Plenary Lectures
"Long-Term Zika Complications"

Dr. van der Linden, a pediatric neurologist practicing in Recife, Brazil, was one of the first physicians to make the connection between Zika virus infections and birth defects. Recife was one of the areas hardest hit by the Zika epidemic. Dr. van der Linden was recognized as an exceptional leader who accelerated a global, cooperative response to the Zika virus epidemic. She continues to practice in Recife and will talk on the long-term complications of congenital Zika infections.


Dr. van der Linden got her MD at the Federal University of Pernambuco, UFPE, Brazil and her medical training in pediatrics at Prof Fernando Figueira Integral Medicine Institute, IMIP, Brazil. She did her medical training in pediatric neurology and got her Master’s degree at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. She was a pediatric neurologist at the public hospital in the State of Pernambuco until 1993, and is currently practicing and teaching at the Barão de Lucena Hospital. Her research focuses on the neurological follow-up of children with Congenital Zika syndrome.

'Advances and Challenges in the Treatment of Chagas Disease - a Global Perspective'

Sergio Sosa-Estani is a medical surgeon and a graduate from the School of Medicine, University of Córdoba. He has an MPH from the School of Public Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His MD is from the School of Medicine, University of Buenos Aires and he held a post-doctoral position at CEBGH/SPHTM, Tulane University.

His current position is Independent Researcher at the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET) where he is Head of the Chagas Clinical Program, Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative at the Institute for Clinical Effectiveness and Health Policy. He is also a professor of the Master of Clinical and Health Care Effectiveness program of the University of Buenos Aires and the Master of Public Health and Master of Molecular Biology programs of the University of San Martín in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Formerly, Dr. Sosa-Estani was Head of the Service of Epidemiology at the National Center for Research on Endemic Diseases (CeNDIE), ANLIS "Dr. Carlos G. Malbrán", Ministry of Health; Director of Epidemiology, MOPH, Argentina; and Director of the National Institute of Parasitology "Dr. Mario Fatala Chaben", Ministry of Health.

Dr. Sosa-Estani has performed many epidemiological and clinical research projects on tropical and endemic diseases and re-emerging and emerging diseases and he has conducted research on Chagas disease, HIV/AIDS, Uremic Heamolitic Syndrome, Hantavirus, and other infectious diseases.

'Enteric Infections in Under Resourced Countries – From Research to Clinical Practice'

Prof. Gagandeep Kang is a physician scientist who for many years was a Professor of Microbiology and Head of the Division of Gastrointestinal Sciences and the Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory at the Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore. Focusing on vaccines, enteric infections and nutrition in young children, she combines field epidemiology with intensive laboratory investigations to develop data, insight and tools that have advanced both the science of infectious diseases and policy in India.

Prof. Kang's groundbreaking work has been recognized with numerous awards and honors. These include Woman Bioscientist of the Year from the Government of India (2006); several national awards and the Infosys Prize for Life Sciences (2016). In addition to her pioneering research in low resource settings, she contributes to the biomedical sciences through serving on numerous national and international editorial boards, research grant review boards, and scientific advisory committees. Recently Prof. Kang was appointed Executive Director of the Translational Health Service and Technology Institute (THSTI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.

She holds MBBS, MD and PhD degrees from CMC and a Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists, London. She has also been elected to the Fellowship of the American Academy of Microbiology (2010), the Indian Academy of Sciences (2011), National Academy of Sciences (2013), the Faculty of Public Health in the UK (2016), and the Indian National Science Academy (2016).

'The Human Microbiome'
David A. Relman, MD is the Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan Professor in Medicine, and Microbiology & Immunology, and Co-Director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. He is also Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto, California. He is also Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford.

Dr. Relman was an early pioneer in the modern study of the human indigenous microbiota. His more recent work has focused on human microbial community assembly, and community stability and resilience in the face of disturbance. Ecological theory and predictions are tested in clinical studies with multiple approaches for characterizing the human microbiome. Previous work included the development of molecular methods for identifying novel microbial pathogens, and the subsequent identification of several historically important microbial disease agents. One of his papers was selected as “one of the 50 most important publications of the past century” by the American Society for Microbiology.

Dr. Relman received an S.B. (Biology) from MIT, M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and joined the faculty at Stanford in 1994. He served as vice-chair of the NAS Committee that reviewed the science performed as part of the FBI investigation of the 2001 Anthrax Letters, a member of the National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity, and President of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He was chair of the Forum on Microbial Threats at the National Academy of Medicine from 2007-2017. He has received an NIH Pioneer Award, an NIH Transformative Research Award, and was elected a member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2011.


'Emerging Infectious Diseases – The Next Pandemic'
George Fu Gao, Deputy Director-General of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), obtained his DPhil from Oxford University and did his postdoc work at both Oxford University and Harvard University (with a brief stay in Calgary University). His research interests include enveloped viruses and molecular immunology. His research group is mainly focused on entry and release of enveloped viruses, especially influenza virus interspecies transmission (host jump), structure-based drug-design, and structural immunology. He is also interested in virus ecology, especially the relationship between influenza virus and migratory birds or live poultry markets and the bat-derived virus ecology and molecular biology.
He has published more than 400 peer-reviewed papers, ten books or chapters, and has applied and obtained more than 25 UK, US, and Chinese patents. His research has recently expanded into public health policy and global health strategy. He led the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention's delegation in Sierra Leone in September–November, 2014, during the Ebola outbreak.
Gao is a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of The Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS; also known as The World Academy of Sciences), a Fellow of American Academy of Microbiology (AAM), and an associate member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). Gao is a recipient of several international and national awards, including TWAS Medical Prize (2012), Nikkei Asian Prize (2014), and the Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation Science and Technology Advancement Award (2015).