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Professor Gail Davey

Gail Davey web

Professor Gail Davey (MBBChir, MSc, MD)

Professor of Global Health Epidemiology
T: +44 (0)1273 872528
Location: Room 2.17, Medical School Teaching Building, BSMS, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9PX

DA: Debbie Miller
T: +44 (0)1273-877889

Other roles: Research Lead for the Department of Global Health and Infection
Areas of expertise: Neglected tropical diseases; non-communicable diseases in low-resource settings
Research areas: Podoconiosis; rapid ethical assessment


Professor Gail Davey is a medical epidemiologist specialising in non-communicable diseases in low-income country settings. Following training in epidemiology at Master and doctoral level at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Gail moved to Ethiopia to work with national colleagues in the School of Public Health, Addis Ababa University. Over nine years in Addis Ababa, she supervised more than 40 Master theses and helped develop a PhD Public Health program. Initially, Gail took forward research into asthma aetiology, but in 2005, she initiated a multidisciplinary program of research into podoconiosis (non-filarial endemic elephantiasis). The programme has covered distribution, aetiology (genetic, mineralogical and biochemical), consequences (economic, social and ethical), management of disease (diagnosis, clinical staging, treatment and health systems). To date, over 45 research articles and 10 reviews and book chapters have arisen from this program. In 2010, Gail returned to the UK on a Wellcome Trust University Award to expand podoconiosis research within Ethiopia and into other endemic countries.

In parallel with this research, Gail has worked to raise the local and international profile of podoconiosis, advocating for inclusion in the WHO list of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs); ensuring podoconiosis was among the eight NTDs prioritised by the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health; guiding the foundation of the Ethiopian National Podoconiosis Action Network (NaPAN); and establishing Footwork, the International Podoconiosis Initiative. This is summarized in a Profile published in the Lancet in March 2012.


Gail's main research contributions have been to:

  • Identify a completely neglected area of tropical medicine
  • Build a strong, ethical and multi-disciplinary collaborative research programme from a base in an endemic country (Ethiopia)
  • Understand the research evidence needs of a range of constituents (academics, policy makers, those providing patient care)
  • Secure increasingly large funding to support the work of this programme
  • Link research outputs to intervention to ensure rapid translation of evidence into practice
  • Use research outputs to strengthen advocacy for the disease.

All research to date has aimed to increase the capacity of endemic country scientists to investigate important diseases. Nine PhD students (from Ethiopia and Cameroon) and more than 12 Masters students, predominantly from endemic countries, have been trained.


Gail supervises Year 4 Individual Research Projects, teaches and supervises dissertations on the MSc Global Health, and supervises PhD students engaged in podoconiosis research.

Selected publications

Deribe K, Wanji S, Shafi O, M Tukahebwa E, Umulisa I, Molyneux D et al. The feasibility of eliminating podoconiosis. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2015;93(10):712-718.

Deribe K, Brooker S, Pullan R, Sime H, Gebretsadik A, Assefa A et al. Epidemiology and Individual, Household and Geographical Risk Factors of Podoconiosis in Ethiopia: Results from the First Nationwide Mapping. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2014;92(1):148-158.

Tomczyk S, Deribe K, Brooker S, Clark H, Rafique K, Knopp S et al. Association between Footwear Use and Neglected Tropical Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2014;8(11):e3285.

Molla Y, Wardrop N, Le Blond J, Baxter P, Newport M, Atkinson P et al. Modelling environmental factors correlated with podoconiosis: a geospatial study of non-filarial elephantiasis. International Journal of Health Geographics. 2014;13(1):24.

Deribe K, Meribo K, Gebre T, Hailu A, Ali A, Aseffa A et al. The burden of neglected tropical diseases in Ethiopia, and opportunities for integrated control and elimination. Parasites & Vectors. 2012;5(1):240.

Tekola Ayele F, Adeyemo A, Finan C, Hailu E, Sinnott P, Burlinson N et al. HLA Class II Locus and Susceptibility to Podoconiosis. New England Journal of Medicine. 2012;366(13):1200-1208.

Davey G. Podoconiosis. In: Warrell D, editor. The Oxford Textbook of Medicine. Oxford: OUP; 2010.

Tekola F, Bull S, Farsides B, Newport M, Adeyemo A, Rotimi C et al. Tailoring Consent to Context: Designing an Appropriate Consent Process for a Biomedical Study in a Low Income Setting. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2009;3(7):e482.

Davey G, Tekola F, Newport M. Podoconiosis: non-infectious geochemical elephantiasis. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2007;101(12):1175-1180.

Davey G, Newport M. Podoconiosis: the most neglected tropical disease?. The Lancet. 2007;369(9565):888-889.