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Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation - Call 4 Funding Committee


Published: 12 August 2021

Version: 1.0 - August 2021

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NIHR Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation (RIGHT) convenes independent committees to assess applications for funding. This document outlines the membership and expertise of the funding committee for RIGHT call 4.


 Name Position Organisation Expertise
Professor Tom Solomon Professor of Neurological Science, Director Of the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections University of Liverpool, UK Professor Tom Solomon is Director of the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections, and Chair of Neurological Science at the University of Liverpool and the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust.
He works on emerging pathogens, particularly those that affect the brain, heading the multi-disciplinary Liverpool Brain Infections Group. His group works to reduce the UK and global burden of emerging neurological infections in adults and children, including major UK and international programmes on Covid-19.
Professor Nhan Tran Head of Safety and Mobility World Health Organisation Dr Nhan Tran holds a PhD in Health Systems and Injury Prevention. He was a science advisor within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and later as a researcher at the Johns Hopkins University he co-founded the International Injury Research Unit. He joined the WHO in 2011 as the Manager of the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. In October 2017 he assumed his current role as the Head of Safety and Mobility.
Professor Jo Wilmshurst Head of Paediatric Neurology Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, University of Cape Town, South Africa Professor Jo Wilmshurst is a paediatric neurology specialist in a service providing care for children across primary to quaternary levels, for common and high burden neurological diseases in resource poor settings, as well as rare and complex disorders. She has international collaborations to improve care for children with neurological disorders, especially with ICNA and ILAE. She directs a training program (APFP) for health practitioners from African countries to develop specialized skills in paediatric disciplines.

Funding Committee

Name Position Organisation Expertise
Professor Pamela Abbott Director of the Centre for Global Development University of Aberdeen, UK Professor Abbott’s main research interests are gender, wellbeing and quality of life. She has over 20 years of experience researching in countries in the global South and is currently working on projects in Rwanda, Ethiopia and Bangladesh. Professor Abbott is a member of UKRI GCRF Strategic Advisory Group and NIHR Community Engagement and Advisory Network.
Professor Pascale Allotey (Co-chair for Stage 1) Director United Nations University International Institute for Global Health, Malaysia Professor Pascale Allotey is the Director of the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health, a position she has held since 2017. She is a nurse, midwife and public health nurse with postgraduate training in public health, anthropology and epidemiology. Her research in global health covers health equity, health and human rights, gender and social determinants of health, migration, sexual and reproductive health, tropical diseases, and non-communicable diseases, and she has published extensively on these topics. She has worked in several countries in Africa, South East Asia and in Australia. She has pioneered methodological approaches for engaging communities in research and policy processes to ensure joint ownership and partnership in health and service delivery. Her Previous positions include Professor of Global Public Health, Deputy Head of School (Research and Development), and founding Associate Director of the South-East Asia Community Observatory (SEACO), School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University (Malaysia), Professor of Race, Diversity and Professional Practice at Brunel University London, UK, and Senior Research Fellow at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Women’s Health, University of Melbourne, Australia. 
Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittah Director of the Conflict Medicine Program; Honorary Senior Lecturer, Center for Blast Injury Studies,; Visiting Senior Lecturer, Conflict & Health Research Group Global Health Institute American University of Beirut, Lebanon; Imperial College London, UK; King's College London University, UK An academic Plastic & Reconstructive surgeon with experience in war surgery both in the field in Iraq, Syria and the Gaza Strip and in a regional referral center in Beirut. Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittahs areas of expertise are on the health consequences of intense and protracted conflict from direct injury to the secondary health consequences such as cancer care and antimicrobial resistance in these regions. His work was featured by numerous newspapers and media outlets notably La Monde, The Independent, Telegraph, BBC and CNN.
Dr Mary Amuyunzu-Nyamongo (Stage 1 only) Founding Director and Technical Consultant African Institute for Health and Development, Kenya Dr Mary Amuyunzu-Nyamongo is the Founding Director and Technical Adviser to the African Institute for Health and Development (AIHD), based in Nairobi, Kenya. She has more than 30 years’ experience in Kenya and the African region, and has published widely on health and development, focusing on non-communicable diseases, HIV/AIDS, gender, youth, mothers and children under five, rural and urban poverty, and health promotion in general.Dr Amuyunzu-Nyamongo provides consultancy services for institutions such as the World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, and the Government of Kenya. She serves on international and national committees and boards, including the Independent Scientific Committee (ISC) of Agriculture for Nutrition and Health and the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) program.Dr Amuyunzu-Nyamongo holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Nairobi.
