The Expert Network

Chiara Azzari, MD, PhD

Director of Clinical Paediatrics
Associate Professor of Paediatrics
University of Florence
Meyer Children’s Hospital
Florence, Italy


Professor Chiara Azzari is director of clinical paediatrics and associate professor of paediatrics at the University of Florence in Florence, Italy. She received her degree in medicine and surgery from the University of Florence, where she later specialized in allergy and clinical immunology. She also earned a research doctorate in medical science of developmental age in University of Pavia. She worked as a physician researcher at the Asthma and Allergy Center in Seattle, WA; the Department of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the University of Washington in Seattle; the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle; and the Medizinische Hochschule Hannover in Germany.

A member of the Italian Society of Pediatrics and the Italian Society of Pediatric Allergology and Immunology (SIAIP), Professor Azzari is a board member of the Italian Society of Preventive and Social Pediatrics and a member of SIAIP’s Vaccination Committee. In addition, she serves as a member of Gruppo di Studio per le Immuno-deficienze Primitive (IPINET), an Italian Primary Immunodeficiency Network, the National Vaccination Committee of Italy, the Italian Health Ministry for the Italian Medicines Agency and vaccination safety, and a member of the Tuscany Regional Commission on Vaccination.

Paolo Bonanni, MD

Department of Health Sciences
University of Florence
Florence, Italy


Paolo Bonanni is a full professor of hygiene in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Florence in Florence, Italy, a position he has held since 2000. From 2011 to 2019, he was also director of the Specialisation School for MDs in Hygiene and Preventive Medicine at the University of Florence.

Professor Bonanni’s scientific activities have covered the epidemiology and prevention of infectious diseases, particularly viral hepatitis, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza, measles, rubella, varicella, and, most recently, bacterial invasive diseases and human papillomavirus (HPV), including clinical trials and economic evaluation of vaccination strategies. He is the author or coauthor of 300 scientific papers, published in international and national journals.

Professor Bonanni was previously a member of the European Technical Group of Experts (ETAGE) at WHO/Europe in Copenhagen, Denmark. He continues to collaborate with WHO/Europe and ETAGE on specific projects and is currently a member of the Committee for the Verification of Hepatitis B Control. He is a standing advisor for the Viral Hepatitis Prevention Board, an international independent committee of experts in viral hepatitis prevention, and for the Human HPV Prevention Board, an international independent committee of experts on HPV prevention. He has received several grants from the Italian Ministry of University and the Italian Ministry of Health (Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) on projects related to vaccine-preventable infections. He has been the research unit leader for 4 projects funded by the European Union (EU) on vaccination and presently coordinates the University of Florence Unit, one of the main partners in the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative on brand-specific influenza vaccination effectiveness named DRIVE (Development of Robust Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness). He has been a member of the National Vaccination Commission of the Italian Ministry of Health, and he acts as an expert consultant for the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, based in Stockholm, Sweden.

Louis Bont, MD, PhD

Department of Paediatrics
Wilhelmina Children's Hospital
Medical Center Utrecht
Utrecht, the Netherlands


Louis Bont is a paediatric infectiologist/immunologist at the Medical Center Utrecht in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and founding chairman of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus Network (ReSViNET), an international respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) research consortium.

Dr Bont’s specific research interests are the pathogenesis of RSV and the burden of disease, including the role of neutrophils in the origin and development of the disease; RSV-related mortality; and long-term airway disease following RSV infection. His research is focused on clinical and translational mechanisms of disease and identification of targets for intervention of RSV bronchiolitis, and he is the principal investigator of the INFORM study, a large prospective global clinical virology study to unravel the molecular epidemiology of RSV in about 4000 children. He has been the lead author of about 200 publications in peer-reviewed medical journals.

