Dr Tom Frieden is a physician trained in internal medicine, infectious diseases, public health, and epidemiology. He is former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and former commissioner of the New York City Health Department. Dr Frieden is currently President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organisation Vital Strategies.
Dr Frieden began his public health career in New York City identifying then leading the effort that stopped the largest outbreak of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis to occur in the US. He was then assigned to India, on loan from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he helped scale up a program for effective tuberculosis diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring. When he was asked to return to New York City to become Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s Health Commissioner, he directed efforts to reduce smoking and other leading causes of death that increased life expectancy by 3 years. As Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Frieden oversaw the work that helped end the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014. He now leads Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organisation Vital Strategies, that partners with countries to prevent 100 million deaths and to make the world safer from epidemics. During the Covid pandemic, Dr Frieden has overseen an expansion of Resolve to Save Lives activities, including policy and programmatic innovation in the United States, counsel and support to multilateral institutions, and support for rapid response, health care worker safety, and data-driven decision-making in more than 20 countries.
Dr Frieden is also Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Johanna Hanefeld is the Head of the Centre for International Health Protection (ZIG) at the RKI in Berlin, Germany. She is also an Associate Professor of Health Policy and Systems at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK. For more information about the RKIs international work, visit: www.rki.de/DE/Content/Institut/OrgEinheiten/ZIG/zig_node.html.
Jens Puschhof is a postdoctoral fellow in the group of Hans Clevers at the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht, the Netherlands. He obtained an MSc in Oncology from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Cancer, Stem Cells and Developmental Biology from Utrecht University.
Dr Puschhof is developing co-culture models of human intestinal organoids and select bacterial species to disentangle microbial contributions towards colorectal cancer initiation and progression. The characterisation of bacterially induced mutational signatures in human cancer genomes is a particular focus in these endeavours.
Dr Michael Ryan has been at the forefront of managing acute risks to global health for nearly 25 years. He served as Assistant Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response in WHO's Health Emergencies Programme from 2017 to 2019. Dr Ryan first joined WHO in 1996, with the newly established unit to respond to emerging and epidemic disease threats. He has worked in conflict affected countries and led many responses to high impact epidemics. He is a founding member of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), which has aided the response to hundreds of disease outbreaks around the world. He served as Coordinator of Epidemic Response (2000-2003), Operational Coordinator of WHO’s response to the SARS outbreak (2003), and as WHO’s Director of Global Alert and Response (2005-2011). He was a Senior Advisor on Polio Eradication for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative from 2013 to 2017, deploying to countries in the Middle East.
He completed medical training at the National University of Ireland, Galway, a Master’s in Public Health at University College Dublin, and specialist training in communicable disease control at the Health Protection Agency in London and the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training.
Professor Ugur Sahin, M.D., Co-Founder and CEO of BioNTech, is a physician, immunologist and leader in the development of novel approaches to fight cancer and infectious diseases. Professor Sahin is one of the world’s foremost experts on messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) medicines. He has pioneered several breakthroughs enabling the development of mRNA vaccines and other types of immunotherapies. He initiated and oversees “Project Lightspeed,” the historic development of the first mRNA vaccine for COVID-19, moving from lab and clinical testing to conditional approval within an unprecedented 11-month period. Professor Sahin also leads BioNTech’s research and development of neoantigen specific mRNA cancer vaccines which are individually tailored and produced on demand according to the profile of non-synonymous mutations identified by next-generation sequencing in patients’ tumors.
Ugur Sahin is co-inventor of more than 500 filed patents applications and patents. His academic credentials include serving as a Full Professor (W3) in Translational Oncology & Immunology at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, where he was the supervisor for more than 50 PhD students. He also holds the role of Chairman of the Scientific Management Board of the Helmholtz Institute for Translational Oncology (HI-TRON), also in Mainz. Based on his contributions to scientific discovery, Professor Sahin has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the German Sustainability Award, the Mustafa Prize, and the German Cancer Award. He is married to Dr. Özlem Türeci.
