Featured Researchers

Meet Our Members

Sylvia Agbih

PhD candidate, Bielefeld University

Focus: Refugee health, migration, health care ethics, philosophical anthropology, inter-cultural studies and racism

Research: Sylvia’s current work as philosopher in the interdisciplinary graduate school FlüGe - challenges of global refugee migration for the German health care system - is concerned with social and health-related inequalities for asylum seekers. In this context Sylvia is working on a critical reflection of concepts of vulnerability, and tries to understand migration and racism as social determinants of health.

Which historical figure would you invite to dinner? James Baldwin

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Prof. Peter Boor, MD, PhD

Senior consultant pathologist, Uniklinik Aachen

Focus:  Pathology, digital pathology, artificial intelligence & deep learning, chronic kidney disease, fibrosis

Research: Peter is the Chair and Heisenberg Professor of Translational Nephropathology, head of Digital Pathology and Electron Microscopy Facility, and group leader of the LaBooratory of Nephropathology. His team focuses on development of AI and particularly deep learning algorithms for augmented histopathological diagnostics. His team also focuses on mechanisms, novel diagnostic and therapeutic options for renal fibrosis and chronic kidney disease (CKD), a disease affecting about 10% of the world’s population.

What book do you recommend to our community? Rolf Dobelli, "The Art of Thinking Clearly"

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Prof. Dr. Mizeck Chagunda

Professor and Chair Animal Breeding and Husbandry in the Tropics and Subtropics, University of Hohenheim

Focus:  Agriculture, nutrition, and health

Research: Mizeck’s research focuses on developing livestock systems that are efficient, sustainable, and those that protect the environment while contributing to human food- and nutritional security for a healthy future. Most recently, his research has informed animal breeding and husbandry practices that improve productivity, reduce disease and produce wholesome products while mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from ruminants in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.

Which historical figure would you invite to dinner? I would invite one of the three ladies whose contribution to science was recently featured in the movie, “Hidden Figures”. Katherine Johnson, the American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics at NASA were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights.

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Prof. Dr. Detlev Ganten

President World Health Summit

Focus:  Molecular medicine, genetics, genomics, prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases; evolutionary medicine and global health.

Research: As a researcher, Detlev identified basic mechanisms of the development of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension, leading to more effective prevention and treatments.
As the founding president of the World Health Summit and the “M8 Alliance”, he has created a unique space for thousands of experts to come together to address global health challenges and support informed solutions.

Which book would you recommend to our community?  Karl Popper: The Logic of Scientific Discovery

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Prof. Dr. Elke Hertig

Professor of Regional Climate Change and Health, University of Augsburg

Focus: Regional/ local climate change, statistical downscaling, temperature extremes, vector-borne diseases, urban ecology

Research: Elke operates at the intersection of health science and the environment and was recently appointed to a Heisenberg-Professorship at the University of Augsburg. A geographer by training, Elke has expanded her research to include the health impacts of climatic factors (e.g. heat, ozone pollution) under current and future climate change. Her statistical models help provide a scientific basis for guidelines, including for the WHO.

Which historical figure would you invite to dinner? I would invite Alexander von Humboldt to dinner. He was a truly interdisciplinary researcher and has inspired many disciplines. It would be most interesting to hear about his expeditions and how he built his huge scientific and social network. 

Felix Holl

Research Associate at the DigiHealth Research Group Institute, Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences; PhD candidate, LMU Munich

Focus:  Medical informatics, global health informatics, e-health, information management, telemedicine

Research: Felix uses mHealth applications and health informatics to improve both health care access and services. His current work at DigiHealth examines the status and potential of digitalization in health care. He is an advocate for the field of Global Health Informatics. This work is complemented by his doctoral studies in medical informatics.

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given? To try to be mindful of the situation you are in and not be preoccupied with other things. It’s easy to get distracted by messages buzzing in your phone during a meeting, especially during the current online meeting era. But giving the person you’re interacting with the full attention improves professional and personal relationships and leads to better outcomes.

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Prof. Dr. Nils Hoppe

Professor of Ethics in Law in the Life Sciences, Director of the Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences and Dean of Research, Leibniz University Hannover

Focus:  Bioethics, health law, health policy, research governance

Research: Nils’ academic career began with his early studies of medical law and human rights law, developed further with his PhD in law, and has expanded to include bioethics. His interdisciplinary expertise has informed his work as a long-standing external ethics expert for the European Commission as well as his research concerning bioethics and law in the practice of science. Nils has a particular interest in the construction of governance frameworks that reconcile conflicting rights in science and technology.

