AITHM James Cook University


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AITHM are delighted to announce the confirmed speakers who will present at this year’s conference.

More will be announced later this month.


Nicole Bates

AITHM, James Cook University

Nicole is currently completing a PhD at JCU, and has recently joined Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) and College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences (CPHMVS) as a co-appointment. Nicole is creating Australia’s first model of cancer patients’ health service use, health system costs and out of pocket costs based upon administrative data. This project will allow us to identify the out of pocket costs associated with cancer treatment, with a particular focus on identifying differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous patients. Her PhD project aims to quantify the health service use and health systems costs and to determine the distribution of service use and costs amongst population groups. As part of her role with CPHMVS, Nicole will be providing teaching support in Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Prior to joining JCU, Nicole has worked as a community pharmacist, and senior medical education officer, and has a Bachelor of Pharmacy and Master of Pharmaceutical Public Health.

Warwick Britton

University of Sydney

Professor Warwick Britton AO, FAHMS


Warwick Britton is Bosch Professor of Medicine and Professor of Immunology at the University of Sydney and head of the Tuberculosis Research Program at the Centenary Institute. He has longstanding interests in the immunology and control of tuberculosis and leprosy, including the development of novel vaccines and drugs. He is principal investigator on the NHMRC-funded Centre for Research Excellence in Tuberculosis Control: from Discovery to Public Health Policy and Practice. This Centre includes research collaborations on the role of active case finding and community screening for tuberculosis in Vietnam, host susceptibility to tuberculosis infection, genetic epidemiology and drug resistance, and the development of more effective tools to aid the control of tuberculosis.

Ben Cooper

Mahidol Oxford

My work uses mathematical modelling and statistical techniques to help understand infectious diseases dynamics and evaluate potential control measures.  This involves developing mathematical models to help evaluate the likely impact and cost-effectiveness of control measures,  developing and applying new statistical approaches based on mechanistic  models for the analysis of longitudinal infectious disease data (increasingly making use of whole genome sequence data), and  designing and analysing epidemiological studies.  The major focus of this work is on antibiotic-resistant bacteria in resource-limited hospital settings.

Additional projects include within-host dynamics of Plasmodium vivax, ecological interactions of the nasopharyngeal flora, cost-effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccination in Thailand, and dynamics and control of Hepatitis E infections in refugee camps.

Eddie Holmes

University of Sydney

Eddie Holmes is an NHMRC Australia Fellow at the University of Sydney. He is also a Guest Professor at the Chinese CDC (Beijing). Prior to joining the University of Sydney, Eddie was the Verne M. Willaman Chair in the Life Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University, USA, and had an adjunct appointment at the National Institutes of Health. Eddie received his undergraduate degree from the University of London (1986) and his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge (1990). Following that, he performed postdoctoral research at the Universities of California (Davis), Edinburgh and Oxford. Between 1993-2004 he held various positions at the University of Oxford, including University Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology, before moving to Penn State. In 2003 he was awarded the Scientific Medal for ‘Achievement in Research by a Zoologist Under the Age of 40’ by the Zoological Society of London (UK). In 2008 he became a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, and in 2010 he won the Faculty Scholars Medal in the Life and Health Sciences at Penn State. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA) in 2015. Eddie has published over 475 peer-reviewed publications, with ~44,000 citations.

Dr Stephan Karl

I’m originally from Germany but also became an Australian in 2016. I have a Masters degree in biological process engineering from the University of Technology, Dresden, Germany and a PhD in Biophysics from the University of Western Australia which was funded by an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship. I am in the final year of an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship and about to join JCU on an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship in 2018. I have been conducting collaborative work with the PNG Institute of Medical Research for almost 10 years and am currently a lab head in the institutes’ vector borne diseases research unit.

My areas of interest are malaria, in particular novel approaches to diagnosis and control, epidemiology, biostatistics and mathematical modelling of transmission. I have also done work in dengue, schistosomiasis and filariasis

Simon Kelly

University of Canberra

Simon Kelly is an adjunct professor at the University of Canberra and the director of KELLYresearch, an economics research firm.  He was formerly a Principal Research Fellow at NATSEM, one of Australia’s leading economic and social policy research institutes. 

He is recognised as one of Australia’s leading academic authorities on the distribution of household wealth and retirement savings.  He has published over 100 journal articles or research reports on superannuation, wealth, savings, and retirement incomes.  Many of these publications analyse the economic cost of illness or injury during a person’s working life.

