XIVth International Congress of Paediatric Laboratory Medicine

Plenary speakers' short bios


“Ecological, epidemiological and control aspects of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, 2013-2015”

by Professor Janusz T Paweska
Professor Janusz T. Paweska is a head of the Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases of the National Health Laboratory Service (NICD-NHLS), Sandringham, South Africa. He is also the head of the WHO Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers and Arboviruses, regional director of the Global Virus Network, and the deputy director of the Southern Center for Infectious Diseases Surveillance.

His special fields lie in viral diagnostics with focus on the development and Validation of novel techniques for rapid pathogen detection and discovery, epidemiology and ecology of arboviruses and viral hemorrhagic fevers, and virus-host interactions. He has authored/co-authored 148 scientific articles 13 book chapters.

Prof. Paweska has been a part of international research expeditions and outbreak responses, including the 2002 Ebola outbreaks in Gabon, the 2005 Marburg disease outbreak in Angola, the 2006 Rift Valley fever outbreak in Kenya, the 2009 Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the Ebola ecology study in 2010, 2011 in the DRC. During a highly fatal nosocomial outbreak in Johannesburg in 2008 he led the discovery of a new Old World Arenavirus, he named Lujo virus. In August 2014 he established Ebola molecular diagnostic laboratory in Sierra Leone as a part of WHO-GOARN Ebola outbreak response in West Africa.

Prof. Paweska is a member of the Bioweapon Working Committee of the South African Council for Non-Proliferation, SA Ministry of Health Advisory Committee on Ebola, the WHO Global Outbreak & Alert Response Network, the WHO Emerging and Dangerous Pathogens Laboratory Network, WHO Technical Group for orthopoxvirus /smallpox virus laboratory diagnostics, WHO Ebola Virus Persistence Study Independent Data Monitoring Committee, the International Committee for Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) Filoviridae Study Group, and a member of a number of editorial boards.

PLENARY LECTURE – 21.10.2017:

“The use of POC testing to bypass the traditional laboratory and improve patient care”

by Professor Sverre Sandberg
Sverre Sandberg, MD, PhD and a specialist in laboratory medicine is a Professor at the University of Bergen. He is a director of NOKLUS, a Norwegian organisation for quality improvement of primary care laboratories (www.noklus.no) which serves about 3000 users of the point of care equipment outside the hospitals and a chair of Scandinavian Evaluation of Laboratory Equipment for Primary Health Care (SKUP). He is also a director of the Norwegian Porphyria Centre (NAPOS). Between 2002 and 2012 he was a director of the Laboratory of Clinical Biochemistry at Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen.

Professor Sandberg was a chair of the Committee on Evidence-Based Laboratory Medicine (1996-2002) and the Global Campaign of Diabetes Mellitus at International Federation of Clinical chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC, 2002-2008) and the president of the European Organization for External Quality Assurance in Laboratory Medicine (EQALM, 2012-2014). Since 2000 he has been a board member of the European Porphyria Network (EPNET), a partly EU-funded project. Between 2009 and 2014 he was a chair of the Scientific Committee in the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine(EFLM) and he was the vice president of EFLM (2014-2015). Since 2016 Professor Sandberg is the president of EFLM; he chairs or is a member of different working groups in EFLM and IFCC.

Professor Sandberg has published about 240 peer reviewed papers and authored 11 books and book chapters and has given international lectures in his fields of interests: evidence based laboratory medicine, quality improvement of point of care instruments, biological variation, performance specifications in laboratory medicine, quality assurance of the total testing process, laboratory aspects of diabetes, porphyria and photobiology.

PLENARY LECTURE – 22.10.2017:

“The respiratory and gastrointestinal microbiome in early life”

by Professor Michael Surette
Michael Surette, PhD, is currently Professor and Canada Research Chair Interdisciplinary Microbiome Research at McMaster University. He is also co-director of the McMaster Genomics Facility.

Professor Surette research addresses the human microbiome of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts in health and disease, and the development of the microbiome in early life and as we age. This research direction initiated with studies in airway infections in cystic fibrosis that led to redefining the nature of airway infections in those patients and identifying common but over looked pathogens in our patient population (Southern Alberta Adult CF with Dr. Harvey Rabin). This has ultimately led to a change in clinical practice and a significant improvement in disease management in many patients. This research was driven by combining culture and culture–independent methods for examining the microbiome. The lab is focused on developing high throughput culturing and phenotyping methods to investigate the microbiome, and applying and improving next-generation sequencing approaches to characterize the microbiome. In addition to understanding fundamental questions about microbiome composition and microbe-microbe /host interactions, the lab is interested in developing methods for accurate rapid microbial profiling that could improve management of disease and exploiting secondary metabolic products of the human microbiome.

Disease specific projects are focused on cystic fibrosis, asthma, pneumonia, sepsis, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. His lab is currently supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Foundation of Innovation.


“ Genetics of disorders of calcium metabolism”

by Professor Rajesh Thakker
Rajesh Thakker is the May Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of Somerville and Harris Manchester Colleges, Oxford.
His main research interests include the molecular basis of disorders of calcium homeostasis and he has authored over 350 publications, which have included peer-reviewed papers in the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Nature Genetics, Journal of Clinical Investigation and Lancet Journals.

Professor Thakker is a Consultant Endocrinologist who provides expertise in the fields of neuroendocrine tumours (NETs), and disorders of calcium and phosphate metabolism. He was previously Professor of Medicine at The Royal Postgraduate Medical School, The Hammersmith Hospital, London, until 1999, when he took up his present position in Oxford. He has served on the MRC Physiological Medicine and Infections Board (2000-2005), the Council for the Society for Endocrinology (2003-2006), and as Chairman of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) / MRC Efficacy and Mechanisms Evaluations (EME) Board (2008-2016).

Professor Thakker has been the recipient of many prizes which include: Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR), USA (1988); the Raymond-Horton Smith Prize (Cambridge University, UK) (1994); the Society for Endocrinology (UK) medal (1995); the European Journal of Endocrinology Prize (EFES) (1998); WPU Jackson Memorial Lecture, Society for Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes in South Africa (SEMSDA) (1998); the Graham Bull Prize from the Royal College of Physicians (UK) (1999); Bernard Pimstone Memorial Lecture, SEMSDA (2003); the Louis V Avioli Founder’s Award from the ASBMR (USA) (2009); the Parathyroid Medal from the Fondazione Raffaella Becagli (FIRMO) (2012); the Jack W. Coburn Endowed Lectureship from the American Society of Nephrology (2012); the International Research Prize from the Austrian Society for Bone and Mineral Research (2015); and the Dale Medal from the Society for Endocrinology (UK) (2015).

Professor Thakker was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2014.
More information available soon