PulseNet International Steering Committee

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Brief biographies of Steering Committee Members:

Dr Peter Gerner-Smidt is MD, DMSc. with a specialty in clinical microbiology. He received his MD from University of Aarhus, Denmark and his DMSc. from University of Copenhagen, Denmark, his research topic being the taxonomy and epidemiology of Acinetobacter, a nosocomial pathogen. He held the position of Head of the Danish Reference Centre for Enteric Pathogens and Listeria at Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen from 1995- 2004 where he represented the institute at the national level in the Danish Zoonosis Centre, and at the international level, in EnterNet, the European network for surveillance of Salmonella, STEC and Campylobacter. He was the first coordinator of PulseNet Europe, the European network for molecular surveillance of foodborne infections. In 2004, he moved to the United States to become chief of the Epidemiological Investigations and PulseNet Unit at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA (USA); today he is the acting chief of the Enteric Diseases Laboratory Branch (proposed) at CDC, Atlanta, chief of PulseNet USA and chairman of the PulseNet international Steering Committee. Dr. Gerner-Smidt’s research interests are molecular epidemiology, including subtyping and identification of foodborne, zoonotic and enteric bacterial pathogens.

Dr. Jeniffer Concepción-Acevedo is the PulseNet International coordinator at CDC, Atlanta, GA, USA. She completed a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst were she studied potential drug targets against African sleeping sickness. During her postdoctoral training at Emory University, she investigated the impact of bacterial antibiotic resistance on antimicrobial pharmacodynamics and treatment outcomes. At CDC, she will also contribute to subtyping initiatives and managing BioNumerics databases to detect foodborne outbreaks.
Dr. Concepción-Acevedo is interested in supporting national and international initiatives to build capacity in subtyping and sequencing analysis for the identification of foodborne and waterborne pathogens.

Dr Norma Binsztein was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She studied Biology at the School of Sciences, University of Buenos Aires. After the completion of her university studies, she specialized in microbiology and joined the Instituto Nacional de Microbiologia "Carlos G Malbran" (at present Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades infecciosas-ANLIS "Carlos G Malbran"), in Buenos Aires as a professional staff since 1972, and then as Chief of the Bacteriology Department from January 1994 to April 2007, by contest. Her focus was always on enteric bacteria and diarrheal diseases, mainly in virulence factors and genetic relationships. The research projects and the direction of 8 national and international research grants were focused on the study of cholera, foodborne pathogens and diarrheal diseases. This led to 75 congress reports, 46 papers published in national and international journals, as well as the writing of one chapter in the "Blue Book of Pediatric Infectology". She has been actively involved in the organization of the National Surveillance System for enteric pathogens through a network of laboratories, and has been the co-coordinator of the Diarrhea, Cholera and Foodborne Pathogens (FBP) Network in Argentina. These roles included the coordination of national (24) and international (9) post-graduate courses on the “Characterization of Enterobacteria (mainly FBP) and V. cholerae" and "Molecular epidemiology in the surveillance of bacterial infections". They also included the development of the respective proceedings manuals distributed to the National Laboratory Network and the International Laboratory Network within the framework of the WHO Global Salmonella Surveillance program (WHO GSS). Norma Binsztein has been actively involved in various international activities; including the co-coordination of the WHO GSS program for South America since 2000 and the PulseNet Latin America network since 2003.

Dr Suleiman Al-Busaidy is an Omani microbiologist, currently holding the Directorship position of the Central Public Health Laboratory in Ministry of Health - Muscat, Oman. As the Director of the Central Public Health Laboratories his responsibilities include the provision of scientific and managerial leadership in developing, promoting and integrating public health laboratory services into practice, towards prevention and control of diseases. Under his leadership the CPHL, has attained the WHO recognition as a Regional Reference Laboratory for Polio, Measles & Rubella, Tuberculosis as well as being the provider for Eastern Mediterriean External Quality Assuarence Scheme in Microbiology. Dr. Suleiman established the Virology Laboratory in Oman.