Professor Marcello Barcinski Visiting Researcher Center for Development of Health Technologies at the Fiocruz Foundation-Oswaldo Cruz Institute, Brazil MD, PhD with post-doctoral training in biophysics and immunology. Professor Marcello Barcinski’s work is mainly focused on infectious diseases, with emphasis on the understanding of immunological mechanisms defining susceptibility and resistance to parasitic diseases.
Dr Mary Chambers (Stage 2 only) Head of Public and Community Engagement  Oxford University Clinical Research Unit Vietnam (Wellcome Africa Asia Programme), Vietnam Dr Mary Chambers is an expert in public and community engagement with biomedical research, and medical entomologist (PhD).
She has worked at the OUCRU Wellcome Trust Africa Asia Programme for over 20 years. She has developed the public and community engagement programmes for the OUCRU units in Vietnam, Nepal and Indonesia. Her team work on a diverse range of engagement projects to bring community voices to issues such as AMR, vaccine uptake and snakebites. They work with a range of communities including schoolchildren and youth, farmers, healthcare workers and patients in clinical research trials. They place a strong emphasis on strengthening capacity of researchers, young science enthusiasts and health-care workers to engage with their communities. Mary’s personal interests lie in using participatory art and film to amplify community voices and bring them into conversations about biomedical research.
Professor Rakhi Dandona Professor of Health Metrics Sciences  Public Health Foundation of India, Gurugram, India;
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, USA
Professor Rakhi Dandona has over two decades of experience in generating disease burden and risk factor distribution evidence at population level using epidemiological studies, including for road traffic injuries, falls, drowning and suicide. She is the Chair of the Global Burden of Disease Study Injury Expert Group for India. Dr Dandona has over 250 publications, serves as an Associate Editor for Injury Prevention and on the Editorial Advisory Boards for Lancet Psychiatry and Lancet Public Health.
Professor Samath Dharmaratne Chair Professor of Community Medicine and Consultant Community Physician Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka Professor Samath Dhamminda Dharmaratne is the Chair Professor of Community Medicine and Consultant Community Physician at the Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya and is the Director of the Health Emergency and Disaster Management Training Centre (HEDMaTC), and the Coordinator of the Diploma in Exercise and Sport Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya. Prof. Dharmaratne has 88,811 Google scholar citations, an H-index of 59 and an i10-index of 88 to date.
Professor Lisa Dikomitis (Stage 2 only) Professor Lisa Dikomitis (Stage 2 only) Kent and Medway Medical School, University of Kent, UK Professor Lisa Dikomitis is a social anthropologist leading the global health programmes MRC-AHRC funded SOLACE ( and co-leading NIHR-funded ECLIPSE ( ) . Her methodological expertise is in qualitative and creative research methods, especially in ethnography. She works across four areas: (1) Refugees and forced migration; (2) Humanitarian and global health research; (3) Health service research and (4) Medical Education. A focus throughout her research is the socio-cultural dimensions of primary, frontline and community care. 
Dr Tsion Firew (Stage 2 only) Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Columbia University Medical Center, USA Dr Tsion Firew is Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and serves as Special Advisor to the Minister at the Ethiopian Ministry of Health. She is a board-certified emergency physician with a fellowship in Global Emergency Medicine. She is uniquely positioned to develop expertise in the intersection of clinical emergency medicine, health equity and policy. She has years of working globally in Ethiopia and Ghana, also in various humanitarian settings in Haiti and Iraq.
Professor Liz (Elizabeth) Grant (Stage 2 only) Assistant Principal and Professor of Global Health and Development University of Edinburgh, UK Research expertise in planetary health, compassion as a value base of the Sustainable Development Goals, and palliative care in a changing climate.
Professor Liz Grant is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh.
She sits on the Scottish Government NHS Global Citizenship Board, and serves on the executive of the World Federation of Academic Institutions for Global Health.
