Panelists

Pietro Alano
Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome
Lyn-Marie Birkholtz
University of Pretoria, Pretoria
Andrea Cara
Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome
Denis Chopera
sub-Saharan African Network for TB/HIV Research Excellence
Daniela Cirillo
Istituto Scientifico San Raffaele, Milan
Delia Goletti,
Istituto Nazionale per le Malattie Infettive “Lazzaro Spallanzani”, Rome
Reto Guler,
International Centre for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology, Cape Town
Dalu Mancama,
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria
Mohlopheni Marakalala,
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Patrick Moonasar,
Malaria National Department of Health South Africa
Koige Naidoo,
CAPRISA
Elisa Nemes,
University of Cape Town, Cape Town
Jaishree Raman,
Wits Research Institute for Malaria, Johannesburg
Gabriella Scarlatti,
Istituto Scientifico San Raffaele, Milano
Donatella Taramelli,
Università di Milano
Karl-Gunter Technau,
University of Witwatersrand

Pietro Alano, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome

Pietro Alano (Genova, Italy 26 May 1959) obtained his Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology and bacterial genetics in 1986 at the University of Milan. Pietro entered the field of parasite molecular biology in 1985 at the course on Biology of Parasitism (Woods Hole, USA)and did his posdoc at the University of Edinburgh on the molecular mechanisms of Plasmodium falciparum gametocytogenesis. In 1991 Pietro moved to the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), Rome, continuing his research on the malaria parasite transmission stages. Pietro’s team produced ‘omics’ datasets from different gametocyte maturation stages to investigate parasite interactions with human bone marrow cells and with the mosquito midgut. The molecular tools and markers developed in these studies enabled Pietro’s team to develop innovative cell based assays to screen for anti-P. falciparum gametocyte drugs, to identify targetable metabolic processes in the parasite transmission stages and to develop diagnostic tools for their detection in natural infections. Pietro contributed to create the Italian Malaria Network, joining malaria teams in ISS and in ten Italian universities, participated in EU supported malaria networks of excellence BioMalPar and EVIMalaR, and now represents Italy in the EU supported EDCTP Association. Funds for Pietro’s research are/have been provided by the FP6 and FP7 Programmes of the European Commission, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Italian Government. Pietro authored 89 publications in peer reviewed journals, H index 32 (webofknowledge.com, March 2019).

Lyn-Marie Birkholtz, University of Pretoria, Pretoria

Lyn-Marie Birkholtz obtained a BSc in Genetics, Human Physiology and Biochemistry, and a BSc (Hons) and MSc in Biochemistry cum laude at the University of Pretoria.
Her PhD training was jointly performed in South African and at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Germany. After a postdoctoral fellowship, she joined the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Pretoria.
Prof Birkholtz has published numerous research articles, invited review articles and book chapters and has been awarded several Exceptional Young Scientists awards.
Lyn-Marie Birkholtz heads the Malaria Parasite Molecular Laboratory (M2pl), with a wide interest in the physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology of malaria parasites. Much of her work is aimed at the design of novel antimalarial chemotherapeutics. Several projects involve genomics and functional genomics approaches in antimalarial drug discovery, including analyses of the functional consequences of treating malaria parasites in vitro with potential novel antimalarial drugs, genomic mapping of cell cycle regulators of malaria parasites and genomic analysis of transmittable forms of malaria parasites.
She has published numerous research articles, invited review articles and book chapters and has been awarded several Exceptional Young Scientists awards.

Andrea Cara, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome

Andrea Cara obtained his PhD from the University of Cagliari, Italy. He performed his training at the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, MD, USA) and he held an Assistant Professor position at The Mount Sinai Medical School (New York, NY, USA). He currently is a researcher in the National Center for Global Health at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Roma, Italy) and holds a research scholar faculty position in the Department of Medicine at Duke University (Durham, NC, USA). He has been working in the field of molecular virology for many years with a major expertise in developing Integrase Defective Lentiviral Vectors (IDLV) as antigen delivery systems in murine and non-human primate model systems against infectious diseases, including HIV, Influenza and HPV, and to different cell types, including cell lines and primary cells. He devised new IDLVs leading to the first demonstration that IDLV are a safe and suitable delivery system for immunization in prophylactic and therapeutic approaches in murine model systems, and for immunization in prophylactic approaches in the non-human primate model of immunization by using HIV Envelope. He is involved in several national and international projects as PI or Co-PI. Over the past years, he has supervised the work of several students and post docs.