Dr Bont is one of the co-leads of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus Consortium in Europe (RESCEU), whose goal is to define the RSV burden of disease in Europe. He leads the RSV GOLD mortality registry, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and his group collaborates with the World Health Organization on RSV surveillance and vaccine development. He is chairman of the Institutional Review Board at the University Medical Center Utrecht and the founder of Training Upcoming Leaders in Pediatric Science (TULIPS), a career training network in the Netherlands for clinician scientists in the field of child health.

Ron Dagan, MD

The Pediatric Infectious Disease Unit
Soroka University Medical Center
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Beer Sheva, Israel


Ron Dagan, MD, is professor of pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva, Israel. He is the founder of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Unit in the Department of Pediatrics at Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva and served as its director for more than 25 years. He earned his MD degree from the Hebrew University–Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem, Israel, and subsequently completed a 3-year fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY, USA.

Professor Dagan’s research has been focused largely on vaccine-preventable diseases, with particular emphasis on the development of pneumococcal vaccines; the understanding of hepatitis A epidemiology and introduction of hepatitis A vaccines; the epidemiology of respiratory infections in children; clinical aspects of vaccination against antibiotic-resistant pneumococci; the pathology of otitis media; the role of resistant organisms in otitis media and prediction of bacteriological response to various antibiotics; and the epidemiology and prevention of enteric and invasive infections in young children. He has contributed over 500 original articles, reviews, and book chapters in the areas of his expertise.

In the course of his career, Professor Dagan has held leadership roles on various national and international advisory committees and in medical and scientific associations. He has served as an advisor for infectious diseases at the Israeli Ministry of Health, as chair of the Advisory Committee for Infectious Diseases of the Israeli Society of Pediatrics, and on the Israeli National Advisory Committee on Infectious Diseases and Immunization. A founding member of the World Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (WSPID) and a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), he has been involved in the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group on Pneumococcal Nasopharyngeal Carriage and the WHO Pneumonia Radiology Working Group.

Susanna Esposito, MD

Full Professor of Pediatrics
Director of Pediatric Clinic, Pietro Barilla Children’s Hospital
Director of Specialization School in Pediatrics
Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma
Parma, Italy


Professor Susanna Esposito, MD, is director of the Pediatric Clinic in the Department of Medicine and Surgery at the University Hospital of Parma in Parma, Italy, and a full professor of pediatrics at the University of Parma.

Professor Esposito earned her degree in medicine from the University of Milan, where she subsequently completed postgraduate studies in pediatrics and infectious diseases. Her clinical and research interests have been focused on pediatric respiratory tract infections, vaccines, antibiotic therapy, and emerging infections. Publications include more than 200 articles in international journals.

Over the years, Professor Esposito has been involved in many national and international initiatives. She is the founder and current president of the World Association for Infectious Diseases and Immunological Disorders (WAidid). She has served as president of the commission of the World Health Organization for the eradication of measles and congenital rubella and as chair of the vaccine study group of the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. She is a member of the Pneumonia Innovations Network, the Steering Group on Influenza Vaccination for increasing immunization coverage across Europe, and the Global Pneumonia Prevention Coalition.


NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility
University of Southampton
Southampton, UK


Saul Faust is professor of paediatric immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Southampton in Southampton, United Kingdom; director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Southampton Clinical Research Facility; and clinical director of the Wessex Local Clinical Research Network. He is also clinical academic lead and co-investigator for the University of Southampton–hosted National Biofilms Innovation Centre, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Innovate UK.

Professor Faust’s clinical research projects bridge the clinical-laboratory interface, developing local and national collaborative clinical trials in paediatric infectious diseases and conducting early- and late-phase paediatric and adult trials of vaccines and antimicrobial therapeutics.

Professor Faust has chaired the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline committees for sepsis in children and adults and for Lyme disease. He is a member of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Technology Programme Commissioning Board and the national paediatric immunology and infectious diseases representative to the National Health Service England Paediatric Medicine Clinical Reference Group for national specialist commissioning. Currently, his research interests have included COVID-19, and he is chair of the RECOVERY trial paediatric working group, the UK Clinical Research Facilities lead for joint COVID-19 research delivery, a member of the NIHR Urgent Public Health Committee, and deputy chair of the NIHR Restart Implementation Group. Professor Faust is a fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the UK Higher Education Academy.