At this conference, he will discuss the distribution of income and wealth in Australia and the long term financial impact of illness on a working age person.  The impact will be considered from both the government and individual perspectives.

Professor Kelly has a PhD in Economics, a Master’s degree in Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Operations Research & Computing. 

Uriel Kitron

Emory University

Goodrich C. White Professor and Chair
Department of Environmental Sciences
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30306

My research and teaching programs center around the eco-epidemiology of infectious diseases, with an emphasis on tropical and emerging diseases and environmental risk factors. In our global health research we emphasize anthropogenic changes, including issues of climate, urbanization, agricultural practices and conservation.

For diseases such as Dengue, Malaria, Schistosomiasis, West Nile virus in Atlanta and in Chicago, and Chagas disease, our group studies the transmission dynamics and ecology of the insect vectors and the mammalian and avian reservoir hosts, incorporating a strong field component (trapping vertebrates, collecting insects, identifying environmental features), spatial analysis, and laboratory work.

In our lab, we apply tools such as geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing to gather and manage environmental data that can explain the spatial distribution of disease and vectors, and assess risk of transmission. Following quantitative spatial analysis, maps and models can then be produced to target further research efforts, as well as in support of surveillance and control efforts by public health agencies.

Current research efforts funded by NIH, NSF and CDC include large-scale collaborative international studies of malaria and schistosomiasis in Kenya, Chagas disease in Argentina and dengue and zika in Brazil, Peru and Australia, and of West Nile virus and eco-epidemiology of disease emergence in urban areas in the U.S.

Teaching interests include Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases, Spatial Epidemiology and Ecological Parasitology. Training of a diverse group of undergraduates, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers in the U.S. and globally is a major theme of all of our research projects. As part of our training program we also conduct GIS workshops for researchers, public health practitioners and students. Interest in application and communication of scientific information is manifested in our collaborations with Local, State, National and International Public Health Agencies.

Lutz Krause


A/Prof Lutz Krause undertook undergraduate studies in computer science and completed a PhD in Bioinformatics and Genome Research. In 2008 he joined the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he studied the role of the gut microbiota in health and disease, in particular obesity and diabetes. In 2010 he took up the role as head of the Bioinformatics team at QIMR Berghofer and in 2014 he joined the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, to pursue his research on infectious disease, biomarker discovery and the genetics of complex diseases. His group develops bioinformatics tools for the analysis of omics’ data, characterises the human microbiome using metagenomics, and studies the evolution of human parasites using whole-genome sequencing. Lutz further studies genomic aberrations in complex diseases, including epigenetic changes, single nucleotide variants, structural variations, and copy number alternations.

Alan Lopez

University of Melbourne

Professor Alan Lopez is a Melbourne Laureate Professor and the Rowden-White Chair of Global Health and Burden of Disease Measurement at The University of Melbourne. He is also Director of the Global Burden of Disease Group in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. He held prior appointments as Professor of Medical Statistics and Population Health and Professor of Global Health, and Head of the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland from 2003-2012. Prior to joining the University in January 2003, he worked at the World Health Organization (WHO) in

Geneva, Switzerland, for 22 years where he held a series of technical and senior managerial posts including Chief epidemiologist in WHO’s Tobacco Control Program (1992-95), Manager of WHO’s Program on Substance Abuse (1996-98), Director of the Epidemiology and Burden of Disease Unit (1999-2001) and Senior Science Advisor to the Director-General (2002).

He is a highly cited author with over 100,000 citations to his work and whose publications have received worldwide acclaim for their importance and influence in health and medical research. He is the co-author with Christopher Murray of the seminal Global Burden of Disease Study (1996) which has greatly influenced debates about priority setting and resource allocation in health. He is the co-author with Sir Richard Peto of the Peto-Lopez method which is widely used to estimate tobacco-attributable mortality to support policy action. 

Professor Lopez is on the editorial board of BMC Medicine, The International Journal of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, and co-Editor in Chief of Population Health Metrics. He was elected as a Foreign Associate Member of the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2009. He has previously served as  a member of the Wellcome Trust Population and Public Health Funding Committee (2007-2010), the WHO Expert Committee on NCD Surveillance (2009-2011), the US National Academy of Sciences Panel on Divergent Trends in Longevity (2008-2011), the Scientific Board of the Oxford Health Alliance Grand Challenges in Non-Communicable Disease (2006-2009), and was former Chair of the Health and Medical Research Council of Queensland (2006-2008), and was Chair of the Executive Board of the Health Metrics Network  (2012-2013). He has been awarded several major research grants in epidemiology, health services research and population health, including funding from the NHMRC, Wellcome Trust, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and AusAID. He is currently the Director of the $100 million Bloomberg Data for Health Initiative at the University of Melbourne to improve birth and death data worldwide.

