I am a physician and virologist trained in internal medicine, infectious diseases, tropical medicine, and public health. I specialize in the research and control of emerging tropical viruses, with over 25 years’ experience in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Asia combating viruses such as Ebola, Marburg, Lassa, hantavirus, and SARS coronavirus.
I have the privilege of serving as the Director of the United Kingdom Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST), the primary arm of Her Majesty’s Government to provide and coordinate the UK’s public health response to outbreaks in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Created in 2016, the UK-PHRST is a unique collaboration between LSHTM and Public Health England, with academic partners at the University of Oxford and King’s College London. The UK-PHRST’s tripartite remit includes outbreak response, conducting research on outbreak-prone diseases, and building capacity for outbreak response in LMICs. In this way we seek to “put out the fire”, figure out why it started, and keep it from starting again.
Before taking on the UK-PHRST Directorship and joining LSHTM I worked at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland (Technical Lead, Epidemic Clinical Management Department), U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 6 in Lima, Peru (Head, Virology and Emerging Infections Department), Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, USA (Professor of Tropical Medicine) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Chief, Viral Special Pathogens Epidemiology Unit and Commissioned Corps Medical Officer).
I am the Scientific Programme Chair of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, a Fellow of the U.K. Faculty of Public Health and a member of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and a number of World Health Organisation (WHO) committees, including serving as the UK Representative on the WHO Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network Steering Committee. I have also served as consultant for a number of science and public health organizations, including the United Nations and U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Academy of Medicine and Agency for International Development. I have published nearly 200 manuscripts and textbook chapters and am a reviewer and editor for numerous scientific journals and societies.
Recognizing that biomedical advances are only half the challenge, I am a strong advocate for health and human rights to ensure that the tools, innovations, and systems we strive to create through our work in the sciences truly translate to better health for those most in need, especially in LMICs. Toward that end, in 1995 I co-founded the human rights-oriented NGO Doctors for Global Health.
I am fluent in English (native tongue), French and Spanish.