Marius Gilbert

Vice-rector of research and Head of the Spatial Epidemiology Lab (SpELL), Université Libre de Bruxelles

He has broad interests in the spatial epidemiology of animal diseases and invasive species. An overarching theme is the attempt to better understand how changes in agriculture and ecosystems have affected the conditions of emergence, spread and persistence of pathogens, including those with pandemic potential. His main area of expertise includes the epidemiology of avian influenza, emerging infectious diseases, global changes in livestock production systems, and livestock distribution models. During the COVID pandemic, he joined the Expert Group on the Exit Strategy (GEES) that was assembled by the Belgian prime minister Sophie Wilmes to advise the government on the lockdown exit strategy, and was one of the key experts commenting the pandemic developments in the francophone media (national news TV, press and radio). He is now vice-rector of research at the ULB, responsible for the support to the 3500 researchers in all disciplines, where he works to promote the interactions between science and society.

Rowland Kao

Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology and Data Science, Roslin Institute & School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh.

Rowland Kao uses mathematical, statistical and computational techniques to study infectious disease dynamics, mainly with respect to the role of demography in the spread and persistence of human and livestock diseases. Increasingly, this involves the analysis of genetic and epidemiological data to determine the characteristics of disease outbreaks, with bovine Tuberculosis and SARS-CoV-2 being lead examples. His work also integrates elements of human behaviour and the management of land resources (why do farmers move livestock the way they do, and what might happen to contact networks if the conditions under which they moved livestock, changed), and parameter inference (from observed disease data, can we estimate the relative and absolute importance of different routelands of contact). From 2020, he has been a member of SPI-M (the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling Group, providing advice to the UK government on COVID-19 preparedness). He chairs the UK Dept. of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Exotic and Emergent Diseases Committee, a subcommittee of Defra’s Science Advisory Council, of which he is also a member.

Rachel Lowe

ICREA Research Professor at Barcelona Supercomputing Center – Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS).

Rachel Lowe is an ICREA Research Professor, leading the Global Health Resilience Group at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center’s Earth Sciences Department. She also holds a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Rachel’s research involves co-developing policy-relevant methodological solutions, to enhance surveillance, preparedness and response to climate-sensitive disease outbreaks and emergence. Her published work has focussed on the viability of integrating seasonal climate forecasts in early warning systems for infectious diseases in Latin America, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia. Rachel is the Director the Lancet Countdown in Europe, a new transdisciplinary collaboration tracking progress on health and climate change. She is a member of the World Meteorological Organization COVID-19 research task team and was a contributing author of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (WGII) chapter on risks across sectors and regions. She coordinates two Wellcome Trust digital technology, climate, and health projects, HARMONIZE and IDExtremes, which aim to provide robust data and modelling tools to build local resilience against emerging infectious disease threats in climate change hotspots.

Profiles coming soon