Dr Brent Gilpin is a Science Leader at the Institute of Environmental Science & Research, a Crown Research Institute of the New Zealand Government. He is also holds two Adjunct Senior Fellow positions at the University of Canterbury, one in the Department of Biological Sciences, and the second in the Biomolecular Interaction Centre. He has a particular interest in Campylobacter, and Molecular Epidemiology. Brent is currently responsible for the PulseNet International Website

Dr Kai-Man Kam is presently Consultant Medical Microbiologist in the Public Health Laboratories, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong. He is a Diplomate of American Board of Medical Microbiology, and Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists. He is now in charge of the Food and Water section in the Microbiology Division, Public Health Laboratory Services Branch, which serves as the main public health testing laboratory for food and water borne infections. Dr Kam is editor of the Federation of European Microbiological Societies Immunology and Medical Microbiology journal, as well as in the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

Dr Anthony Smith  I am currently employed as a senior medical scientist with the Centre for Enteric Diseases (CED) of the National institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in Johannesburg, South Africa. I have a 26-year employment history with this institution. In May 1996, I obtained my PhD in molecular microbiology from the University of the Witwatersrand; I currently hold a joint appointment (senior research officer) with this University through the School of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences. The CED is a reference centre in South Africa for human isolates of Salmonella species, Shigella species, Campylobacter species, Vibrio cholerae, Listeria monocytogenes and diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli. My current activities include diagnosis, surveillance and epidemiology of enteric bacterial pathogens in South Africa. I lecture and teach on the application of molecular techniques in the microbiology laboratory, including techniques related to laboratory identification and characterization of bacterial enteric pathogens. These techniques include PCR (conventional PCR and real-time PCR), molecular subtyping of bacteria (pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, multiple-locus variable-number tandem-repeats analysis and multi-locus sequence typing) and DNA sequencing (including whole genome sequencing). I am also involved with supervision of post-graduate students and training of intern medical scientists. My supervision of post-graduate students includes 5 PhD students and 13 MSc students. My publication record includes 70 peer-reviewed journal publications (external link) . I serve on the editorial board (associate editor) of the ‘Journal of Infection in Developing Countries’ and act as reviewer for papers submitted to several medical journals. This biographical sketch was prepared on 12 August 2016.

Dr Susanna Lukinmaa is a microbiologist who completed her Master of Science and PhD (in microbiology) at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Helsinki. Her thesis, entitled “ Salmonella enterica, Listeria monocytogenes and Clostridium perfringens: Diversity of human isolates studied by phenotypic and molecular methods", examined the molecular epidemiology of food-borne pathogens. She worked as a coordinator of PulseNet Europe at the Statens Serum Institute, in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2005-2006 and since then she has been a member of the steering committee of PulseNet Europe in the transient period with no funding and no coordinator. At present, she is working as a senior researcher at the National Health Institute, Department of Bacterial and Inflammatory Diseases, Enteric Bacteria Laboratory in Helsinki, Finland and is also specializing to hospital microbiology at the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa.

Dr Celine Nadon Section Head, PulseNet Canada. Emerging Bacterial Pathogens Division, Bacteriology and Enteric Diseases Program, National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada (Winnipeg, Canada). Dr Nadon received her Ph.D. from Cornell University (2003; New York, USA) and her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the University of Manitoba (1996, 1998; Winnipeg, Canada). Prior to joining the Public Health Agency of Canada's PulseNet team in 2006, Celine served as a post-doctoral associate at the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service in Washington, D.C. (USA). As the Section Head for PulseNet Canada, she oversees all operations, network coordination, database administration, and research. She also holds the position of an Adjunct Professor with the Department of Medical Microbiology within the Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Manitoba.

