Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Honorary Research Associate



+44 (0)20 7594 5144g.ortu




Praed StreetSt Mary's Campus





Giuseppina joined SCI in February 2011 as Programme Manager. Her current role is to assist in the implementation of drug administration programmes for treatment of worm infections, to assess the impact of mass drug administrations and to define future strategies of prevention, surveillance and control of schistosomiasis and soil transmitted infections in African countries. She is currently responsible for the continuation of programmes in Burundi and Rwanda, and for technical assistance to Ministries of Health (e. g. in Senegal) for the implementation of preventive chemotherapy at the national level. Giuseppina feels her current work combines her interest in tropical infectious diseases and  aspiration to work for developing countries with her need to be constantly engaged in activities that require creativity, managerial skills and a flexible and open-minded approach to daily challenges.

Before embracing this career, Giuseppina worked in different fields. Following an undergraduate degree in biology obtained at the University of Rome (La Sapienza), grant funding and job opportunities in the field of positron emission tomography (PET) brought her to work on the biological evaluation of PET tracers for tumour imaging in Italy (San Raffaele Hospital, Milan), Sweden (Uppsala University) and Israel (Hebrew University of Jerusalem). She went on to complete a PhD in this field working under biochemist Prof Alexander Levitzki at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She then moved back to her native Italy to do a post-doc in immunology at DIBIT, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, under Prof Antonio Siccardi.

After a year in immunology, Giuseppina realized her passion was infectious diseases and international health. She decided to start a new career in these fields and moved to the UK to study at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), obtaining an MSc in Control of Infectious Diseases. In the transition from laboratory-based science to infectious diseases and global health, she first worked in a clinical research organization in Cambridge (PPD Development) gaining a good understating of clinical trials and pharmacovigilance.

Giuseppina’s new interest in tropical infectious diseases has led to a variety of exciting activities in many developing countries. As an MSc student, she worked on a project assessing volunteer community health workers’ skills in The Gambia under the supervision of Prof Brian Greenwood. She then served as an LSHTM Research Fellow evaluating national plans on preparedness strategies for pandemic influenza in Africa under the direction of Dr Richard Coker. She later spent a short period in Cambodia working on malaria. Just before taking on the role of Programme Manager for SCI, she worked for over two and half years as a Clinical Trial Manager under Prof Tom Harrison, St George’s University of London. There, she coordinated studies on cryptococcal meningitis and tuberculosis (with Dr Amina Jindani), all implemented in several African countries, plus India, Bolivia and Nepal. She also was involved in the preparation of study protocols on Buruli ulcer disease (under the direction of Dr Mark Wansbrough-Jones).