in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine at Stanford University. He completed his

    master’s degree in Public Health at the University of Washington where he was a Fellow of Training in International

    Emerging Infectious Diseases. He did his basic medical education in Pakistan from Allama Iqbal Medical College and

    MCPS from College of Physicians and Surgeons, and was a Franklin Adams Scholar for a year in the Bristol University,

    UK in the department of Epidemiology.

  • 2 Anticipating Epidemics – Participants’ biographical sketches

    Dr Abdullah M Assiri -- Adult Infectious Diseases Consultant, Assistant Deputy Minister Preventive Health, IHR

    National Focal Point, Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    Dr Abdullah Assiri MD FACP is an Adult Infectious Diseases Consultant, Assistant Deputy Minister

    Preventive Health, IHR National Focal Point in the Ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia and Adjunct Associate

    Professor, Hubert Department of Global Health, Emory University, USA. He received his MBBS degree

    from King Saud University in 1994 and Fellowship in adult infectious diseases from Dalhousie University in 2003. Dr

    Assiri has worked as an internist and adult infectious diseases consultant in the Department of Medicine, King Fahad

    Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia since 2007. Currently he is in charge of infectious diseases surveillance programs

    including MERS-CoV. He is an active member of the command and control center at the Ministry of Health. Dr Assiri is

    an editorial board member for Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health since July 2014, a member of WHO IHR

    Emergency Committee on MERS-CoV since May 2014, a member of the WHO IHR Emergency Committee on Ebola

    since July 2014, and a member of WHO Executive Board since 2014.

    Dr Juliet Bedford – Director and Founder, Anthrologica, UK

    Dr Juliet Bedford is the Director of Anthrologica, a research-based organisation specialising in applied

    anthropology in global health ( She is a Research Associate at the School of

    Anthropology, and is an Adjunct Professor at the College of Global Public Health at New York University.

    Anthrologica conducts formative and operational research across health sectors, focusing on the interface

    between the provision and uptake of health services in resource-scarce settings. Anthrologica’s core

    expertise lies in incorporating the needs and perceptions of intended beneficiaries into health policy and programming to

    ensure these are contextually relevant and that opportunities for improving health are maximised through the active

    participation of recipients. Anthrologica is developing a rapid response unit for the future deployment of applied

    anthropologists in public health and humanitarian crises During the Ebola response, Dr Bedford was deployed with

    UNMEER and UNICEF in Liberia and Sierra Leone and continues to be engaged in recovery and resilience work across

    the region.

    Ms Barbara Bentein – Head, Principal Advisor Ebola Crisis Cell, UNICEF, USA

    Ms Barbara Bentein currently serves as UNICEF’s Principal Advisor and recently served as the Global

    Emergency Coordinator for Ebola from March through June 2015. She is responsible for coordinating

    UNICEF’s contribution to the response in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, providing strategic guidance,

    supporting mobilization of staff and resources while also ensuring coordination with the UN, other UN

    partners, governments, NGOs, civil society organizations, the private sector and donors. She previously

    served as the UNICEF Representative for the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of UNICEF’s largest country programs.

    Ms. Bentein has worked with UNICEF since 1984 in various capacities including Deputy Regional Director in the West

    and Central Africa Regional Office, Area Representative for Madagascar, Comoros and Mauritius, and Program

    Coordinator in Chile and Tunisia. Ms Bentein has a Master’s degree in Social and Political Sciences, International

    Relations and Teaching Skills in Political and Social Sciences from Rijksuniversiteit in Gent, Belgium.

    Dr Ariel Beresniak – Chief Executive Officer, Data Mining International SA, Switzerland

    Mr David Bestwick – Technical Director, Avanti Communication Group plc, UK

    As Technical Director at Avanti Communications, Mr Bestwick has a strong interest in bringing low cost,

    efficient communications to the countries of sub-Saharan Africa which are served by Avanti’s satellites.

    Avanti focusses on delivering low cost connectivity to schools and hospitals across East and Southern

    Africa. With the launch of their next satellites in 2017, they will deliver these same services to Western

    Africa. “Communications plays a vital role in understanding the evolution of infectious disease epidemics,

    allowing warning signs to be identified by monitoring social media interactions, enabling health workers to deliver aid

    effectively in the field and even allowing self-reporting by victims of disease. When combined with other satellite

    technologies, such as Earth Observation, enormous amounts of data can be compiled, collated and analysed for


  • 3 Anticipating Epidemics – Participants’ biographical sketches

    information relating to the outbreak and spread of disease. Avanti is currently preparing the “LIFENet” project to

    demonstrate these capabilities in real world situations.”

    Dr Peter Black – Deputy Regional Manager, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Thailandia

    During the last ten years, Dr Black has developed a special interest in the use of strategic foresight with a

    particular focus on the interactions between food systems, global environmental change and emerging

    infectious diseases. He is a veterinary epidemiologist who also holds a Master of Science in Strategic

    Foresight from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. He was involved in