Piero Olliaro

Piero Olliaro, Italian, is an MD with a post-graduation in infectious diseases and a PhD from the University ofPavia, Italy, MA from the University of Oxford, UK, and HDR (Habilitation à Diriger les Recherches) from the University of Grenoble, France. He is Membre Etranger de l’Académie de Médecine, France. He has been with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland since 1993 with the Special Programme on Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), where he is currently Head of intervention and implementation research. He is visiting professor with the University of Oxford since 2001 and has been the Newton-Abraham professor in 2014-15.  He is author of over 300 peer-reviewed papers.

His main areas of work are laboratory, pharmacology, clinical and field research in several poverty-related infectious diseases (malaria, tuberculosis, leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, emerging infections). He has contributed to the establishment of artemisinin combination therapy, and development of artesunate-amodiaquine and artesunate-mefloquine for malaria; to the development of rifabutin and gatifloxacin for tuberculosis and paromomycin and various combination regimens for visceral and cutaneous leishmaniasis. He has been instrumental in generating evidence for policy and guidelines through systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and by promoting data-sharing and open-source research. He has contributed to the establishment of the Drug for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) and the Europe and Developing Countries Clinical Trial Partnership (EDCTP) and has participated in the response to the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak.

With his vast experience in both well-known (media) hyped diseases, such as Ebola; and less ‘sexy’ diseases such as Leishmaniasis or the neglected tropical diseases in general, he will highlight the differences of working in these fields and the impact media has on his work.


Lucy van der helm

Over the years, Lucy van der Helm has gained a vast amount of experience and knowledge in advertising and communication amongst others as co-founder and managing director of ‘De Combinatie van Factoren’, an Amsterdam based advertising agency, serving big clients such as M&M’s and Heineken.

In 2014 she became the managing director of SIRE (Stichting Ideële Reclame), an independent Dutch non-profit communication foundation, aimed at raising awareness of big societal issues. Since SIRE was founded in 1967, they launched over 113 campaigns, raising awareness for topics ranging from fireworks and violence against healthcare workers, to the impact of divorce on children and short-temperedness (“kort lontje”). Their most recent campaign addressing the current hunger for success and perfection that many people perceive, created a big social media hype. Central in this campaign lies the question: “For whom are you actually doing this?” (“Voor wie doe je het eigenlijk?”).

With her vast experience in advertising and communication, Lucy van der Helm and her team at SIRE are true experts at creating social awareness, deploying mass media to bring impactful messages for the greater good. What can we scientists learn from her? How should we be promoting our knowledge for the benefit of all?


Colin Russell

Colin Russell, an American born, Cambridge based virologist, is best described as a dynamic evolutionary epidemiologist. His research interests focus on how epidemiology shapes the evolutionary dynamics of antigenically variable pathogens, particularly influenza viruses.  Colin is not shy of thinking out of the box, combining mathematical modelling systems, big data, classical epidemiology and common sense to understand and predict the spread and evolution of seasonal influenza.

Besides being a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, Russell is also one of the chief scientists of the University of Cambridge WHO Collaborating Centre for Modeling, Evolution and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases. He plays a key role in the strain selection for inclusion in the upcoming year’s seasonal influenza vaccine. He has published many outstanding papers in journals such as Nature, Science and eLife.

At the APROVE science night he will introduce us to the fascinating world of virus outbreak prediction and flu strain selection for next year’s flu jab.

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Dominic King

Dominic King is the clinical lead at Google DeepMind Health, where he makes sure all work is driven by input from doctors, nurses and patients, and backed by robust evidence. He is an Honorary Clinical Lecturer in Surgery at Imperial College London, where he previously worked as an academic general surgeon. His publication history spans the British Medical Journal, the Lancet and Health Affairs, including some of the earliest and most-cited papers on how clinicians really use digital technology.

Dominic co-founded the HELIX Centre, a joint effort between Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art to bring together technologists, designers and clinicians. Furthermore he has served as a research lead at the world’s leading center for patient safety, exploring ways that technology could prevent patients being harmed during treatment. The clinical app company Dominic co-founded, HARK, was acquired by DeepMind in early 2016. This evening Dominic will talk about artificial intelligence and big data in healthcare.


Sicco de Knecht - Moderator

Sicco de Knecht (1987) is editor in chief at ScienceGuide, a website about higher education and science in The Netherlands. He studied Psychobiology and Neuroscience at the University of Amsterdam. In his PhD at the UvA he worked on the neuronal basis of epilepsy. Throughout his PhD, he was also an editor at deFusie and presented the philosophical talkshow “The Idea” (“De Idee”) at Stadschouwburg Amsterdam. He was chosen “Folia Person of the Year” in 2015 for his determined and industrious contribution to Rethink UvA, the driving force behind the drastic changes towards a more transparent and democratic governance of the university. He was laurelled as being “steadfast, gentlemanly and an intelligent debater”.


Shona Kalkman - Discussion Leader

Shona Kalkman (1988) is a postdoctoral researcher in Biomedical Research Ethics at the University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht. She has a masters in Medicine and Applied Ethics from Utrecht University. In her PhD thesis she analyzed the ethical challenges and opportunities of clinical trials that better reflect the real world effects of new biomedical interventions. Her work in the field of responsible research and innovation concentrates on the analysis of governance structures, with special interest in Big Data and drug research and development. She serves a role as ethicist for the research ethics committee (METC) of the UMC Utrecht.