PD Dr Michael Sigal from Berlin works as a consultant in Gastroenterology at Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin. He leads an independent research group that is also affiliated with the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine.
Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and a postdoctoral fellow and later group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology.
Dr Sigal is interested in understanding how bacteria interact with the gastrointestinal epithelia. He and his group have made several discoveries about how Helicobacter pylori interacts with gastric stem cells. More recently, the effect of microbes and their genotoxins on the integrity of the colonic epithelium has become an important field of investigation in his laboratory.
Jörg Vogel is Full Professor at University of Würzburg’s Medical Faculty and Director of the Institute for Molecular Infection Biology. In 2017, he became the founding Director of the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI) in Würzburg. As of 2021, he is also the President of the European Academy of Microbiology.
Professor Vogel studied biochemistry at Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, and at Imperial College, London, UK. In 1999, he received his PhD from Humboldt University. He spent his postdoctoral years at Uppsala University, Sweden (2000-2001) and as an EMBO fellow at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel (2002-2003) before he started an Independent Junior Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, Germany (2004-2010).
Jörg Vogel strives to understand the full spectrum of noncoding RNA and RNA-binding proteins in bacterial pathogens and in members of the human microbiome. He develops new RNA-seq based techniques to rapidly capture the RNA world of any microbe, ideally at the level of single cells, and understand how and why bacteria use RNA as a regulator as they infect humans. He asks basic mechanistic questions of RNA Biology but also work on RNA-centric manipulations of the microbiota.
Maike Voss (MPH) is an associate and the head of the Global Health Governance Research Team at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP). Her research focuses on global health governance and sustainable development as well as the interdependencies between health and security policy.
In 2018, she got appointed to the Lancet Commission for Synergies between Health Security, Universal Health Coverage and Health Promotion. Before joining SWP she worked as a research associate at the Institute for Public Health and Nursing Research at University Bremen.
Thomas Wiegand is a Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Technical University of Berlin and is jointly heading the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, Berlin, Germany. He received the Dipl.-Ing. degree in Electrical Engineering from the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg, Germany, in 1995 and the Dr.-Ing. degree from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, in 2000. As a student, he was a Visiting Researcher at Kobe University, Japan, the University of California at Santa Barbara and Stanford University, USA, where he also returned as a Visiting Professor. He was a consultant/co-founder with a number of startup companies. Since 2018, Professor Wiegand has been appointed the Chair of the ITU/WHO Focus Group on Artificial Intelligence for Health. Since 2019, he has been a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Robert Koch Institute.
For his research, he has received numerous awards and multiple best paper awards for his publications. Thomson Reuters named him as one of the most cited researchers in his field in their annual list The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds. He was elected to the German National Academy of Engineering (Acatech) and the National Academy of Science (Leopoldina).
Gerard (Gerry) Wright is the Director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research and the David Braley Centre for Antibiotic Discovery and the inaugural academic lead of Canada’ Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats. He is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University and holds the Michael G. DeGroote Chair in Infection and Anti-Infective Research and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Antibiotic Biochemistry.
From 2001-2007, Professor Wright served as Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2012) and a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (2013). He is the recipient of a Killam Research Fellowship (2011-1012), R.G.E. Murray Award for Career Achievement of the Canadian Society of Microbiologists (2013), the NRC Research Press Senior Investigator Award from the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences (2016), Premier’s Research Excellence (1999), and the Polanyi Prize (1993). Gerard Wright is the co-founder of the Canadian Anti-Infective Innovation Network (www.cain-amr.ca). He has trained over 70 graduate students and postdocs, is the author of over 280 manuscripts and is a member of the editorial boards of several peer-reviewed journals. In 2016 he was named a McMaster Distinguished University Professor, the highest academic honor at the university.
His research interests are in the origins and mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and the discovery of new anti-infective strategies, in particular focusing on the application of microbial natural products and synthetic biology towards this goal.