Associate Professor Li Yang Hsu Vice Dean of Global Health and Head of the Infectious Diseases Programme  Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore, Singapore Dr Li Yang Hsu is an infectious diseases physician who is currently Vice Dean of Global Health and Head of the Infectious Diseases Programme at Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore (NUS). His primary focus of research is in the area of antimicrobial resistance, and he also works on public health aspects of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases in both Singapore and the region.
Professor Joe (Joseph) Jarvis Professor of Tropical Medicine and International Health  London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK Professor Joe Jarvis is an NIHR Global Health Research Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, currently based full time in Gaborone, Botswana, where he works for the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership and leads a programme of research focusing on advanced HIV disease, opportunistic infections, cryptococcal meningitis and other CNS infections, and strategies to rapidly and safely initiate ART in individuals with low CD4 counts.
Dr  Anthea Lesch (Stage 2 only)  Senior Lecturer Stellenbosch University, South Africa Dr Anthea M. Lesch is a scholar, activist and qualitative researcher. Trained in Psychology and Public Health her research includes explorations of community engagement processes in biomedical HIV prevention research; street homelessness in urban Cape Town and the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on vulnerable and marginalised communities in South Africa. Dr Lesch has held fellowships with the Institute of Arts and Liberal Sciences at Keele University and the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study. 
Professor Kath (Kathryn) Maitland  Professor of Tropical Paediatric Infectious Diseases,  Imperial College London, UK Professor Kathryn Maitland is a Professor of Paediatric Tropical Infectious Diseases, at Imperial College, London. Over the last 20 years, Professor Maitland has been based full-time in East Africa, where she leads a research group who have highlighted the unique importance of emergency-care research as a highly targeted and cost-effective means of tackling childhood mortality in resource-limited Africa. Her most notable work, as the principal investigator, was the landmark fluid resuscitation trial (FEAST trial) which demonstrated that fluid boluses resulted in increased mortality in African children with shock. Her team recently completed the TRACT trial which tested two transfusion strategies in nearly 4000 African children that aimed to reduce deaths and illness of those hospitalised with severe anaemia. Both trial papers were published in NEJM on 1st August 2019 and are likely to lead to significant refinements to WHO transfusion guidelines and have important implications for blood transfusion services. Professor Maitland is also currently leading a large clinical trial COAST (Children Oxygenation Administration Strategies trial) and SMAART (Severe Malaria Africa – A consortium for Research and Trials) consortium.
Professor Catherine (Sassy) Molyneux Professor in Global Health; Senior Researcher University of Oxford; KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kenya Sassy is a Professor in Global Health at the University of Oxford, and a senior researcher at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kenya. She is a multidisciplinary researcher with a background in human geography and behavioural studies. Her current main research areas span health policy and systems research (system governance, financing, and responsiveness to patients and publics) and empirical ethics, including the everyday ethics of frontline health provision and of conducting studies in resource poor settings.
Professor Nelly Rwamba Mugo (Stage 2 only) Associate Research Professor Department of Global Health, University of Washington USA; Center for Clinical Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute Professor Nelly Mugo MBCH, MMED (Ob,Gyn) MPH is a reproductive health specialist, with over 27 years of clinical experience and 2 decades in clinical research. She is actively engaged in clinical trial research, with a focus on HIV and cervical cancer prevention research. She has worked on HIV and cervical cancer prevention research for over 2 decades. She was an investigator for the Partners PrEP studies that informed the change in indication for Truvada as HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis. At the Kenyatta National Hospital, she provided clinical services and trained specialists on clinical techniques for the management of cervical intraepithelial lesions for over 12 years. Dr. Mugo has conducted observational HPV studies among sex workers in Kenya, HPV vaccine trials among adolescents and is currently a Principal investigator in a study in Kenya evaluating ‘single dose HPV vaccine’ KENSHE. Dr. Mugo leads a clinical trial unit, PHRD-CCR-KEMRI, in Thika, Kenya. She is an Associate Research Professor, Department of Global Health, University of Washington and the Center for Clinical Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute.
Professor Moffat Nyirenda Professor of Medicine (Global NCDs), NCD Theme Leader  London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, Uganda  Professor Moffat Nyrienda's expertise is: Diabetologist/Endocrinologist; mechanistic understanding of the etiology of chronic NCDs in Africa, including i) investigating the association between early environmental insults and the risk of obesity, diabetes and hypertension in adulthood; ii) using cross-cutting approaches to examine the interactions between chronic infectious diseases and NCDs; Health systems research; Research capacity building in Africa.