Denis Chopera, sub-Saharan African Network for TB/HIV Research Excellence

Denis Chopera holds a BSc (Honours) degree in Biochemistry from the University of Zimbabwe, a MSc in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Cape Town and a PhD in Medical Virology from the University of Cape Town. Chopera underwent post-doctoral training at the University of Cape Town, Simon Fraser University and K-RITH. Prior to joining SANTHE, he was a lecturer and Research Career Advancement Fellow at the University of Cape Town. His research focused on immune-mediated HIV evolution and its impact on viral protein function.

Daniela Cirillo, Istituto Scientifico San Raffaele, Milan

Daniela Maria Cirillo is Head of the Emerging Bacterial Pathogens Unit at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy. She is a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group of StopTB Department (WHO) and Co-Chair of the New Diagnostic Working Group of the stop TB partnership. Her main interests are: new diagnostic for MDR/XDR-TB, M.tuberculosis pathogenesis, virulence markers and providing technical assistance for implementation of new tools for tuberculosis diagnosis, Quality Assurance Programmes.

Delia Goletti, Istituto Nazionale per le Malattie Infettive “Lazzaro Spallanzani”, Rome

Delia Goletti MD, PhD, Infectious Diseases specialist. In 1992 she joined the Laboratory of Immunoregulation at the National Institutes of Health (chief Dr Fauci) working on HIV pathogenesis. In 1999 she joined the National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Rome. She has clinical duties on the tuberculosis (TB) clinic and responsibility of the Translational Research Unit where she works on TB pathogenesis, TB immunodiagnostic tests and impact of Heminths infection on HIV and TB disease.
Delia Goletti is Head of Translational Research Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Preclinical Research National Institute for Infectious Diseases

Dalu Mancama, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria

Dalu Mancama is a principal Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) researcher and research group leader for the bioassays and high-throughput screening research team. His qualifications include an BSc in applied biochemistry from Brunel University and specialisation in molecular cell biology and genetics through an MSc and PhD from the University of London Colleges of Imperial and Institute of Psychiatry/King’s College. Prior to joining the CSIR, he was a post-doctoral Novartis and subsequently NARSAD research fellow at King’s College.
Mancama heads the multidisciplinary high-throughput screening research group that comprises molecular cell biologists, biochemists, organic chemists and computational scientists whose efforts are focused on employing high content/throughput approaches to developing therapeutic and diagnostic interventions in partnership with academic, clinical, and industrial collaborators. Mancama has authored and co-authored numerous peer-reviewed publications.
Academic qualifications:
BSc (Hons) (Applied Biochemistry), Brunel University, United Kingdom, 1995
MSc (Human Molecular Genetics), University of London’s Imperial College, United Kingdom, (1996)
PhD (Genetics), King’s College, United Kingdom 2001

Mohlopheni Marakalala, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Mohlopheni Jackson Marakalala is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Cape Town’s Department of Pathology. His research focuses on understanding immune factors associated with the pathological progression of tuberculosis (TB) with a view to develop new therapies to augment current treatment protocols. He obtained his BSc and Honours degrees in Biochemistry and Microbiology from the University of Limpopo. After completing his PhD in Chemical Pathology from UCT, Dr Marakalala undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at the university’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM), leading projects which investigated the role of host innate immune response in TB and fungal infections. In 2010 he was awarded the Sydney Brenner Fellowship from Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). In 2012 he joined Harvard University for a four-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. He has published his research in leading journals, including Nature Medicine, PNAS, Plos Pathogens and Cell Host Microbes and presented his research in local and international conferences. He is currently an Associate Member of the IDM at UCT and a Visiting Scientist at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Dr Marakalala has garnered numerous awards including the SAMRC’s Merit Award for Outstanding Young Scientist; UCT’s College of Fellows Young Researcher Award; and the Bronte Stewart Best PhD Research Prize. He was named a Fellow of the Next Einstein Forum, and honoured as a World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Scientist. He recently received the Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellowship in Tropical Medicine and Public Health.

Patrick Moonasar, Malaria National Department of Health South Africa

Patrick Moonasar holds a Doctor in Public Health degree from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is currently the Director for Malaria at the National Department of Health in South Africa for the past 10 years. He has been working in the area of malaria for the past 19 years. He serves on several committees and boards: National Malaria Elimination Committee in South Africa; the Global Malaria Elimination Group – UCSF- California, USA; board member of the University of Pretoria (South Africa) School of Public Health, Centre for Sustainable Malaria Control; board member of MACEPA a subsidiary of Path, Seattle USA and several WHO technical working groups. He is also an honorary lecturer in the School of Public Health at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. He also serves on several committees in the SADC region – Southern African Development Community: Elimination 8 Committee and Southern African Roll Back Malaria Network. He has authored and co-authored several Scientific Articles, Policy documents and Policy briefs.