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Global Health Research Centres - Funding Committee


12 August 2021


V1 - August 2021


Membership and expertise of the funding committee for the NIHR Global Health Research Centres programme.






  Professor Faith Osier

Principle Investigator

 KEMRI - Wellcome Trust

 Faith Osier trained as a paediatrician in Kenya, specialized in immunology in Liverpool, and obtained a PhD from the Open University in the UK. She is the Executive Director of the IAVI Human Immunology Laboratory (HIL) at Imperial College London. IAVI aims to translate scientific discoveries into affordable, globally accessible public health solutions. The current project portfolio includes HIV/AIDS, Lassa, Ebola, Tuberculosis and Malaria. She previously led two cross-continental research teams in Kenya and Germany with a vision to “Make Malaria History” through vaccination. Her work focused on vaccine candidate discovery, the identification of correlates of protection and the mechanisms that underpin protective immunity. She also aims to inspire and support the next generation of African scientists to provide the solutions that the continent urgently needs. Her work has led to international honors and prizes, including the Royal Society Pfizer Prize, the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award, and an UKRI African Research Leader Award. She is a TED Fellow, an EDCTP Senior Fellow and an official #TOGETHER BRAND Ambassador for the United Nations Global Goal 3. Faith is the current President of the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS).

Professor Dilly Anumba

Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Faculty Director of Clinical Academic Training, and Consultant subspecialist in Maternal/Fetal Medicine

University of  Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

Dilly Anumba is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Faculty Director of Clinical Academic Training, University of Sheffield, and Consultant subspecialist in Maternal/Fetal Medicine, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

He joined the University of Sheffield in 2003 as Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Obstetrics and Fetal Medicine, following research and clinical training in Newcastle University and hospitals in Yorkshire and the Northern region. He was accredited a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1999, and a subspecialist in Maternal and Fetal Medicine in 2001.

Professor Anumba maintains busy clinical, research and teaching roles. His research focuses on the biology of birth, high risk pregnancy, reproductive immunology and global health inequalities.

He is Director of the NIHR Global Health Research Group on Preterm Birth Prevention (PRIME) at the University of Sheffield, the International Representative for sub-Saharan Africa on the RCOG Council, Chair of the Selection Committee for the NIHR short placement award for research collaboration (SPARC) scheme, and member of the NIHR GHR steering committee.

Amongst other roles he also serves as a member of the college of experts of the African Research Excellence Framework (AREF), and previously on the Medical Technologies Evaluation Programme (MTEP) of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Care and Excellence (NICE).


Funding Committee





Professor Eugene Sobngwi Coordinator Specialist Training Cycle Faculty of Medicine at University of Yaoundé and Yaoundé Central Hospital

Dr Eugene Sobngwi is Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Yaoundé 1. He is Consultant Endocrinologist at Yaoundé Central Hospital. He also leads the Laboratory of Molecular Medicine and Metabolism at the Biotechnology Centre of the University of Yaounde 1.

He formerly worked in Paris, France as lecturer/registrar specialist at Paris VII Medical School and St Louis University Hospital, at the Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, and as a research fellow at the Clinical Investigation Centre of St-Louis Hospital, and INSERM U671. He also formerly held a Senior Lectureship in Epidemiology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne from 2006-2013.

Dr Sobngwi graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Yaoundé 1 with honours in 1996, and undertook specialist training in clinical Endocrinology and Diabetes in Paris, France where he also obtained his PhD in metabolism. He holds an MPhil in Non Communicable Disease Epidemiology obtained at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

His main area of expertise is epidemiology and pathophysiology of diabetes in populations of African origin, with special emphasis on ketosis-prone atypical diabetes and on the effect of fetal exposures on the risk of diabetes at adult age. He led the development of the National Strategy for Diabetes in Pregnancy in Cameroon. He is author of over 100 peer-reviewed publications.

Professor Ellis Owusu-Dabo Lecturer and Professor of Epidemiology and Global Health Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

Dr. Ellis Owusu-Dabo is a Consultant Public Health Physician, University Teacher and Researcher. As a Professor of Epidemiology and Global Health at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), his area of expertise is in Medical Epidemiology and applied public health technologies. As a university teacher, he has trained undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as mentored young faculty at both local and international levels.  

Ellis is a demonstrable, experienced and astute university administrator, ethically-sound industry leader and a research project management consultant. He is highly driven in his research interest area, mainly non-communicable diseases in low-income country settings. He also has considerable interest in population genomics of pulmonary tuberculosis. 

