TDR alumni profiles

TDR has been supporting scientists in research and training in a wide variety of areas – basic science, product development and implementation research, to name a few. This site celebrates the achievements that these scientists have made, and documents the impact – sometimes in very surprising and unplanned ways.

Mary Ann Lansang, Philippines

From psychology to malaria research to community studies

More than anything about her childhood in the Philippines, Mary Ann Lansang loved learning. From primary school in her hometown of Baguio, a small city in the mountains of Luzon, to college in the capital, Manila, Lansang was a standout student for whom subjects like science and math were nothing but fun.

Yongyuth Yuthavong, Thailand

Building science capacity in Thailand

After long days in the lab, Yongyuth Yuthavong would get out and talk to anyone who would listen. And his message was simple: developing a science policy was not only necessary for growing the ranks of Thai scientists, it was vital to the country’s future.

Thomas Nchinda, Cameroon

Building careers and institutions throughout Africa

As a young doctor in Cameroon, Thomas Nchinda learned firsthand the limits of medicine in a resource-strapped setting. It was the early 1960s, and the newly independent country was still struggling to meld its once disparate East and West ̶ former colonies administered by the French and British, respectively ̶ into one unified republic.

Rodrigo Corrêa-Oliveira, Brazil

Launching a career and strengthening Brazil’s research capacity

It was a TDR grant that launched Professor Rodrigo Corrêa-Oliveira on an impressive life-long career in immunology. And not just him; at least three-quarters of Brazil's immunologists have benefited from TDR support during their careers. “Very rarely do you meet someone who didn’t get money from TDR for their research,” he says.

Christian Happi, Cameroon

Tracking Ebola cases and mapping antimalarial drug resistance

Cameroonian scientist Christian Happi, an expert in molecular biology and genomics, is providing key support to the current Ebola outbreak and helping build Africa’s intellectual infrastructure.

Fernán Agüero, Argentina

Bioinformatics in Argentina to fight neglected diseases

Fernán Agüero was immensely excited when he entered the field of bioinformatics. With a background in molecular biology and parasitology, he helped local groups to sequence small fragments of DNA to discover new parasite genes. So exciting was the work, it led to a lifelong commitment to bioinformatics.

Marian Warsame, Somalia

A woman scientist’s long journey from Somalia to WHO

Few scientists, men or women, have overcome the odds Dr Marian Warsame faced as a young girl growing up in Somalia. The eldest of ten children, Marian learned from an early age that to get ahead as a girl, she would have to study hard. And that she did, always excelling in school and finishing at the top of her class.

Dinesh Mondal, Bangladesh

Eliminating VL – the impact of TDR grants

Bangladeshi scientist Dinesh Mondal rose from modest roots to become one of the country’s leading experts on the control of visceral leishmaniasis. He got his start with TDR grants that provided the evidence for insecticide-treated bednets and for testing a new treatment in real-life conditions. For a boy from rural Bangladesh, the son of a day laborer with never more than a few taka to his name, Dinesh Mondal had seen a great deal of the world.

Mario Grijalva, Ecuador

Chagas research champion wins hearts and minds

When Mario Grijalva left his native Ecuador for graduate studies in the US, he had never heard of a disease called Chagas. Neither had most of the rural populations who lived with and died of the disease, the physicians who mistook its symptoms for cardiac problems, nor politicians. Grijalva, who had returned to study Chagas, had his work cut out for him.

Abraham Aseffa, Ethiopia

An Ethiopian research institute grows with TDR support

Political unrest in the 1970's Ethiopia changed the fate of Abraham Aseffa, a budding engineering undergraduate. The student movement that helped topple the old imperial order also resulted in closed universities. When they reopened, there was no room for re-admission, only some spaces at a new medical school. Luckily Aseffa embraced this unplanned career that eventually would lead to helping build one of Africa's most prestigious research institutes.

Saw Saw, Myanmar

Making her way

Dr Saw Saw, a Burmese social scientist and TDR grantee, is helping her native Myanmar address the challenge of tuberculosis. Her research and work with patient self help groups has led to changes in the national tuberculosis programme, and she is now looking beyond her country. By the time she was 10 years old, Dr Saw Saw knew she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her mother, Su Su, a nuclear physicist and one of the few female scientists in what was then Burma.

Nélson Martins, the Democratic Republic of East Timor

From doctor to researcher to minister of health

Long before he was the Minister of Health of the Democratic Republic of East Timor, Dr Nélson Martins served as a physician to his fellow countrymen as they fought for independence from Indonesian rule. Indeed, within months of earning his MD in 1998, the young doctor found himself heading up emergency health services for guerilla fighters and displaced populations in the country’s mountainous interior, where together violence and disease had taken a heavy toll.

Abdoulaye Diabaté, Burkina Faso

New approaches to reducing Anopheles mosquito breeding and malaria

Dr Abdoulaye Diabaté received the Royal Society Pfizer Award 4 November for his work on the biology of male Anopheles mosquitoes and methods to interrupt mosquito mating. Dr Diabaté is head of medical entomology at the Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Sante/ Centre Muraz in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, and began his research many years ago with a TDR re-entry grant on mosquito mating behavior.

Uche Amazigo, Nigeria

Uche Amazigo receives major recognition

Dr Uche Amazigo, the former Director of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) received the 2012 Prince Mahidol Award in Public Health and an honorary Doctor of Science (honoris causa) degree from the University of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa on 17 April 2013. The awards recognize major contributions to global public health from this Nigerian who made an impact far beyond her roots.