If you could live two lives what would your non-research career be? I do live two lives! I have a non-research career as a lawyer in London and very much enjoy helping to solve complex legal problems. If I had not become a researcher, I would have stayed in the practice of law full time.

Prof. Dr. Stefanie Klug, MPH

Full Professor and Chair of Epidemiology, Technical University of Munich

Focus:  Disease prevention, cancer epidemiology, molecular epidemiology, statistical methods, systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses, human papillomaviruses (HPV) and cervical cancer

Research: Stefanie’s research is dedicated to preventing chronic diseases. Her work draws largely on conducting population-based studies as well as secondary data analyses, supported by advanced epidemiological and biostatistical methods. Insights from her research have directly impacted health policy in Germany, for example, regarding cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccination.

Which historical figure would you invite to dinner? I would love to have dinner with John Snow, a 19th century British physician and early epidemiologist. It would be great to learn about his thoughts and ideas of using statistical and epidemiological methods to investigate, document, analyze and in the end prevent outbreaks of Cholera before even knowing that a bacterium caused the epidemics.

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Prof. Dr. François Paquet-Durand

Associate Professor and Project Lead, Institute for Ophthalmic Research, University of Tübingen

Focus: Ophthalmology, cell biology, retinal diseases, pharmacology, biochemistry, affordable medicines, neurology

Research: François is interested in understanding neuronal cell death mechanisms and developing new ways of preventing neurodegeneration, particularly in the context of rare hereditary retinal diseases. His research has contributed to the finding that non-apoptotic cell death mechanisms appear to play a preeminent role in neurodegenerative diseases that cause blindness. Ultimately, this knowledge may support the clinical translation of novel treatments for blinding diseases. In the context of Global Health Research, he wants to promote the interests of patients suffering from rare diseases in developing countries.

What book do you recommend to our community? "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus" by Charles C. Mann

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Prof. Dr. Katharina Schaufler

University of Greifswald, Pharmaceutical Microbiology

Focus:  Pharmaceutical microbiology, antimicrobial resistance, functional and phylogenetic genome analysis, One Health

Research: Katharina is examining factors that contribute to the success of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Her research seeks to characterize resistance, while also investigating virulence and fitness determinants. Ultimately, her research group aims to better understand and to fight successful pandemic pathogens.

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given? Don't forget your heart.

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Prof. Dr. Ansgar Wübker

Hochschule-Harz and Ruhr-University Bochum, researcher at health department at RWI-Leibniz Institute for Economic Research

Focus: Health economics, applied econometrics, policy evaluation, health care inequity

Research: Ansgar applies his background in economics to policy-relevant issues in health. Broadly speaking, his research analyzes individual health behavior (e.g. cancer prevention), hospital markets and applied econometrics. His research seeks to draw on economic principles to shine light into where we can improve hospital care and inform policy.

What advice do you offer to aspiring researchers? A deep interest in the topic, hard work and a willingness to face challenges head-on are important ingredients for a happy and successful research career.

Maike Voss

Associate and Project Lead of the Global Health Governance Research Team, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP); part-time PhD student, London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Berlin Office

Focus: Health policy research, political sciences, global health governance, health security

Research: Maike is leading a project at SWP that examines the challenges and opportunities for German global health development policy, with an eye to achieving the sustainable development goals. Ultimately, the group hopes to identify policy-relevant recommendations for German and global health policy in line with the health in all policies approach.

What book do you recommend to our community? One book that I regularly give away to friends and family is "Factfulness" by H. Rosling. This book explains what I spend my working day with and what I worry about. For researchers and for those who want to become one, I recommend "Corpus Delicti" (J. Zeh) and "Biocapitalism" (K. S. Rajan).

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Featured Research

Our Impact

Berlin Institute of Health

Submission by: Jennifer Bencivenga

"Leveraging the digital revolution in Africa, our team developed and launched mTOMADY - a mobile phone-based platform for financial inclusion in healthcare.

We used human-centered design research to develop our solution, and are now conducting randomized controlled trials on it’s impact and value. This research will contribute insights to the global health field that can inform digital interventions for resource-poor communities."

Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Submission by: Prof. Dr. med. Felix Knauf & Rebecca Ingenhof

“Our work contributed to the detection and care of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in rural Uganda. We successfully established a community health worker-based NCD primary care system.