Fernando Fariñas Guerrero, PhD

Institute of Clinical Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Málaga, Spain


Fernando Fariñas Guerrero has a PhD in Immunology and Infectious Diseases and holds national and international certificates and master’s degrees in Vaccinology, Medical Virology, Animal Virology, Tropical Medicine, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Leprology and Public Health. He is currently Director of the Institute of Clinical Immunology and Infectious Diseases in Málaga, Spain, and President of the Spanish Association “Ynmun” for the study of infectious diseases, immunoinfectiology and vaccines. He is also an associate researcher in Virology, Vaccinology, Immunoinfectiology, Emerging Infections and Zoonosis for the Microbiology Department, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Málaga, and coordinates GEIVI (Group of Infectious Diseases, Vaccines and Immunoinfectiology) and the INMUNOVAC PROJECT at the same institution.

Prof. Fariñas Guerrero has been responsible for numerous doctoral programmes, seminars and master courses for institutions such as the Carlos III Institute and Hospital, the Universities of Córdoba, Zaragoza, Murcia, Rey Juan Carlos and CEU, University of Málaga. He is a member of several national and international scientific and medical societies, including the European Group of Climate Change and Emerging Infectious Diseases, an International Coordinator of ZEIG (Zoonotic and Emerging Infectious Diseases Group), Global Director at the One-HealthIN corporation and an Ambassador for the Spanish Society of Immunology.

Prof. Fariñas Guerrero is the main author of numerous articles and 15 books in Immunology, Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology. He has received numerous awards at national and international level throughout his professional career.

Egbert Herting, PhD

Department of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine
University Medical Centre Schleswig-Holstein
Campus Lübeck
Lübeck, Germany


Egbert Herting is director of the Department of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine at the University Medical Centre Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Lübeck in Lübeck, Germany. He studied medicine in Münster, Germany, and Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom, and graduated from the University of Göttingen in Göttingen, Germany. He later earned his PhD from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, before taking up a full professorship at the University of Göttingen. He specialises in neonatology, paediatric intensive care, paediatric pulmonology, and paediatric infectious diseases and has authored or coauthored publications on respiratory syncytial virus.

Professor Herting’s main research interests have been centered on neonatology and infectious diseases in children. He is a board member of the German Research Council, as well as various international specialist organisations, such as the European Society of Paediatric Neonatal Intensive Care (ESPNIC), and parent organisations, for example, the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI).

Silke Mader

European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants
Munich, Germany


Silke Mader is Chairwoman of the Executive Board and co-founder of European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI), and co-editor of various EFCNI Benchmarking Reports. Her professional background began in primary education, mainly focusing on the linguistic support of migrant children and remedial educational theory. Since 2014 Silke Mader has been an Honorary Lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Silke Mader and her team work toward improving newborn health and in particular towards providing high-quality treatment and care to preterm infants, ill newborns and their families, resulting in lower short- and long-term health complications and a considerable reduction in healthcare costs. She leads a novel interdisciplinary European project including health professionals, parents, and representatives from the business and government sectors as well as other non-government organizations to develop and implement unprecedented high-quality standards of care for newborn infants.

In 2012 Silke Mader was awarded the “Prix Courage” by ZDF television programme “ML mona lisa” in cooperation with the cosmetics company Clarins. 2013 she received the Medal for Particular Services to Bavaria in a United Europe. Since 2014 she is Honorary Lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland. In 2015, Silke Mader has been awarded as social entrepreneur and Ashoka Fellow and in 2016 she received the Bavarian State Medal for Services concerning Health and Long-term Care.

