News from TDR Director, John Reeder

TDR news item
12 August 2014

This month we’re featuring work on the impact of climate change on vector-borne diseases. We have a major research project in 5 African countries and we’re involved in Ecohealth 2014, a biennial conference of the International Association for Ecology and Health. We also have a new paper out on treatments for urinary schistosomiasis, a report on further developing open source product development, and several projects building research capacity.

The impact of the changing climate is at the heart of a fairly new area of work for TDR. Although scientists broadly agree that climate change can potentially affect vector-borne diseases, the exact effects are still unclear. We’re looking at it from the angle of how it will affect communities who are already at risk of diseases carried by vectors such as mosquitoes. What will happen if the climate increases by just 1 degree, and what kinds of adaptations will be the most useful to reduce transmission? The work is being carried out in 5 African countries.

Bernadette Ramirez, the TDR scientist who is managing this project, is presenting her work at the biennial conference of the International Association for Ecology and Health in Montreal, and I and the chair of our Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, Mario Henry Rodriguez, have been members of the international advisory committee.

Open source product development

The efforts to explore open source product development got a big boost at a meeting held at the prestigious Bellagio Conference Centre in Italy. Our head of intervention and implementation research, Piero Olliaro is part of this work to bring together scientists, pharmaceutical companies and funders to develop guiding principles for more open sharing of data.

Malaria

I was pleased to hear of the appointment of Professor Pedro Alonso to be the new Director of the Global Malaria Programme (GMP) at WHO. I have worked with Pedro, most recently on the development of the new malaria global strategy, for which he chaired the steering committee while I was acting director of that department. He is an accomplished leader whose experience in global health will be a great asset to WHO and I’m looking forward to exploring with him the opportunity for more coordinated work between WHO/GMP and TDR. We’ve already started with the SORT IT operational research and training programme, which will be held in 4 southern African countries aiming for malaria elimination.

"We’re finding the impact of early grants is wide-ranging and often initiates national programmes and long-term commitments."

John Reeder, TDR Director

Capacity strengthening

There is a lot going on in research capacity strengthening – we have expanded funding for the Career Development Fellowship, and we have a new grant to help identify ways to increase the number of women in scientific careers. There are a number of research grants now open, so be sure to check the details and deadlines on our grants page.

40th anniversary

We continue our 40th anniversary celebration with a profile of a scientist from Argentina, Fernán Agüero, who started his career in bioinformatics with a grant from TDR and went on to help build that field in his country. We’re finding the impact of early grants is wide-ranging and often initiates national programmes and long-term commitments. This is exactly why we do these – to give both people and countries a start that allows them to build expertise and systems that they determine are needed.

For more information, please contact

Jamie Guth
TDR Communications Manager
Telephone: +41 79 441 2289
E-mail:guthj@who.int

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