Ellis has secured and managed multi million United States dollar research grants from principal granting institutions such as the framework programme of the European Union, National Institutes of Health (NIH), The World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) as well as many bilateral organisations. He has travelled extensively and serves on several boards at both local and international levels, while having a massive network of individuals and organisations he works with. 

Dr Owusu-Dabo has published over 250 research articles in peer-reviewed journals. As Perelman International Scholar of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, his passion is in building capacities of next generation scientists and health systems to help solve Africa’s health problems through scientific research collaborations.

 Dr Alex Ezeh Dornsife Professor of Global Health Drexel University, Dornsife School of Public Health

Dr. Ezeh is Dornsife Professor of Global Health at the Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University. Dr. Ezeh’s work focuses on urban/slum health, population dynamics in sub-Saharan Africa, and models to strengthen knowledge-based institutions in Africa.

Previously, he served as the founding Executive Director of the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) and guided APHRC to become one of Africa’s foremost regional research centers. Dr. Ezeh also initiated and directed the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa and the African Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship programs.He serves on numerous international and non-profit boards, including the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ High-Level Advisory Board for Economic and Social Affairs.

Dr. Ezeh has contributed to several Lancet Commissions and Co-Chaired the Guttmacher Lancet Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. Dr. Ezeh received the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Royal Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s 2020 George Macdonald Medal; The World Academy of Sciences 2018 Prize for the Social Sciences; and he holds two Honorary Doctor of Science degrees from KCA University (Kenya) and University of Ibadan (Nigeria).

 Professor Kara Hanson Dean and Professor of Health System Economics
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Professor Hanson's research has focused primarily on the economics of health systems in low- and middle-income countries. She has done research on hospital sector reforms in Uganda and Zambia, focusing on the implications of two-tier pricing for equity of access to hospital services. She is interested in the role of the private sector in health systems, and in identifying the opportunities and limitations of the private sector in improving the efficiency, quality and responsiveness of health systems. This includes a particular interest in novel approaches to regulation, particularly in relation to market disruptions such as provider consolidation and epharmacy. She is also interested in health financing reforms, particularly the way that strategic purchasing can help to improve health system outcomes.

Professor Lara Fairall Professor of Global Healthcare Delivery and Director, Knowledge Translation Unit
Global Health Institute, King’s College London and University of Cape Town

Lara Fairall MBChB, PhD is a Professor of Global Healthcare Delivery at King’s College London and founding Director of the Knowledge Translation Unit (KTU) at the University of Cape Town.

The KTU has spent 20 years developing, implementing and testing symptom- and condition-based guidelines, training programmes and task-shifting initiatives to support better access and improved primary care for priority conditions like tuberculosis, HIV, NCDs, mental and child health. These programmes have been implemented at scale in South Africa and localised and implemented in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Brazil. The KTU has also worked closely to support evidence-informed responses to COVID-19 for primary care, communities, various sectors such as retail, NGOs and faith-based organisations, and helped run the Sisonke Trial which saw 480 000 South African health workers vaccinated nationally as the first phase of the country’s national roll out programme.

Dr Catherine Kyobutungi Executive Director African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), Nairobi, Kenya

Dr. Catherine Kyobutungi is the Executive Director of the African Population and Health Research Center based in Nairobi, Kenya. She previously served as the Center’s Director of Research and Head of the research Unit on Health and Systems for Health.

Dr Kyobutungi has a medical background and is a trained epidemiologist with research interests in the interface between Non-Communicable Diseases and Health Systems Strengthening. She is the co-Director of the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) – a Phd and Post-doctoral fellowship Program to strengthen the capacity of eight public Universities in Africa to produce the next generation of African research leaders.

Dr Kyobutungi is a Joep Lange Chair at the University of Amsterdam and is working on Chronic Disease Management as an entry point to make healthcare systems more responsive to NCDs in Africa. She is also a fellow of the African Academy of Sciences since 2018. Her areas of expertise are: Epidemiology, Non-communicable diseases, Research Capacity Strengthening and Policy and Public engagement

Professor Jennifer Knight-Madden  Director  

Caribbean Institute for Health Research, Sickle Cell Unit Organization, The University of the West Indies

Professor Jennifer Knight-Madden is the Director of the Sickle Cell Unit, the Caribbean Institute for Health Research, The University of the West Indies (UWI).  Professor Knight-Madden graduated from The UWI’s medical school in 1988. She completed training in Paediatrics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto) and Fellowship training in Paediatric Pulmonology at Duke University Medical Center (DUMC) in Durham, NC. She completed an MSc in Biometry (DUMC), a PhD in Clinical Research (King’s College London) and a Certificate in Implementation Science (University of California San Francisco). She is Professor of Pediatric Pulmonology and Clinical Research.