Paolo Manzoni, MD, PhD

Director, Department of Maternal-Infant Health
New University Hospital “Degli Infermi”
Biella, Italy


Paolo Manzoni has been coordinator of the Italian Society of Neonatal Infectious Diseases, affiliated with the Italian Society of Neonatology in Italy, for the past 12 years. He is also a founding board member of the international respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) research consortium Respiratory Syncytial Virus Network (ReSViNET).

Dr Manzoni earned his medical degree, specialising in paediatrics, from the University of Turin School of Medicine in Turin, Italy, and completed his residency in paediatric pulmonology and a fellowship in infectious diseases and immunology at the Azienda Ospedaliera OIRM – Sant’Anna in Turin. He remained there as a member of the faculty staff in the Division of Neonatology and the neonatal intensive care unit until 2018, when he became head of the Department of Paediatrics and Neonatology and professor of paediatrics and neonatology at the Academic Hospital Degli Infermi.

Dr Manzoni’s primary research interests include paediatric and neonatal infectious diseases, fungal infections and prevention, human milk bioactive nutrients, RSV- related diseases, retinopathy of prematurity, and neonatal nutrition. He was the lead investigator of the first multicentre clinical trial of prophylactic fluconazole in preterm neonates, as well as of the first international multicentre clinical trial of probiotic and lactoferrin feeding in preterm neonates, and a co-investigator of the first multicentre clinical trial of prophylactic nirsevimab to prevent RSV morbidity in preterm neonates. He was lead investigator of a European project on fluconazole and ciprofloxacin in neonates funded by the European Union (EU) in accordance with the European Medicines Agency (EMA), acting as WP leader in the Treat Infections in Neonates (TINN) consortium; he is also involved in several other EU-funded research consortiums devoted to the study of antimicrobial drugs for neonates (NeoMero, NeoVanc).

Dr Manzoni has served on the Board of Directors of the Italian Society of Neonatology, the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, and the World Association of Perinatal Medicine. He is an associate member of the American Society for Pediatric Research and the Italian Society of Neonatology and Paediatrics. He is also an external consultant for paediatrics and neonatology for the Italian Drug Agency (AIFA) and for the Paediatric Committee of the EMA. He is co-founder of the Charity and Scientific Foundation Crescere Insieme al Sant’Anna.

Dr Manzoni is the author of approximately 200 research articles published in peer- reviewed Italian and international medical journals, and an editor or associate editor of several leading international peer-reviewed journals.

Federico Martinon-Torres, MD, PhD

Head of Pediatrics
Director of Translational Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases
Hospital Clinico Universitario de Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela, Spain


Federico Martinón-Torres, a pediatrician and clinical researcher, is coordinator and head of paediatrics and director of translational paediatrics and infectious diseases (Best ID Unit of Spain 2018, 2019, and 2020) at the Hospital Clínico Universitario de Santiago de Compostela in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and associate professor in paediatrics at the University of Santiago. He currently serves as a member of the European Technical Advisory Group of Experts (ETAGE) of WHO/Europe and coordinates the WHO collaborating centre for vaccine safety in Santiago de Compostela.

Professor Martinón-Torres graduated from the University of Santiago and completed his medical training at Hope Children’s Hospital and at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, USA, before earning a PhD on the application of heliox in infants with bronchiolitis (national PhD prize). He has received more than 25 prizes and awards for his academic achievements, including Best National Graduate in Medicine and Surgery and Best National Resident of all subspecialties.

Professor Martinón-Torres has published over 300 articles (impact factor >2300 [JCR2020]), 7 books, and 130 book chapters. His main research interests are vaccines, infectious diseases, bronchiolitis, meningococcal disease, SARS-CoV-2, and pneumococcal disease. He has served as principal investigator on more than 40 competitive research projects, 100 phase 1 to 3 vaccine clinical trials, and 15 collaborative grants related to infectious diseases and genomics, including 2 FP7 (EUCLIDS and PREPARE), 4 H2020 (PoC-ID, ZIKAction, PERFORM, and DIAMONDS), and 3 IMI-2 (RESCEU, C4C, and PROMISE) projects. He is a member of over 30 consultative and expert advisory boards on meningococcal diseases, pneumococcus, respiratory syncytial virus (ReSVinet), rotavirus, and human papillomavirus and over 20 professional/academic international societies.