In 2014 he was awarded the Peter Wills medal by Research Australia for his outstanding contributions to building Australia’s international reputation in health and medical research and in 2015 he was selected as a Thompson Reuters Highly Cited (HiCi) Researcher in clinical medicine, and ranked among the top 10 most influential scientists in the world. In 2016 he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for eminent service to science and to the advancement of planning and policy development to improve public health in developing countries.

Professor Barbara McPake

Barbara McPake is the Director of the Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne. She is a health economist specialising in health policy and health systems research. She has 30 years’ experience in these areas based in four university departments. She was the Director at the Institute for International Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh until 2014, and held posts at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine including as Head of the Health Policy Unit and Director of the Health Systems Knowledge Program, until 2005. She is one of two Research Directors of ‘REBUILD’ a UK Department for International Development funded Research Programme Consortium on health systems development

Barbara has extensive research degree supervision and other postgraduate teaching experience and extensive international experience in health systems research and policy analysis and advice to UN agencies and low and middle income country governments.

Anna Palagyi

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Public Health, University of Sydney

PhD, MPH, BOptom

Anna is a health systems researcher with a background in international development focusing on eye health services in South-East Asia and the Pacific. She is a member of the Tropical Partners consortia with collaborators from University of Sydney, James Cook University, Australian National University, and the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, in which she is assessing health system resilience to emerging infectious diseases in the Asia-Pacific region.

Dr Willie Pomat

Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research

William Pomat is a research scientist with training in Immunology to respiratory pathogens, particularly to Streptococcus pneumoniae. His major research interest lies in the evaluation of new vaccines to prevent bacterial and viral infections and understanding protective immunity to infectious diseases, especially host-pathogen interactions at mucosal surfaces. He undertook Masters training at the University of New South Wales and PhD training in vaccine and mucosal immunology at the University of Western Australia. He then returned to Papua New Guinea (PNG), where he conducts research on aetiology of pneumonia and meningitis, pneumococcal vaccine trials, effect of malaria in pregnancy on immunity to respiratory pathogens and genetic diversity of immunoglobulins in susceptibility to diseases. He is Acting Director, Deputy Director of Science and Research at the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR), heads the Environmental and Emerging Disease and Infection and Immunity Units, oversees the running of PNGIMR’s Institutional Review Board (ethics) and Honorary Research Fellow at Telethon Kids Institute.  His track record reflects an ability to successfully obtain research funding (AUD14.3mil), collaborate with international partners, conduct high quality research under very challenging conditions in a third world setting, present at international and national meetings and publish in high impact journals and inform and direct policy, particularly in the area of immunization and microbiology.

Associate Professor Virginia Wiseman

Virginia has 20 years’ experience as a health economist conducting research on health systems financing and delivery in low and middle income countries. Her research focuses on 2 themes (i) health systems financing and (ii) the evaluation of complex interventions. She currently has 4 large studies to assess equity in health systems financing in Cambodia, Fiji, Timor Leste and Indonesia. Her most recent evaluation of financing reforms for universal health coverage in Indonesia - funded by the Wellcome Trust/DFID/MRC and involving partners from the University of Indonesia, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of New South Wales - will inform the development of the largest single payer health system in the world. Virginia has also led several trials and economic evaluations of malaria treatment and prevention interventions in Cameroon, Tanzania, Nigeria, Togo, Kenya, The Gambia and Malawi. Much of this research has been funded by the Gates Foundation, focussing on the introduction and health system integration of malaria rapid diagnostic tests. Virginia is also part of a new international team, funded by the UK Joint Global Health Trials initiative to evaluate point-of-care testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections to improve pregnancy outcomes in Papua New Guinea. Her group are also planning studies to evaluate health worker and community interventions to improve the use of antibiotics in Timor Leste. Virginia has twice been appointed to malaria advisory committees of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and acted an advisor to the Global Fund, DFAT, World Bank and WHO. Virginia is co-editor of Health Policy & Planning, a journal produced by Oxford University Press and specialising in health policy and health systems research in low and middle income countries. Virginia enjoys teaching and has designed and delivered short courses in health economics for UNICEF, DFID and DFAT. She has taught health economics at the Masters level at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London School of Economics, the University of Sydney, UNSW and Cape Town University. She currently holds academic positions as the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (where she has worked since 2000) and the University of New South Wales (where she has worked since 2013).