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podoconiosis march 2008 018 _web
Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Meet our team

Melanie Newport

Director of the Centre for Global Health Research
Prof Melanie Newport

Professor in Infectious Diseases and Global Health at BSMS

Prof Melanie Newport is Professor in Infectious Diseases and Global Health at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. She graduated with distinction from St Mary's Hospital Medical School, University of London, and trained in clinical infectious diseases. She has been a consultant physician since 2003.

Following her doctoral studies, which led to the discovery of the first human mycobacteria susceptibility gene, Prof Newport led the TB genetics group at the MRC Laboratories in The Gambia, setting up a new lab, and contributing as co-investigator to the landmark Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that included malaria and TB. Prof Newport now researches non-communicable tropical diseases, investigating the genetic basis of podoconiosis (non-filarial elephantiasis), a neglected tropical disease that contributes to significant morbidity and poverty in affected populations. We have identified a major susceptibility locus for this disease and studies are being extended into other populations and other related neglected diseases. 

Prof Newport joined Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) in 2004 just after it opened.  She has led the strategic development of Global Health establishing a vibrant Global Health research programme with a strong reputation for taking a multidisciplinary approach to tackle conditions that disproportionately affect poor and vulnerable communities living in low-income countries.

Prof Newport is committed to research training and capacity building through supervision of students, teaching at workshops and working for International Societies. She was the founding Executive Secretary and then interim President of the African Society of Human Genetics (AfSHG), AfSHG is a partner in the Wellcome Trust/NIH funded H3 Africa Initiative. She chairs the Brighton Lusaka Health Link, a partnership linking the Schools of Medicine and of Nursing and the Teaching Hospitals in Lusaka, Zambia and Brighton, that empowers health care professionals to share skills and knowledge with an overall goal of improving health in Zambia.

Gail Davey

Co-Director of the Centre for Global Health Research
Prof Gail Davey

Professor of Global Health at BSMS and Executive Director of 'Footwork', The International Podoconiosis Initiative

Prof Gail Davey is a medical epidemiologist specializing in Neglected Tropical Diseases and non-communicable diseases in low-income country settings. Following training in epidemiology at Master and doctoral level at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Prof Davey moved to Ethiopia to work at the School of Public Health. Over nine years in Addis Ababa, she supervised more than 40 Master theses and helped develop a PhD Public Health program.

Since 2005, Prof Davey’s main areas of research have been podoconiosis (endemic non-filarial elephantiasis) and asthma aetiology. She has developed, secured funding for, and led, a multidisciplinary program of research into podoconiosis which covers aetiology (genetic, mineral and biochemical), consequences (economic and social) and management of disease. Alongside this research, she has assisted a local NGO in developing a primary care strategy to provide prevention, treatment and rehabilitation to an area of 1.5m residents. Parallel with her clinical and research work in this area she has also raised the local and international profile of the disease using a range of advocacy tools.

Abrahm Aseffa

Co-Director of the Centre for Global Health Research
Dr Abraham Aseffa

Senior Scientist, Acting Deputy Director General, Research and Innovation, Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 

Dr Abraham Aseffa graduated in medicine from the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia (great distinction) and specialised in Medical Microbiology at the University of Leipzig in Germany where he did his dissertation on the development of an attenuated live vaccine against Listeria monocytogenes (summa cum laude). He joined and later headed the Department of Microbiology in Gondar College as Associate Professor. He conducted leprosy research for 1 year in Carville LA as a senior Fulbright scholar and basic leishmania immunology research for 3 years in WHO IRTC in Lausanne, Switzerland. He has been working at the Armauer Hansen research Institute (AHRI) since 2001 as senior scientist, Deputy Director and currently as Scientific Director.

Dr Aseffa has published extensively and has substantial experience in collaborative TB, TB/HIV, leishmania and infectious disease research. He has supervised over 20 PhD and more than 50 MSc students, as well as teaching Immunology and Clinical Microbiology at Addis Ababa University as an honorary faculty member. He has particular interest in capacity building efforts of health research manpower and ethics and has contributed widely to research in infectious diseases with particular emphasis on tuberculosis, leishmaniasis and leprosy. Dr Aseffa is an active contributor to many professional associations and initiatives in Ethiopia and Africa.


