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Senior Principal Research Fellow; paediatrician; infectious diseases epidemiologist; vaccinologist, The University of Melbourne

Professor Fiona Russell (BMBS, Grad Dip(Clin Epi), Dip Paeds, MPHTM, FRACP, PhD) is a paediatrician, infectious diseases epidemiologist and vaccinologist. She is Director of the Child and Adolescent Health PhD Program, Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, and is a member of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Child and Neonatal Health Research and Training; and Group Leader for Asia-Pacific Health research, MCRI (https://www.mcri.edu.au/research/themes/infection-and-immunity/asia-pacific-health). Her research provides evidence for policy decisions regarding immunisation and child health in low- and middle-income countries. She leads the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence on Pneumococcal Disease Control in the Asia-Pacific. (https://www.mcri.edu.au/research/centres/cre-pneumococcal-disease-control-asia-pacific)

Her research focuses on optimal vaccination schedules, novel vaccine impact evaluations, understanding herd protection, prevention of mother to infant transmission of infections, and vaccine preventable disease surveillance. Her research has changed global, regional and country policy; is cited in the WHO pneumococcal conjugate vaccine Position Statements (2012, 2019); has led to a paradigm shift in the number and timing of vaccine doses used; and has led to new vaccine introduction in the region. The results from her work have been presented to Ministries of Health in the region, WHO, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi.

She is a regular advisor to WHO Immunization and Vaccine Research technical advisory groups (2011, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018) on global PCV policy and research directions. Her group is currently undergoing the process to become a WHO Collaborating Centre on Pneumococcal Vaccinology. She has undertaken more than 30 international consultancies (UNICEF, WHO) to advise governments, donors (DFAT, Asia Development Bank) immunisation and child health policy (Asia, Pacific and Africa). Having lived in Fiji and Vietnam for more than 10 years, she has long term relationships with Ministries of Health in the Asia-Pacific region, local research institutions and WHO.

She recently led the Public Health and Epidemiology component of the WHO global review of childhood pneumonia; and currently leads a WHO systematic review on what pneumococcal carriage can tell us in the post PCV era with regards to serotypes replacement; and a review on COVID-19 in children. She is co-Editor of the weekly COVID-19 vaccine research evidence update (https://medicine.unimelb.edu.au/school-structure/paediatrics/news-and-events/covid-19-weekly-vaccine-updates); led the Victorian state government’s COVID-19 school outbreak analysis which provided recommendations for opening up schools safely; and advises DFAT and WHO Pacific on COVID-19 vaccines in the region. She is a member of the WHO COVID-19 research and schools TAG.

Experience

  • –present
    Principal research fellow, University of Melbourne