Professor Azra Ghani has been appointed Director of MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis securing funding for the next three years.
Established in 2007, the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis has become an international resource and centre of excellence for research and training in the epidemiological analysis and modelling of infectious diseases.
Over the past years, under the leadership of Professor Neil Ferguson, the MRC Centre has provided essential support in the worldwide response to the COVID-19 pandemic and worked tirelessly tackling other local epidemics such as Ebola and Monkeypox. The MRC Centre continues to meet global health partner demands for support across a wide range of endemic diseases, including HIV, TB, malaria, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and polio.
I am hopeful that over the coming years, with sustained global political commitment, we will witness true progress in ending existing epidemics whilst ensuring we are well-prepared to respond to future threats. Prof Azra Ghani Director of MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis
As the demand for modelling inputs has far exceeded global supply, the MRC Centre now enters a new phase with £3.25 million in renewed funding secured for the next three years from the UKRI Medical Research Council (MRC).
Under Professor Ghani's dynamic leadership, the MRC Centre is set to undergo a transformation to better align with current and future priorities. Research within the MRC Centre will be organized around four key interacting themes: Preparedness and Response to Emerging Threats; Global Health Analytics; Vaccines and Therapeutics; and Pathogen Genomic Epidemiology.
With the renewed funding, the MRC Centre will further support investments in three mission-critical pillars. Firstly, the research software engineering team will further enhance open science and research reproducibility, and support public health uptake of modelling tools via the provision of user-friendly interfaces. The establishment of a “Translational Modelling Hub” will lead the generation and presentation of modelling outputs for external partners. Lastly, the training and capacity strengthening pillar includes the development of a multilateral network linking modelling collaborators and public health partners globally to share knowledge and experience.
Prof Azra Ghani, Professor in Infectious Disease Epidemiology in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, has worked on a wide range of infectious diseases, including bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), sexually transmitted infections, SARS, COVID-19, influenza and malaria. She was appointed a Member of the British Order (MBE) in the 2021 Birthday Honours and is currently a member of the WHO Malaria Policy Advisory Group, the Gavi Vaccine Investment Strategy Steering Committee, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) Scientific Advisory Committee.
With Professor Azra Ghani as it's new director, the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis will lead ground breaking research and make impactful contributions to global health, preparedness, and response to infectious diseases. The renewed funding ensures that the Centre can continue its vital work in supporting public health initiatives worldwide.
Professor Azra Ghani said: "As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that we continue to focus on improving population health worldwide. Addressing the inequitable burden of infectious diseases is key to increasing health and well-being as well as having broader social and economic benefits. Science has driven innovation in new tools – for example with vaccines against major infections including malaria, TB, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in the pipeline. I am hopeful that over the coming years, with sustained global political commitment, we will witness true progress in ending existing epidemics whilst ensuring we are well-prepared to respond to future threats."
Article text (excluding photos or graphics) © Imperial College London.
Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or © Imperial College London.