This project underlines the importance of including chronic diseases in global health research. In addition, we placed emphasis on patient-centered education as a key in raising awareness towards NCD prevention.”

Relevant publication: Siddharthan et al. 2016

German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIfE)

Submission by: Dr. George Soultoukis

"Our team at DIfE will analyze the changes of the transcriptional architecture of the long bone tibia as a function of gender, diet, and age to generate a stimulus-dependent 3D-Bone Atlas of gene expression. Our research will unify principles from Nutritional Science, Molecular Biology, Genomics, and Spatial Bioinformatics for a freely available online tool that will inspire basic and clinical research follow-up studies!"

Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology – BIPS, Bremen & University of Bremen

Submission by: Dr. Antje Hebestreit & Dr. Antje Hebestreit

"Our research in Zanzibar confirmed that early undernutrition is followed by adult overweight increasing the NCDs risk among Zanzibari. The results helped to bring this Double Burden of Malnutrition into political debate and the scientific discourse resulted in the development of a new curriculum at the State University Zanzibar to prepare health professionals for the projected obesity and NCD rise."

Relevant publications: Nyangasa et al. 2019, Brackmann et al. 2019

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Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Pettenkofer School of Public Health

Submission by: Karin Geffert & Peter von Philipsborn

"Our team analyzed the current policy situation in Germany regarding a healthy food environment. A comparison with international best practice shows room for improvement, especially concerning the regulation of food promotion and the implementation of nutrition standards. These results may help politicians to make decisions for a better, healthier and more sustainable food environment in a global context."

Together with Dr. Antje Hebestreit at the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology - BIPS
Learn more about the PEN project and results.

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Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Pettenkofer School of Public Health

Prof. Dr. Eva Rehfuess

"As a WHO Collaborating Centre for Evidence-Based Public Health, we provide support towards the development of WHO guidelines on public health questions.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been conducting rapid reviews to investigate the effectiveness of travel restrictions, school measures and other interventions. Our work enables evidence-based decisions in challenging times."

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Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Pettenkofer School of Public Health

Submission by: Dr. med. Kerstin Sell

"We’re part of CEBHA+, which focuses on non-communicable diseases and integrated knowledge translation (IKT). By engaging decisionmakers throughout the research process - for example supporting Ugandan partners in collaborating with the local police to update their crash data system - we’re conducting research that is applicable and relevant for Sub-Saharan Africa. We evaluate this IKT approach to understand what works."

Together with Dr. Lisa Pfadenhauer, Jacob Burns, Prof. Eva Rehfuess, LMU Munich, Pettenkofer School of Public Health

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Robert Koch Institute

Submission by: Veronica Briesemeister

"As a result of current worldwide travel restrictions, the Robert Koch Institute developed a series of online training tools for the diagnostics of SARS-CoV-2. The open-source material, available in English, French, and Spanish, includes protocols, movie clips, and presentations.

A starter pack including all necessary reagents was shared with partner laboratories, allowing users to work independently."

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Technical University of Munich

Submission by: Annette Abraham

"Human and animal health in their shared environment are interconnected. Neurocysticercosis, caused by the pork tapeworm Taenia solium, is one example for this One Health perspective. My colleagues and I are contributing through evidence-based treatment guidelines, diagnostic tool developments, epidemiological and clinical data acquisition and capacity building in Africa to improved diagnosis, treatment and control of this possibly eradicable disease."

On behalf of the Center for Global Health (AG Prof. Winkler), Technical University of Munich, CYSTINET-Africa and The Lancet One Health Commission

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University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf

Submission by: Prof. Dr. Mike Mösko

“Linguistically diverse patients have the right to participate in high quality healthcare; qualified interpreters are needed.

Based on a nationwide consensus process our research group developed quality standards and minimum requirements for the qualification of interpreters in Germany and are currently evaluating the BetweenLanguages training program. To promote integration of qualified interpreters we also developed educational films for professionals.”

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Universitätsklinikum Tübingen, Institute of Tropical Medicine

Submission by: Prof. Dr. Thirumalaisamy P. Velavan

"Hepatitis E virus infections (HEV) are transmitted by faecal-oral route and by zoonosis in developing and developed countries respectively. Our studies found that 10% of commercial pork meat products in Germany are contaminated with HEV and high HEV seroprevalence among occupationally exposed in Vietnam, indicating a significant risk of HEV infection globally by exposure and by food consumption."

Relevant publications: Pallerla et al. 2020, Hoan et al. 2019

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