Dr Lai-King Ng Director, Bacteriology and Enteric Diseases Program National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada (Winnipeg, Canada). Dr. Lai-King Ng was born and raised in Hong Kong and moved to Canada in 1970. She received her Batchelor of Science, Master of Science, and Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Alberta. Dr. Ng then moved to Ottawa where she completed her post doctorate training at the Laboratory Center of Disease Control. In 1988, Dr. Ng became a Research Scientist at the Antimicrobials and Molecular Biology Division. The following year, she became Head of the Research Division at the National Microbiology Laboratory for Sexually Transmitted Diseases in where her division focused on developing diagnostic and typing methods to monitor Neisseria gonorrhoeae . In 1994 she spent 2-1/2 years at the University of Ottawa as an Assistant Professor, setting up the Bacteriology Program within the Medical Microbiology and Immunology Department B Faculty of Medicine. Returning to Health Canada in 1996, Dr. Ng was assigned to the research lab at the National Microbiology Laboratory for Enteric Pathogens. Dr. Ng transferred to Winnipeg in 1998 where she held the title of Chief, Sexually Transmitted Diseases as well as Head, Gonococcal Infections/Syphilis Section at the National Microbiology Laboratory. She also holds the position of an Adjunct Professor with the Department of Medical Microbiology within the Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Manitoba. She is currently the Director of Bacteriology and Enteric Diseases Program and Acting Chief of Enteric Diseases Program at the National Microbiology Laboratory. Since 2003, she has been actively involved in PulseNet Canada and PulseNet International activities. She is also involved in International Surveillance work in partnership with the Pan American Health Organization as well as the World Health Organization. Her international work involved over 22 countries world wide with the objective of monitoring and controlling diarrhoeal diseases.

Dr Eva M. Nielsen has a Master of Science (food technology; 1987) and PhD (microbiology; 1991). She is senior researcher and leader of the unit for Typing and Surveillance of Gastrointestinal Infections at Statens Serum Institut, Denmark. At present, she is head of the steering committee of PulseNet Europe in the transient period with no funding and no coordinator (from MedVetNet funding to the take-over by ECDC). Main research area in the last twelve years: Studies of the epidemiology of zoonotic bacterial infections in food production animals and humans, including molecular characterization of Campylobacter, Salmonella, pathogenic E. coli, and Listeria. Research and development related to improved surveillance of zoonotic infections. Methods include development of molecular typing methods, establishment of serotyping system for Campylobacter, detection of virulence factors in E. coli.

Dr Enrique Perez Gutierrez, Food Safety Officer, Pan-American Health Organization, Area of Health Surveillance and Disease Management (based on Rio de Janeiro Brazil). Dr. Perez was born and raised in Costa Rica. He received his DVM from the National University of Costa Rica, a Master in Preventive Medicine from the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil, a Master in Veterinary Preventive Medicine from the University of California in Davis and his PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands. In 1981 he was hired by the National University in Costa Rica as assistant professor. He obtained tenure position as Associate Professor in 1986 and became a full Professor in 1995. During that time he was lecturer on the under-graduated level in Herd Health, Preventive Medicine and Public Health and on the graduate level in General Epidemiology, Study design, Analytical Epidemiology, Epidemiological Modeling. He was also responsible for academic coordination of a Master course in Epidemiology for the human health sector of Costa Rica (Ministry of Health, Social Security System, Diagnostic laboratory) and team leader of the population medicine research program. In 1999 he was hired by Inter-American Institute for Agricultural Cooperation (IICA), as an agricultural health and food safety specialist providing technical cooperation in modernization of agricultural health systems to member countries in Latin American and the Caribbean. In November 2001, Dr. Perez entered at the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) as Chief Technical Cooperation in the Pan American Institute for Food Protection and Zoonosis-INPPAZ. PAHO/WHO, responsible for developing, managing, conducting and evaluating the Institute?s program of field services; providing technical cooperation to national programs in health and agriculture with emphasis in food safety; promoting international coordination between health and agriculture sectors; and promoting and carrying out research in food safety and foodborne disease in the Institute and in Member Countries. Since 2006 after a reorganization of the technical cooperation in food safety at PAHO, he is based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as Food Safety Officer, responsible for technical cooperation to member countries in the development of risk-based, sustainable, integrated food safety systems. Since 2002, he has been actively involved in WHO-GSS program and in December 2003 supported the creation of PulseNet Latin America. He is also involved in FERG (Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiological Reference Group from WHO and is actively involved in foodborne burden of disease studies and antimicrobial resistance studies along the Americas.

Photo of participants at 2009 Buenos Aires meeting

PulseNet International 2nd Strategic Meeting, Nov 12-13 2009, Buenos Aires

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