Call for Consultant (P4) – Nutrition and immunology

3 March - 29 August 2014

Terms of reference

Title: Consultant (P4) – Nutrition and immunology

Contract type: Consultant

Duration of contract: 6 months

Date: 3 March 2014

Application deadline: 31 January 2014

Duty station: Geneva, Switzerland

Organization unit: World Health Organization/Noncommunicable Disease and Mental Health/Department of Nutrition for Health and Development/ Evidence and Programme Guidance Unit


The Department of Nutrition for Health and Development (NHD) builds and implements a science-based, comprehensive, integrated and action/policy oriented 'Nutrition agenda' at global, regional and country levels that addresses the whole spectrum of nutrition problems towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other nutrition-related international commitments, including the 2025 Global targets for the Comprehensive implementation plan on maternal, infant and young child nutrition. This department coordinates nutrition efforts in WHO emphasizing the areas of global nutrition surveillance, food and nutrition policy, and evidence and programme guidance.

The Evidence and Programme Guidance Unit in WHO's Department of Nutrition for Health and Development works in collaboration with internal WHO departments and programmes and external partners to support Member States and their partners in successfully designing and implementing effective strategies for the achievement of optimal nutrition in their population using evidence-informed policy options and best practices in both stable and emergency settings.

WHO provides comprehensive programme guidance in order to support its Member States in accelerating the successful implementation of efficacious and safe nutrition actions for health and development in real-world settings and assure the sustainable scale-up of these integrating them within the food and health systems. The Evidence and Programme Guidance Unit coordinates research on specific knowledge gaps that can better inform programme and policy guidelines and additional evidence is being gathered in the form of literature reviews to inform guideline development at WHO.

The Consultant, Nutrition and immunology, in close collaboration with technical staff from the Evidence and Programme Guidance Unit, Department of Nutrition for Health and Development will:

  • Review the literature and prepare a narrative on markers of infection/inflammation in: a) endemic infection settings (HIV, TB, malaria), b) cases of chronic infections (respiratory, gastrointestinal), and c) low grade inflammation (diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, cardiovascular diseases). The search for should include comparison of different markers of inflammation (C-reactive protein (CRP), α-1-antichymotrypsin (ACT), α-1-acid glycoprotein (AGP), serum amyloid A protein (SAA), ceruloplasmin, fibrinogen, neopterin) with microbiological methods for detecting, but also identifying the source of infection. The search includes information for each marker on its performance, usefulness and sensibility to respond to inflammation from different origins, associating the different markers with changes in ferritin and retinol concentrations.
  • Prepare a narrative review on the effects of neonatal vitamin A supplementation on immune function summarizing human and animal research in the topic.
  • Develop a conceptual model of the impact of vitamin A on neonatal immune system.
  • Prepare a narrative review on how are iron status markers, especially serum/plasma/erythrocyte ferritin levels, affected by inflammation/infection and which inflammation marker(s) is/are appropriate to measure inflammation and to correct ferritin concentrations to accurately reflect iron stores.
  • Perform a scoping document on priority guidance needs classified by proof of concept (is it safe and does it work?); proof of implementation (how does it work in real-world settings?) and informing scale-up (health systems integration and sustainability) in the area of nutrition and HIV/AIDS, malaria, Tuberculosis, and soil-transmitted parasitic infestations.

Expected deliverables

  • Literature review on ferritin and other iron status markers in inflammation settings and the appropriate markers of inflammation to measure in order to reflect real iron stores.
  • Literature review on the effects of neonatal vitamin A supplementation on immune function, including a conceptual model of the impact of vitamin A on the neonatal immune system.
  • Literature review on markers of infection/inflammation of different origins and intensities.
  • Listing of priority needs, and their justification, in the area of nutrition and infectious diseases (e.g. HIV, malaria, tuberculosis).

Required qualifications

  • Degree in medicine or other health related subject from a recognized university is essential;
  • Doctoral level degree in immunology or residency in infectology or infectious diseases from a recognized university is essential;
  • Post-doctoral experience in immunology is desirable;
  • Knowledge of vitamin and mineral nutrition is desirable.
  • Ability to work harmoniously as a member of a team, adapt to diverse educational and cultural backgrounds and maintain a high standard of personal conduct;
  • Proficiency in standard MS Office and statistical package applications;
  • Excellent writing and presentation skills.
  • At least ten years of immunology-related experience, preferably with at least 2 years of experience in the technical areas of micronutrients and immunology, and nutrition and infectious diseases;
  • At least two years of experience in research involving markers of infection/inflammation;
  • At least two years of experience working in the infectious diseases (e.g. HIV, malaria, tuberculosis);
  • Experience in the conduct of basic and applied research and literature reviews.

Written and spoken fluency of English is essential. Working knowledge of other WHO languages is an advantage.


The consultancy will have a duration of 6 months starting 3 March 2014.


WHO will pay for travel to and return from Geneva, Switzerland in economy airfare and 15 days of per diem.

Applicants are kindly requested to submit their Curriculum Vitae or updated WHO profile in PDF to no later than 31 January 2014. To fill out a WHO profile, please go to Please include “Consultant, Nutrition and immunology” in the subject matter of your email application.