Professor Wilson Odero Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health Maseno University, Kenya Professor Wilson Odero is a Medical Practitioner and Professor of Public Health with research experience in the field of injury epidemiology and control, focusing on road traffic crashes and injuries.
Dr Eugênia Rodrigues Former Regional Advisor on Road Safety Pan-American Health Organization Dr Eugênia Rodrigues, a national of Brazil, she is a medical doctor with a master’s and a doctorate degree in Medicine Preventive, both from the São Paulo University in Brazil.
She served as Regional Advisor on Road Safety at Pan-American Health Organization from 2005 to 2020. Prior to this position, she worked as an epidemiologist at local level before moving to the Ministry of Health in Brazil as a national coordinator of violence and injury prevention.
Dr Rahul Shidhaye Senior Research Scientist and Associate Professor of Psychiatry Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences, Loni, India Dr Rahul Shidhaye, psychiatrist and epidemiologist by training, has worked in Global Mental Health and Implementation Science for close to two decades in India and other low-and-middle income countries with a specific focus on reducing treatment gap for mental disorders by translating evidence-based treatments in ‘real-world’ settings. He is a recipient of India Alliance (Government of India-Wellcome Trust) intermediate fellowship in public health research. His work involves design and evaluation of yoga-based interventions for mental disorders.
Professor Rod Taylor Professor of Population Health Research, MRC/CSO  Social and Public Health Sciences Unit & Robertson Centre for Biostatistics, Institute of Health and Well Being, University of Glasgow, UK  Rod Taylor, MSc, PhD is Professor of Population Health Research, MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit & Robertson Centre for Biostatistics, Institute of Health and Well Being, University of Glasgow. He is an Honorary Professor of Health Services Research University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter and an Adjunct Professor at National Institute of Public Health in Copenhagen.
He leads the ACROSS project, a global research collaboration between UK and South Asia researchers and clinicians to improve global access to secondary prevention and rehabilitation services for people with heart disease. 
Ms Kirti Thapa CEI Public Contributor Nepal Kirti has lived experience of emergency care and has a really good knowledge of the health system, and various challenges which surround it particularly in rural contexts. Her background is in social sciences specialising in women's studies. Her career is focused on women and girls, including victims of human trafficking, sexual and gender violence. Kirti has worked for international organisations such as Save the Children and Oxfam, and has experience in various committee settings and influencing policy decision makers to ensure laws and policy docs are gender sensitive and inclusive. Her current role involves working in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme.
Professor Neil Thomas (Stage 2 only) Regional Director; Professor of Epidemiology and Research Methods NIHR Research Design Service West Midlands; Institute of Applied Health Research of the College of Medical and Dental Sciences, The University of Birmingham, UK Professor Neil Thomas has an international research portfolio investigating in the fields of cardiometabolic disease epidemiology, prevention and control with a particular focus on atrial fibrillation, air pollution and lifestyle exposures (ORCID ID: 0000-0002-2777-1847). He is the Co-Director of the NIHR Global Health Group on Atrial Fibrillation Management. He has an H-index of 68 with >18,000 citations (Google Scholar), and is involved in over £35 million in funding (over £13M as PI). Professor Thomas has an active teaching role in under- and postgraduate studies. He is the Co-Director, Master of Health Research Methods (HRM) Programme. 
Ms Mable Tomusange CEI Public Contributor Uganda Mable was involved in a road traffic incident some years ago and has a good understanding of the health system and barriers to access. Also experience in community project management roles relating to both road safety and early years injuries. Mable’s current role is on a project which aims to improve road safety for school children - the project won an award by designing a solution for a particular incident with local communities and policy makers which significantly reduced the deaths of school children.
Mable has been working with school children closely and brings the youth perspective to this committee role. She is also a part of the UN Global road safety committee and a national road safety board, and has been involved in a Ministry of Health task committee on emergency medicine. Previously, she worked for an INGO SafeKids Worldwide for 14 years and was involved in activities from conducting research, hospital based injury surveillance, community programming, implementation and monitoring.