Co-Director of the Centre of Global Health Research
Prof Muntaser Ibrahim

Professor of Genetics and Head of Genetics Unit at the Institute of Endemic Diseases (IEND), University of Khartoum, Sudan

Prof Muntaser Ibrahim is currently a Professor of Genetics at the Institute of Endemic Diseases at the University of Khartoum in Sudan. He has had a major interest in the immuno-epidemiology of malaria in low transmission setting, and is expanding this to include epidemiological studies in a region where malaria is more endemic. A specific focus is to define ethnic difference in susceptibility to malaria, both at the immunological and genetic level, and to establish the epidemiological infrastructure to dissect the molecular basis of these differences by genomic association analysis.

Prof Ibrahim’s research also included leishmaniasis in Sudan, and he later went on to study the genetic history of human population in Sudan as a part of a picture of global variation. Results have shown that Sudan and east Africa are the likely origin of modern humans and the spot with the highest and most interesting diversity. This work has brought further insights and information on the history of various groups populating the Sudan and their genetic population structure.

The research interest of Prof Ibrahim has also broadened to include the study of genetic population structure of chronic and non-infectious diseases, including cancer. His laboratory introduced the molecular analysis of the Philadelphia chromosome to Sudan which is an essential prerequisite for the administration of the new anti-cancer drug Gelvac.

Samuel Wanji 2

Co-Director of the Centre for Global Health Research
Prof Samuel Wanji

Director of Research Foundation in Tropical Diseases and Environment (REFOTDE) and Professor of Public Health Parasitology and Entomology at the University of Buea, Cameroon

Prof Samuel Wanji is a dually trained parasitologist and entomologist with a strong background in public health. He undertook undergraduate and subsequent postgraduate studies at the University of Montpellier, France, and was awarded his PhD in 1992. Post-doctoral training was undertaken in Paris and Nigeria before returning to Cameroon where he has been based at the University of Buea since 1995.

Prof Wanji’s research focuses on neglected tropical parasitic diseases and his work contributed to the rapid diagnosis and control of loa-loa and onchocerciasis. His scientific expertise ranges from community based, public health interventions such as mass treatment interventions for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) to vector control and molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis in malaria.

His work in NTDs led to his interest in podoconiosis and he has described the epidemiology of the disease in Cameroon. Prof Wanji is also a consultant to the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases and the African Programme for onchocerciasis Control.

Bobbie Farsides web 2015

Co-Director of the Centre for Global Health Research
Prof Bobbie Farsides

Professor of Clinical and Biomedical Bioethics at BSMS

Prof Bobbie Farsides has been teaching and researching in the field of clinical biomedical ethics for over twenty years. Her research is primarily focused on ethical issues relating to healthcare, especially ante-natal screening and testing, reproductive technologies, palliative care and issues around death and dying. She is particularly interested in the experience of health care professionals operating in ethically contested fields of healthcare and has conducted research in areas as diverse as stem cell research, fetal medicine and organ transplantation.

Prof Farsides also has an interest in the application of biomedical ethics theory to the development of public policy. She is a member of of a number of national ethics committees including the UK Donation Ethics Committee, the BMA Ethics committee and the Ethics Advisory Group for the Genomics England.

Most recently Prof Farsides has been focussing on ethical issues relating to children and young people as patients and/or participants in medical research. She chaired the Nuffield Council on Bioethic's working party on Children and Clinical Research and is a member of the NICE guidance writing group on Children and End of Life Care.

With her ex-PhD student Susi Bull, Prof Farsides pioneered the Rapid Ethical Assessment methodology for information provision and consent processes in developing countries, most recently focusing on consent for genome wide association studies in Ethiopia.

Leena Al-Hassan web

Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Global Health Research
Dr Leena Al-Hassan

Dr Leena Al-Hassan completed her PhD in medical and molecular microbiology from the University of Edinburgh. She joined the Wellcome Trust Sussex and Brighton Centre for Global Health Research in February 2014 as the centre’s research fellow to taking a senior role in the development and support of research and training activities undertaken by the Centre.