Professor Martinón-Torres coordinates the Genetics, Vaccines, Infectious Diseases and Pediatrics Research Group (GENVIP, of the Healthcare Research Institute of Santiago, the Clinical Network of the PERFORM and DIAMONDS consortia, the National Network on Meningococcal Disease (ESIGEM,, the national Research Network on Respiratory Infections (GENDRES,, the Galician Pediatric Research Network (ReGALIP,, Pneumoexperts (NEP,, the Translational Research Network in Pediatric Infectious Diseases (, and the Spanish Pediatric Clinical Trials Network (RECLIP,

Asuncion Mejias, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Pediatrics; Principal Investigator
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Columbus, Ohio


Doctor Asuncion Mejias received her MD and PhD degrees from Universidad de Málaga, Spain, and completed her fellowship in Pediatric Infectious Diseases and a Master in Clinical Science at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in the United States. Dr Mejias is Principal Investigator for the Center for Vaccines and Immunity at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, attending physician in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Dr. Mejías’ research focuses on the pathogenesis of airway and respiratory viral diseases, and she has been recognized with several awards for her research, specifically those pertaining to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. She is also a member of several professional organizations and serves as external reviewer and consultant for different organizations including the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP/CDC), or the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She has contributed with more than 180 publications including original articles, reviews, editorials and book chapters.

Terry Nolan, MBBS, PhD

The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity
University of Melbourne and
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Professor Terry Nolan, MBBS, PhD, an epidemiologist, pediatrician, and public health physician, is Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor at the University of Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia, and head of the Vaccine and Immunisation Research Group (VIRGo), a collaboration between Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at the University of Melbourne.

Professor Nolan obtained his MBBS degree from the University of Western Australia in Perth. He trained in pediatrics at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne and the Montreal Children’s Hospital in Montreal, Canada, earning a PhD in epidemiology and biostatistics from McGill University in Montreal.

Professor Nolan’s primary area of research has been vaccine-preventable diseases, including epidemiologic studies and clinical trials of new vaccines. He has more than 220 publications in refereed journals, including The Lancet and JAMA.

A fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Australian Faculty of Public Health Medicine, Professor Nolan has held a variety of national and international leadership and advisory positions. He has served as chair of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation and deputy chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Research Committee. In addition, he has served as a member of the World Health Organization’s Strategic Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE). The Australian government has recognized his achievements with an appointment to the Order of Australia.

Marta Nunes, PhD

Vaccines & Infectious Diseases Analytics
(Wits-VIDA) Research Unit
University of Witwatersrand
Johannesburg, South Africa


Dr Marta Nunes is a reader, associate professor, at the Vaccines & Infectious Diseases Analytics (VIDA) Research Unit of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Dr Nunes developed her PhD work in the Department of Neurology and Neuroscience at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York, NY, USA, and obtained her PhD from the University of Lisbon Medical College in Lisbon, Portugal. After her post-doctoral training at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, she moved to South Africa.

Dr Nunes’s latest research has been focused on reducing under-5 childhood morbidity and mortality from leading causes of death, including the evaluation of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines in high human papillomavirus–burden settings, clinical and molecular epidemiology of respiratory viral–associated pneumonia, and immunisation of pregnant women. She is particularly interested in the biology and epidemiology of respiratory syncytial virus, specifically the disease burden and the need for future vaccines.

Ultan Power, PhD

Professor of Molecular Virology
Department of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences
Queen’s University
Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom


Dr Ultan Power is professor of molecular virology at Queen's University Belfast (QUB) in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. He holds a PhD degree in virology/microbiology from University College Cork in Cork, Ireland.