Her PhD at King’s College London examined pulmonary complications of sickle cell disease; she also has interests in newborn screening, asthma, clinical trials and implementation science.  She has published several book chapters and more than 60 papers in peer reviewed journals. She is active in the national Sickle Cell Technical Working Group (Co-Chair); the Caribbean Network of Researchers in Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassemia (Vice President); the SickKids Caribbean Initiative; Scientific Advisory Committee, Global Alliance of SCD Organizations (GASCDO); and two National Institutes of Health Data Safety Monitoring Boards for studies in Africa.

Professor Ravi Mehrotra Director and Adjunct Professor ICMR-National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research, India, and University of York and Brunel University

Professor Ravi Mehrotra is a Member of the Scientific Council of WHO-IARC. He holds an Adjunct Professorship of Epidemiology at the Emory, Brunel and York Universities. Earlier he has been the CEO of the ICMR_ICRC and also directed the ICMR-National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research as well as the WHO-FCTC Global Hub on Smokeless Tobacco. In addition to Armed Forces Medical College and Allahabad University, he has trained at the Royal College of Pathology, Johns Hopkins and Pennsylvania Universities.

He specialises in Cancer epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis and frugal innovations.

Professor Paulo Pitrez                      Head of Research Institute     
Moinhos Research Institute, Pediatric Pulmonology Division, Hospital Moinhos de Vento              

Paulo is a Professor at the Universidade Federal de Ciências da Saúde de Porto Alegre (UFCSPA). He is also a member of the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) Science Committee and the President of the Brazilian Severe Asthma Group (BraSA Group).

Dr Charan Verma Associate Professor

Giri Institute of Development Studies

Dr CS Verma is currently an Associate Professor of Development Studies and Coordinator of Public Health Research in Giri Institute of Development Studies, (GIDS)Lucknow, India. GIDS is a premier research institute focusing on the development sector.

He did his PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University (J.N.U.) New Delhi. He has been engaged in research and university teaching for two and a half decades. While he has taught at the university level both Undergraduate and Masters students, he also supervised M.Phil and PhD students and independent researchers from India and abroad.

Dr Verma has vast experience in the development sector, working with Civil Society Organisations and health movements and International Organisations on public health, gender, livelihood, nutrition, global health, equity issues, and Global development. He has led several community intervention programs ranging from women empowerment (Self Help Groups), Community awareness on education, health, and entitlements.

Dr Verma has completed more than 50 projects, including evaluations and field research studies in collaboration with national and international organisations. Some of his intervention and Action Research Projects have made a noticeable impact in the communities. He is an experienced trainer and has trained teams of rural community volunteers and young researchers. He is providing Consultancy to professional organisations as well as voluntary support to grassroots level organisations.

Dr Verma has authored three books, half a dozen chapters in edited books and scores of papers in research journals of repute. He has organised dozens of national and regional seminars and workshops and has participated in a number of international seminars as an invited speaker. Dr Verma is a member of several academic bodies. He is also associated with The Power of Nutrition, London, since February 2020 and contributed as a Visiting Fellow at I.D.S., Sussex, UK in 2019 and continues to be associated with the institute.

Professor Tazeen Jaffar Professor of Health Services & Systems Research Programme

Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore

Dr. Tazeen H. Jafar is a global health leader and expert with a focus on implementation research in hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and chronic kidney disease. She is also Professor of Health Services and Systems Research at Duke-NUS Medical School, Visiting Consultant Renal Medicine at Singapore General Hospital, Visiting Professor of Medicine, Aga Khan University, Pakistan, Adjunct Professor of Nephrology and Tufts Medical Center Boston.

Professor Jafar is the recipient of the International Society of Hypertension 2012 Boehringer Ingelheim Developing World Award. She has been leading impactful healthcare policy-relevant research funded by prestigious funding agencies including the NIH, Wellcome Trust and MRC in non-communicable diseases for almost 20 years. She is the chief principal investigator of the multi-country COBRA.

Prof Jafar is the recipient of the senior clinical scientist award from the Singapore National Medical Research Council and leads the innovative SingHypertension cluster RCT for improving management of hypertension in public sector polyclinics in Singapore. She is also the theme PI on

Prof Jafar is a member of the MRC Applied Global Health Research Board, and serves on several national and international research funding panels, and advisory committees of research and regulatory agencies. Dr Jafar mentors several trainees (MD/MS/PhD and clinical) and junior faculty. She is also a board certified practicing nephrologist.