Leena’s previous research was on the characterization of gram-negative pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii and the genetic mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in Egyptian cancer patients, which involved extensive field work in Egypt. She also aims to continue her research in infectious diseases of low- and middle-income countries, focusing mainly on antibiotic resistance, genetics and epidemiology of hospital acquired infections.


Dr Kebede Deribe
Postdoctoral Research Fellow at BSMS

Dr Deribe received his BSc in Public Health from Haramaya University; Masters from Jimma University, Ethiopia; and PhD in Spatial Epidemiology from Brighton and Sussex Medical School. His research includes the epidemiology and control of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), mapping of podoconiosis risk and populations at risk with a focus on spatial epidemiology and operational research. He is particularly interested in the design and implementation of large-scale studies to map the distribution of diseases and evaluation of interventions for prevention, control and potential elimination of NTDs. As part of his PhD, he led the nationwide mapping of the geographical distribution of podoconiosis in Ethiopia. Through a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellowship in Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Dr Deribe is currently mapping podoconiosis in multiple countries with the aim of developing a Global Atlas of Podoconiosis, estimating the global burden and economic cost of the disease.
In 2011, Dr Deribe won the Young Public Health Researcher Award of the Ethiopian Public Health Association in recognition of his research work in public health. In 2016, he won The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Emerging Leaders Award in recognition of his service in tropical medicine. He is an academic editor for PLOS ONE and a member of the Advisory Committee for Footwork, the International Podoconiosis Initiative.


Professor Simon Waddell

Professor in Microbial Pathogenesis at BSMS

Professor Simon Waddell trained at the University of Birmingham and St Georges University of London before undertaking postdoctoral research at Stanford University, USA. His work focuses on understanding TB drug action during human disease, and dissecting the interactions between Mycobacterium tuberculosis and host. The WTCGHR TB group hosts researchers from our centre partners and beyond, providing molecular microbiology training, access to new genome-wide technologies, and mentorship to build new research careers and collaborations.

Mei Trueba

Dr Mei L Trueba

Senior Lecturer in Global Health and Global Health MSc Course Leader at BSMS

Dr Mei L Trueba is a qualified nurse and socio-cultural anthropologist with a PhD in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies (Sussex University). She joined the Welcome Trust Centre for Global Health Research in December 2014, taking leadership of the Centre’s MSc in Global Health in August 2015. Prior to this she worked at the Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development (NCIHD) of the University of Leeds, and was involved with various action research projects in the USA, Spain, Bolivia and in Chile.

Her research is predominantly concerned with the politics of health and development. Since 2008 her main areas of research have been international development, labour relations and medical anthropology; in particular, Occupational Health and Safety in Low-and Middle-Income Countries. Alongside this, her research expertise also includes health risk behaviours and their determinants, socio-political and economic determinants of health and disease, and the politics of occupational health and safety.

Arianne Shahvisi

Dr Arianne Shahvisi 

Lecturer in Ethics and Medical Humanities, Brighton and Sussex Medical School

Dr Arianne Shahvisi is a Lecturer in Ethics and Medical Humanities at BSMS. She holds a PhD in the Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge. She worked as a faculty member in the Philosophy Department at the American University of Beirut for two years, where she was the recipient of a Mellon Foundation Arts and Humanities Research Fellowship. Her research interests are broad and cross-disciplinary, and involve the application of rigorous philosophical methods of analysis to real-world issues of moral concern. Her work is strongly defined by concerns relating to gender, race, class, science, and globalisation, and the power differentials present in all. Her current research interests in global health span the following issues: the ethics and politics of female genital mutilation, the international market in assisted reproduction, brain-drain and health-worker migration, biopolitical aspects of refugee health, the politics of neglected tropical diseases, and the impact of globalisation on health. Arianne serves as an editorial board member of Kohl: Journal for Feminist Research on Gender and the Body in the Middle East and North Africa Region.