Dr Power’s research has been focused on the study of the pathogenesis of human respiratory viruses and viral vaccine vectors, particularly respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) pathogenesis and how RSV can be prevented by vaccines or treated with drugs. In partnership with Professor Michael Shields of the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine at QUB, he is engaged in research of RSV, one of the main causes of severe acute lung disease (bronchiolitis) in young infants worldwide. Following the award of a UK Research and Innovation grant, Dr Power and his team will now direct their efforts to screening existing drugs for activity against COVID-19.

Dr Power is the recipient of the QUB Postgraduate Supervisory Excellence Award. Several of his students have received top prizes for oral and/or poster presentations at local, national, and international scientific meetings, including Dr Lindsay Broadbent, who was awarded the 2016 Sir Howard Dalton Young Microbiologist of the Year Award from the Microbiology Society for work undertaken during her PhD studies.

Octavio Ramilo, MD

Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Henry G. Cramblett Chair in Medicine
Professor of Pediatrics
The Ohio State University College of Medicine
Columbus, Ohio, USA


Octavio Ramilo is the Henry G. Cramblett Chair in Medicine and professor of paediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, Ohio; chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, also located in Columbus; and principal investigator for the Center for Vaccines and Immunity at the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Professor Ramilo obtained his medical degree from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain, and completed his paediatric residency at the Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid. He subsequently went on to complete a paediatric infectious disease fellowship at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

Professor Ramilo has been involved in translational and clinical research related to the role of the host immune response in pathogenesis of infectious diseases for over 30 years. His current research is focused on the pathogenesis and treatment of respiratory infections, especially respiratory syncytial virus, and the application of genomics and system analysis tools for improving diagnosis and understanding of host responses to infectious agents and vaccines.

Fernanda Rodrigues, MD, PhD

Director of Paediatric Emergency Service and Infectious Diseases Unit
Hospital Pediátrico, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra
University of Coimbra School of Medicine
Coimbra, Portugal


Dr Fernanda Rodrigues is director of the Paediatric Emergency Service and Infectious Diseases Unit at Hospital Pediátrico, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra in Coimbra, Portugal, and a professor at the University of Coimbra School of Medicine. A graduate of the University of Coimbra Medical School, she trained in paediatrics at Coimbra Children’s Hospital and at King’s College Hospital in London, United Kingdom. She also served as the clinical lead of the Paediatric Infectious Disease Unit and Infection Control Team.

Dr Rodrigues’s research is focused on the epidemiology of vaccine-preventable diseases (particularly rotavirus, pneumococcus, and meningococcus), on the biology of colonisation and transmission of infections and how these are affected by vaccines, and, more recently, on the development of molecular methods to study these phenomena in the context of naturally acquired and live-attenuated vaccine­induced infection.

Dr Rodrigues has served as a board member of the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases, as well as a member of the society’s Committee for Education. In addition, she has served as president of the Portuguese Paediatric Infectious Diseases Society and as president of the Portuguese Society of Paediatrics.

Renato T. Stein, MD, MPH, PhD

Centro Infant, Department of Pediatrics School of Medicine
Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS)
Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil


Renato T. Stein, MD, MPH, PhD, is a professor at the School of Medicine of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS) in Porto Alegre, Brazil, as well as head of the medical school’s Pediatric Specific Training Center in the Pediatric Respiratory Service.

Professor Stein received his medical education at PUCRS and completed a residency at Hospital São Lucas of PUCRS. He subsequently completed a fellowship in the Pediatric Pulmonary Service at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, ON, Canada, and later was a research fellow in Tucson, AZ, USA, working at the University of Arizona on the Children’s Respiratory Study and earning a master’s in public health epidemiology. In addition, he earned a PhD in pulmonology from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre.

Professor Stein’s research interests are focused on respiratory diseases, particularly the relationship between respiratory viruses and recurrent wheeze, asthma phenotypes, the impact of the environment on respiratory health, and respiratory diseases of preterm infants, and he has actively engaged in epidemiological and intervention. 

