Meet the vectors, environment and society (VES) team!

Florence Fouque, team leader

Responsible for overseeing the unit’s strategy and direction.

Dr Florence Fouque has been the leader of TDR’s unit on vectors, environment and society, since September 2014. Dr Fouque is a French national with a broad range of research, teaching and management experience in vector-borne diseases, most recently as head of the Laboratory of Medical Entomology at the Pasteur Institute in Guadeloupe. For the last 20 years, Dr Fouque has worked as an entomologist in the International Network of the Pasteur Institutes in several countries, managing vector biology and control projects in different ecological, socio-economic and political environments. Her first overseas position in French Guiana, where she worked on both urban vectors and rural vectors in the Amazonian forest and ecosystem, helped shape her approach that emphazises community involvement and communication. She worked through several dengue epidemics where there were different needs for the rural and urban creole communities. “We still have a long way to go to control these vector-borne disease epidemics,” she says, “so I am very happy to be at TDR to lead studies on the connections between the environment, society and vectors, where we will continue to develop strong, community-based solutions.”

Telephone: (+41) 22 791 2173
E-mail: fouquef@who.int

Flor Cabanel, assistant

Provides administrative support to the vectors, environment and society research unit’s activities.

Flor joined TDR in July 2002 with a long and solid multilingual and administrative background. Her highlights of working at TDR include being part of the team that carried out multi-country studies on visceral leishmaniasis and dengue. She appreciates the current studies that VES is working on – particularly the eco-bio-social research projects – and is looking forward to the publications arising from these studies. When asked to comment about the lessons that she has learnt during her career, she states with a smile, “Always be prepared for the unexpected!”

Telephone: (+41) 22 791 2944
E-mail: cabanelf@who.int

Madhavi Jaccard-Sahgal, assistant

Provides administrative support to the vectors, environment and society research unit’s activities.

Madhavi has worked at TDR for 23 years, having graduated from the Ecole supérieure d’Interprètes et de Traducteurs (ESIT) in Paris. She has both translation and administrative experience gained in India and Switzerland. Commenting on when she’d first joined TDR, she states: “I’d never seen such a fantastic programme before!” Madhavi’s highlights at TDR have included working with her first boss, Dr Javid Hashmi from Pakistan, and working on capacity building grants, especially re-entry grants. “I really value TDR’s dynamism and contribution over the years,” she comments, adding “I work with great colleagues, and within TDR there is a real spirit of togetherness!”

Telephone: (+41) 22 791 3907
E-mail: jaccardsahgalm@who.int

Bernadette Ramirez, scientist

Bernadette Ramirez, scientist

Provides support for and coordinates projects studying population health vulnerabilities to vector-borne diseases and ways to increase population resilience against the impact of climate change in Africa.

Bernadette joined TDR in June 2007 with over 20 years academic and research experience in health product innovation, drug discovery, vaccines and the development of diagnostics for infectious tropical diseases. A former TDR grantee herself, she is fully aware of the challenges faced by individual researchers on the ground. Bernadette enjoys working with colleagues who are driven, motivated and passionate about what they do. “I derive my inspiration from working with a great team that believes in the value and significance of our work,” she states, adding, “when there is commitment and a shared purpose among teams, we create a work environment that is conducive to achieving goals. We are a small team, but big on dreams and goals!”

Telephone: (+41) 22 791 1060 
E-mail: ramirezb@who.int

Johannes Sommerfeld, scientist

Manages research on community-based interventions for the control and prevention of infectious diseases of poverty.

Johannes joined TDR in 2000 after working in academia in the USA (Harvard University) and in Germany (University of Heidelberg) for ten years. He has a broad health social science background, with training in cultural and medical anthropology, sociology, economics and public health. Johannes is proud of being part of TDR’s longstanding track record in social and economic research applied to public health, including TDRs research portfolio on community-directed interventions. He is keen to highlight large-scale social and environmental determinants of health that impact the emergence, persistence and control of infectious diseases of poverty. In the unit, he is particularly interested in research at the interface of society and environment. Reflecting on his work at TDR, he states: “It is a great privilege of doing this exciting work in an international, United Nations-based organization with partners and colleagues from all over the world!”

Telephone: (+41) 22 791 3954
E-mail: sommerfeldj@who.int

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