Louise obtained her PhD in Arbovirus epidemiology from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research/The University of Queensland in 2002. She moved to in the UK and USA to work on a range of post-doctoral projects between 2003-2009, examining the epidemiology and ecology of parasitic, filarial, arboviral and bacterial diseases at the Vector Group, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK and the Division of International Epidemiology and Population Studies (DIEPS), Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, USA.
In 2009, she joined the Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases (CNTD) as a Scientific Programme Manager responsible for operational research projects in endemic countries to support the evidence base for the lymphatic filariasis (LF) elimination strategy. In 2015, her role changed to Head of Monitoring and Evaluation Operational Research at CNTD, which involves the design, development and management of innovative surveillance strategies and operational research activities across the 12 project countries in Africa and Asia.
CNTD - DFID funding for the elimination of LF as a public health problem
As part of CNTD’s funding from DFID, my research is centred on the WHO Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) two main goals to eliminate LF, which include the implementation of mass drug administration (MDA) to interrupt transmission, and morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP) to alleviate the suffering of affected populations. Together with the CNTD team I have developed a suite of operational research priority areas that are intrinsically linked to the GPELF goals and conducted across the 12 project countries in close collaboration with the Ministries of Health and research institute partners. These priority areas are outlined in the table below and encompass a range of field-based initiatives, including evaluating the impact of vector control, developing real-time reporting tools to enhance MDA and drug logistics, mapping hot-spots of disease, assessing the access to health services and impact of care, and linking post-MDA and MMDP activities for enhanced surveillance. The research is conducted using a variety of survey and information tools available in the Mhealth format, and include questionnaires, SMS mobile phones, and Smartphone apps - with GIS mapping as a cross-cutting tool used in all the research.
My research interests also include the development of novel high resolution ecological mapping methods to detect and control filarial infections and vectors in Central and West Africa. This work is important as the distribution of the filarial infection Loa loa (also known as loiasis or tropical eye worm) is a significant impediment to the onchocerciasis and LF elimination programme, due to the potential risk of severe adverse events (SAEs) associated with the drug ivermectin during MDA.
The work started with funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is conducted in collaboration with partners from the University of South Florida, USA, and the Centro de Investigação em Saúde (CISA) and Ministry of Health, Angola.
We have also undertaken an extensive review of the Chrysops spp., the vector responsible for Loa loa transmission and developed an integrated filarial micro-mapping method, which has been expanded to co-endemic areas in Nigeria with collaborators from the University of Ibadan.
I teach on several modules and short courses at LSTM with the primary focus on topics related to disease control strategies for NTDs. Since 2010 I have supervised and co-supervised 12 MSc students on a variety of field and desk-based research projects with topics relating to micro-mapping hypo-endemic onchocerciasis hotspots and alternative strategies in high risk LOA LOA areas of Central Africa, feasibility of integrating LF and leprosy MMDP in Nepal, LF morbidity mapping and socio-economic factors in Malawi; barriers to control and eliminate LF in Zanzibar; insecticide resistance in LF Culex vectors on Zanzibar; integrated risk mapping of LF and loiasis in Nigeria, poverty indicators of NTDs in Nigeria, spatial patterns of human biomass and mosquito species abundance in rural Tanzania; distribution and incrimination of LF Culex vectors in Dar es Salaam, and the use of human-baited and calf-baited tent traps for surveillance in Tanzania.
Current PhD Students:
Currently I am primary supervisor to four PhD students who are conducting research on
i) risk factors for better control and surveillance of LF in Papua New Guinea
ii) the extent of lymphoedema and home-based morbidity management in LF endemic areas of Bangladesh, iii) vector competence and filarial transmission in Mali &
iv) impact of vector control for malaria on LF in Tanzania.
I am also co-supervisor to three PhD students working on a range of NTDs in Fiji (STH, LF), Angola (LF, Onchocerciasis, Loa loa) and Zambia (STH, Schistosomiasis, LF).
Previously, I co-supervised three PhD students working on projects in Tanzania (malaria) and Uganda (trypanosomiasis).
- Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
- American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
- Editorial Board of the journal Parasites and Vectors
- Loa loa Scientific Working Group, Mectizan Donation Program