Maria Tsolia, MD

Professor of Paediatics and Paediatric Infectious Diseases
Chair of the Second Department of Paediatrics
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Athens, Greece


Dr Maria Tsolia is professor of paediatrics and paediatric infectious diseases at the University of Athens in Athens, Greece, where she was recently appointed as chair of the Second Department of Paediatrics.

Dr Tsolia graduated from the Medical School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She then trained in paediatrics at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, NJ, USA.  She concluded her specialty training in paediatric infectious disease with a fellowship at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ, and at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. She has been with the Second Department of Paediatrics at the University of Athens since the completion of her training, devoting her time to patient clinical care, teaching, and research. Her special scientific interest is the epidemiology of vaccine-preventable infectious diseases, respiratory infections, and tuberculosis. She has coauthored more than 145 publications in international peer-reviewed journals.

Dr Tsolia has served as board member and secretary of the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases. A founding member of the Paediatric Tuberculosis Network European Trials Group, she is secretary and founding member of the Hellenic Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases and chair of the Hospitals Infection Control Committee, as well as a member of the National Committee for Tuberculosis Control and Prevention.

Catherine Weil-Olivier, MD, PhD

Professor of Pediatrics, Paris VII University
Former Head, Department of General Pediatrics, Assistance Publique
Hôpitaux de Paris
Paris, France


Catherine Weil-Olivier has been professor of paediatrics at the Paris VII University in Paris, France, since 1989. She has also served as head of the Department of General Paediatrics at Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris (Hôpital Louis-Mourier in Colombes, Hauts-de-Seine, France).

Professor Weil-Olivier has spent more 2 decades working in the field of vaccinology. She was an expert for the French Drug Agency (AFSSAPS, now ANSM), working in the technical group for the registration of vaccines, antibiotics, and antivirals. She has served as a core member of the European Medicines Agency Vaccines Working Party and as a member of the national French Technical Committee on Vaccination. She has also been a member of the National Committee Against Influenza and involved in several working groups on vaccination for vaccine-preventable diseases at Direction Générale de la Santé of the French Ministry of Health. At the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), she has served as an expert to working groups for influenza immunisation and the harmonisation of vaccine schedules and has been an observer for the European Vaccination Advisory Group. She has been a member of several French paediatric groups, working in vaccinology and influenza, and was involved in the coordination of a vaccinology state-of-the-art project with Alcimed and the French Senate.

Professor Weil-Olivier has contributed more than 200 international publications in the field of paediatric infectious diseases.

Heather Zar, MBBCh, PhD

Chair, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health
Red Cross Children’s Hospital
Director, SAMRC Unit on Child and Adolescent Health
University of Cape Town
Cape Town, South Africa


Heather Zar, MBBCh, PhD, is professor of pediatrics and chair of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in Cape Town, South Africa, as well as director of UCT’s MRC Unit on Child and Adolescent Health.

After earning her MBBCh degree, specializing in pediatrics, Professor Zar went on to complete 3 years of subspecialist training in pediatric pulmonology at Babies Hospital (now Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital) at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City, USA. She then returned to South Africa and earned her PhD while working at UCT.

Professor Zar’s work, encompassing research, clinical care, education, and advocacy, has focused on child lung health, particularly pneumonia, tuberculosis, asthma, and HIV- and AIDS-related lung disease. She is principal investigator of the multiyear birth cohort Drakenstein Child Health Study to investigate the epidemiology, etiology, and risk factors for lower respiratory illnesses and their effects on child health. She is the author or coauthor of more than 300 articles published in high-impact journals, and she has received numerous research grants from such leading international funding agencies as the US National Institutes of Health, the Bill & Melissa Gates Foundation, and the British Wellcome Trust.

Professor Zar has held many leadership positions in international organizations. She has served as president of the Pan African Thoracic Society and of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies, as well as an advisor to the World Health Organization. She has been honored with numerous awards for her achievements, most recently with the L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science international award.