Jaime Vera profile photo

Dr Jaime H Vera Rojas

Senior Lecturer in HIV Medicine and Honorary Consultant in HIV Medicine

Dr Jaime Vera is a Senior Lecturer in HIV Medicine and a Consultant Physician for the Lawson unit at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust. Dr Vera is also an investigator for the Elton John Centre HIV clinical trials unit at Brighton. He completed his specialist training in HIV at Imperial College London, St Marys’s Hospital in London. In 2011, he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Translational Medicine and Therapeutics Fellowship. During his PhD, he investigated the pathogenic mechanisms associated with neuroinflammation in HIV using novel brain imaging and immunological approaches.

Dr Vera has a research interest in ageing and HIV focussing on the study comorbidities affecting people with HIV, service development for older people with HIV, and interventional studies that aim to improve quality of life, and well-being of patients with HIV in both low and high income settings. He has recently established a research collaboration with investigators from the University teaching hospital in Lusaka, Zambia to increase capacity in sexual health and HIV research in Zambia.

Stefan Elbe

Prof Stefan Elbe

Director for the Centre for Global Health Policy, Professor of International Relations and Director of Research for the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex, UK

Prof Stefan Elbe joined the School of Global Studies in 2004 after holding previous positions at the London School of Economics, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the University of Warwick, and the University of Essex. Prof Elbe is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading social scientists working on the international politics of health.

He has served as Head of the International Relations Department and as Director of Research for the School of Global Studies. He has also established a interdisciplinary research Centre for Global Health Policy at the University of Sussex, dedicated to advancing the research base for global health policy. Of particular interest to the Centre is how the evolving international political environment shapes and constrains global health policy; how global health policy is made; and how power influences global health outcomes – especially funding and resource distribution, economic inequalities and the role of special interests.

Prof Elbe has research interests in global health, the international politics of disease, health security, bio-Security, pandemics, and the international politics of HIV/AIDS. He is also the PI on an ERC grant on 'Pharmaceuticals and Security’.

Bella Starling

Dr Bella Starling

Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow 

Bella Starling is a Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow, on secondment from her role as Director of Public Programmes at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Manchester. Her career has spanned neuroscience, genetics and stem cell research, science writing, biomedical ethics, public engagement, patient involvement and science policy, both as a practitioner and strategic adviser. She is passionate about inclusion in, and democratisation of, research; her Fellowship will explore how public engagement with research can act as a catalyst for social change. 

Previous roles have included: postdoctoral research on neural stem cells at King's College London, adviser at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, various roles at the Wellcome Trust on their biomedical ethics and public engagement funding programmes. She is a member of the MHRA's Patient and Public Engagement Expert Advisory Group, and served on the Human Genetics Commission.

Collaborating Staff 

Dr Hayley MacGregor 
Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies

Hayley’s work focuses on water and sanitation, forced displacement and resistance, scarcity, rights and access, resource grabbing and the politics of environment, development and sustainability.

Prof Michael Parker 
Director of the Ethox Centre and Wellcome Centre for Ethics, Innovation, Globalisation and Medicine

Michael’s main research interest is in the ethics of collaborative global health research.

Prof Eleftheria Zeggini
Group Leader, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

Eleftheria's scientific interests focus on the genetics and genomics of complex traits, primarily cardiometabolic and musculoskeletal phenotypes, and on addressing relevant statistical genetics issues.

Dr Charles Rotimi
Chief and Senior Investigator, National Human Genome Research Institute

Charles’ main research areas focus on understanding the etiology of complex diseases and health disparities. His team takes advantage of vast interethnic differences in the distribution of genetic and environmental risk factors, with particular emphasis on populations of African ancestry living in Africa, the US, and the Caribbean.

Dr Adebowale Adeyemo
Deputy Director, Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health

Adebowale’s current research portfolio includes genetic epidemiology studies of common complex diseases (including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and obesity) and neglected tropical diseases (podoconiosis) using a wide variety of approaches, including genome-wide association studies, targeted sequencing, exome arrays, and whole exome sequencing.

Dr Colleen McBride
Chair in Behavioural Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health

Colleen’s research focuses on innovative public health interventions to promote risk-reducing behaviours, specifically using genetic information to motivate healthy behaviours.