Professor Lai-Meng Looi Distinguished Professor University of Malaya

Academician Datuk Professor Dr Lai-Meng Looi, is Malaysia’s inaugural National Distinguished Professor, positioned at  the Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya (UM).  She holds a concurrent appointment as senior consultant histopathologist at the University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC).   

Professor Looi studied medicine as a Malaysian Federal Scholar at the University of Singapore (1970-1975), where she was a medalist in Pathology and Social Medicine, and won King Edward VII Hall awards for literary works, art forms and poetry.  She trained in Surgical Pathology at UM, Royal Postgraduate Medical School (UK) and Brigham and Woman’s Hospital, Boston, (USA) and defended her research doctorate (on amyloidosis) at UM.  She assumed the Chair of Pathology, UM at the age of 36 years and during her long academic career at UM has served as Department Head, Deputy Dean (Postgraduate), Chair of the Medical Centre Research Committee, representative to the Malaysian Medical Council and Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee of UMMC.  She continues to chair the UMMC-Medical Research Ethics Committee/ Institutional Review Board and UM’s Committee for External Academic Evaluators. 

Professor Looi has more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, mainly on amyloidosis, nephropathology and oncopathology, is devoted to promoting a research and ethical culture among researchers, has delivered >500 guest lectures and conducts scientific writing workshops nationally and internationally.

Dr Benedict Weobong Senior Lecturer in Social and Behavioural Sciences & Global Mental Health Epidemiologist School of Public Health, University of Ghana

Dr Weobong has been involved in epidemiological research for the past 14 years and made considerable contributions in the field of Global Mental Health, specifically in instrument development, defining the epidemiology of perinatal depression, development and evaluation science, and behaviour change interventions. His work has been informed by the principles of global (mental) health along three strands, tied together through the innovative use of task-sharing strategies in Low- and Middle- Income settings.

He has specific expertise in psychological treatment development and evaluation, having worked on the PREMIUM Healthy Activity Program (HAP) and Counselling for Alcohol Problems (CAP) Program, and the SHARE Thinking Healthy Program Peer-Delivered (THPP). He also has experience in implementation research and digital health interventions research, including institutional capacity development strategies. His research interests are varied and span child development, adolescent health, and maternal/adult mental health and well-being.

Professor Shams El Arifeen Senior Director International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh

Shams El Arifeen is the first Senior Director of the Maternal and Child Health Division at icddr,b. Shams is also a professor at the James P. Grant School of Public Health at the BRAC University in Bangladesh, where he teaches epidemiology.He is trained in medicine, public health, nutrition and epidemiology, and have published more than 350 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals.

He has over 35 years of experience in maternal, newborn and child health, health services and health systems research, including nine years in government health services, with a focus on health interventions for developing populations. He also has extensive experience in research, and evaluations, with particular expertise in implementation research and community and facility-based evaluations of interventions and programmes. 

Professor El Arifeen has actively participated in national efforts within Bangladesh to scale up evidence-based maternal, neonatal and child health interventions and has served on a number of technical and advisory committees in Bangladesh.

Professor Vijayayalakshmi Ravindranath Director Centre For Neuroscience,
Indian Institute of Science

Professor Ravindranath is the Director at The Centre for Brain Research. Her expertise is in Neurobiology of disease with special reference to disorders of the aging brain.

Dr Ruth Nsibirano Senior Lecturer The School of Women and Gender Studies, Makerere University

Ruth Nsibirano is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Women and Gender Studies, Makerere University. Ruth holds a PhD in Gender Studies, an MA in Women Studies and an Hons Degree in Library and Information Science of Makerere University. Ruth has over twelve years’ experience in teaching of Gender. She is a competent gender trainer, gender analyst and researcher. Research interests include gender and ICT, integration of technology in teaching and learning (eLearning, distance education), Gerontology and mainstreaming gender in science and development practice.

Dr Pratima Murthy Professor and Head Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, India

Substance Use and Addictive Disorders, Human Rights, History of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy

Professor Richard Lilford Professor of Public Health University of Birmingham

Richard Lilford is Professor of Public Health at the University of Birmingham and Director of the NIHR Applied Research Centre for West Midlands. His career is in three parts. Appointed Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1984 he was ‘grandfathered’ as one of the first trainers in Foetal and Maternal medicine.

After nearly eleven years in that post he joined the civil service where spent five years before returning to the University sector. Here he held various posts such as Vice- Dean for research and Head of School. He is currently Chief Investigator on grants of over £10m covering applied health research in this country and abroad.

His passion is research methods with special emphasis on design of cluster studies, causal chains and research ethics and he is committed to a Bayesian epistemology. To his surprise and delight he was awarded a CBE and F Med Sci.

Public Committee Members

Ms Lillian Mutengu