Dr. Sophie Houard  |  European Vaccine Initiative

Dr. Sophie Houard

Sophie Houard has joined EVI in 2010 where she is the director of vaccine development. She is responsible for overseeing pharmaceutical and subsequent production of vaccine candidates, as well as ad hoc clinical development.

Until 2001, she worked as a Scientific Researcher in the Molecular Parasitology Laboratory and Applied Genetics Laboratory of l’Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), before joining Henogen, Belgium as Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Henogen’s Proprietary Products Platform. During the 2000s, she was in charge of the development of several biotech derived human drugs and vaccines.

She graduated with a Master’s degree in Molecular Zoology from ULB, followed by a PhD in Sciences. She has more than 18 years of experience in GMP manufacturing and phase I-III clinical research of therapeutic drugs and prophylactic vaccines. She has submitted several successful patent applications and has authored and co-authored numerous scientific articles in peer reviewed journals.

Prof. Paul Kaye  |  University of York

Prof. Paul Kaye

Paul Kaye is Professor of Immunology at the University of York.

He trained in zoology (BSc) and immunology (PhD) and has worked for over 30 years on the immunology and immunopathology of the neglected tropical disease leishmaniasis. He is internationally recognized for his research on macrophages and dendritic cells, contributing to a fundamental understanding of their biology in health and disease, and for his work on lymphoid tissue remodelling and granulomatous inflammation during chronic infection. Paul is a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator and an elected Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. He was awarded FRCPath by publication in 2004 and has published ~150 research articles and reviews, with many in leading international journals (e.g. Nature Medicine, Immunity, J. Clin. Invest., PNAS). Paul’s research tackles leishmaniasis from a holistic viewpoint, rooted in the immunology of the host-parasite interaction, but employing tools and approaches taken from many disciplines, including mathematics, ecology, vector biology and neuroscience. He has extensive links with leishmaniasis-endemic countries and is currently leading on Phase II therapeutic vaccine trials in Sudan, developing a digital pathology platform with colleagues in Brazil, India and Sri Lanka and establishing a controlled human infection model for cutaneous leishmaniasis.

Prof. Joseph Olobo |  Makerere University

Prof. Joseph Olobo

Joseph Olobo is a veterinarian by basic training and is professor of Immunology, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. He has studied the immunology of diseases including leishmaniasis, trypanosomiasis and tuberculosis. He established the non-human primate model for visceral leishmaniasis for drug and vaccine development. Together with other members of the Leishmaniasis East Africa Platform (LEAP), he is involved in clinical trials for anti-leishmania drug development. Initial trials by LEAP showed that a 17-day combination treatment with SSG/PM was as effective as the 30-day standard SSG. In 2010, the WHO recommended SSG/PM combination as the new first-line treatment for VL patients in eastern Africa. Partly through his efforts, the Department of Immunology and Molecular Biology was recently establishment at the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University.

Dr. Margaret Mbuchi  |  Kenya Medical Research Institute

Dr. Margaret Mbuchi

Margaret Mbuchi is a Principal Research Officer at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). She has worked on host-parasite interaction, immunopathogenesis and diagnosis in human visceral leishmaniasis. Margaret has worked extensively in development and field evaluation of simplified molecular and point-of-care diagnostic tests for visceral leishmaniasis in Kenya in collaboration with EU (TRYLEIDIAG Project 2006-2009), World Health Organization 2011 (http://www.who.int/tdr/publications/documents/vl-rdt-evaluation.pdf) and Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (2014-2018). She has also worked in collaboration with University of Texas Medical Branch to investigate the role of Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription-6 (STAT6) in human visceral leishmaniasis in Kenya (2014-2018). Current research interests include characterization of host immune response pathways aimed at identifying potential targets for drug and vaccine development against visceral leishmaniasis. Margaret also teaches at the KEMRI-Institute of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases (ITROMID) graduate school where she is in charge of the Cellular & Molecular Immunology Unit.

Prof. Asrat Hailu  University of Gondar

Prof. Asrat Hailu

Asrat Hailu is a Professor of Immunoparasitology in the College of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He has worked at various academic positions at Addis Ababa as Director of Research, and Head of Department. He supervises PhD students and coordinates a post graduate program in Medical Parasitology.

Prof. Asrat has a vast experience on clinical trials evaluating new treatments, diagnostics and vaccines. He has collaborated with DNDi to establish regional centres of excellence for clinical trials focusing on leishmaniasis. He is a member of various professional societies and global networks. His research focuses on parasitic diseases, especially NTDs and malaria; he publishes extensively in scientific journals. He is currently heading a research division of CDT-AFRICA (a World Bank Centre of excellence for Innovative Drug Development and Therapeutic Trials for Africa, based in Ethiopia) as well being the Chair of the Health Working Group at the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences.

Prof. Ahmed Musa  | Institute of Endemic Diseases, University of Khartoum


Prof. Ahmed Musa

EDCTP Representative (Observer role)

Before the official start of their mandate, all SEAC members have signed a non-disclosure agreement, a declaration of conflict of interest and a declaration of commitment to the project.​