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CAPT John Iskander, a board certified pediatrician, is Senior Medical Consultant with CDC’s Office of the Associate Director for Science. CAPT Iskander previously served as the Acting Director and Associate Director for Science for CDC’s Immunization Safety Office. He has co-authored CDC’s annual influenza vaccine recommendations multiple times and has been first author on several manuscripts related to pandemic influenza planning and vaccine safety monitoring.
Dr Benjamin John COWLING
After graduating with a PhD in statistics from the University of Warwick, Ben Cowling spent a year at Imperial College London before moving to the University of Hong Kong in 2004. He is currently Professor and head of the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health at the University of Hong Kong, which is a WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control, and a member of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is an Editor of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, a Senior Editor of Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, and a Section Editor of PLoS ONE. He was awarded a Croucher Senior Research Fellowship in 2015. He conducts research into the epidemiology of influenza and other respiratory viruses. His research team has characterized how easily seasonal and pandemic influenza viruses can spread in households, and the effectiveness of measures to reduce the risk of infection and transmission. His recent research has focused on the immune responses to repeated influenza vaccination in older adults, and the complex transmission dynamics of respiratory viruses. In 2013 he assisted China CDC with the public health research response to the avian influenza A(H7N9) virus outbreak, characterizing the clinical severity and epidemiologic characteristics of human infections. He has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed journal publications.
Dr. Danuta Skowronski is Epidemiology Lead responsible for surveillance, rapid response research and program/policy recommendations for Influenza and Emerging Respiratory Pathogens at the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). She has been recognized for her notable contributions around several major public health events such as SARS, avian influenza, the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, enterovirus D68 and for regular expert guidance around seasonal influenza—an annual re-emerging pathogen. Dr. Skowronski is credited with having pioneered the test-negative design (TND), an epidemiological innovation for monitoring how well the annually reformulated influenza vaccine protects each year. The TND was recognized by Accreditation Canada in 2015 as an Innovative Leading Practice and has since revolutionized global capacity to monitor influenza vaccine benefits. Adopted by multiple countries worldwide, TND findings are now used twice each year by the World Health Organization to inform influenza vaccine strain selection in both hemispheres. Dr. Skowronski has more than 130 publications, primarily related to influenza, and has participated in numerous provincial, national, and international expert advisory committees. She is regularly sought by the media for her thoughtful, calm and clear communication on influenza and other emerging pathogen issues. Among her various recognitions and distinctions, Dr. Skowronski has received Awards of Excellence for contribution to Public Health from the BC Provincial Health Officer, and for contribution to Quality of Life from the BC Pharmacy Association. She was named Woman of Distinction in delivering the 15th Hycroft Lecture for the University of BC's Women's Club of Vancouver. In 2007, she was recipient of the University of BC President's Award for Public Education through Media and in 2010, the Vancouver SUN similarly recognized Dr. Skowronski, naming her among the 100 most influential women of BC. In 2011, she was awarded the James M. Robinson Award by the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine for her significant contributions to public health and in 2015 her team was recognized for providing Excellence through Knowledge in receiving the Provincial Health Service Authority (PHSA) + Award.In 2016, the Georgia Straight featured Dr. Skowronski among five leading women making a difference in the health of Vancouver residents. Dr. Skowronski completed her medical degree and family medicine training at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and completed a Master's of Health Sciences degree and a Fellowship in Community Medicine at the University of British Columbia. She is further certified with the American Board of Preventive Medicine and completed additional training with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She worked for several years as an associate Medical Health Officer in Surrey, BC gaining practical experience in public health before joining the BCCDC in 1998 to pursue her interests in surveillance, applied public health research and policy development.
Maria Sundaram is an infectious disease epidemiologist whose work has focused on vaccine-preventable diseases, including influenza and meningococcal meningitis, as well as the interaction between vaccine immunogenicity and macro- and micronutrition. Her interests lie in doing consequential epidemiology to protect vulnerable populations, especially children, from vaccine-preventable diseases. She has had the privilege of being a site co-investigator for the CDC-funded US Flu Vaccine Effectiveness Network in Marshfield, Wisconsin. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health; her dissertation research focuses on meningococcal meningitis vaccination and undernutrition in children in the African meningitis belt.
Dr Sheena Sullivan was appointed in 2011 as the inaugural epidemiologist for the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne. She works with sentinel surveillance programmes in Australia and globally to estimate vaccine effectiveness and safety, and to understand the validity of the methods used to conduct these studies. She also works closely with National and Regional partners, including the WHO and US CDC, to improve influenza surveillance and use surveillance data to estimate the burden of influenza. She holds adjunct appointments at Melbourne University and the University of California, Los Angeles. She is also a member of the Australian National Influenza Surveillance Committee.
Dr. Ambrose is a physician in US Medical Affairs at AstraZeneca. Dr. Ambrose received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, followed by a medical degree and master of business administration degree from Vanderbilt University. Dr. Ambrose began his career at MedImmune in 2002, working in multiple roles in brand management, clinical development, and medical affairs, focusing on preventative therapies for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza. In his current role, Dr. Ambrose leads the post-approval medical activities related to AstraZeneca’s live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) and anti-RSV monoclonal antibody palivizumab. Since 2016, he is also involved in the development of novel immunologic therapies for severe uncontrolled asthma. He has authored more than 70 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Ambrose also serves as an Associate Editor for Therapeutic Advances in Vaccines, a SAGE publication.
Hanna Nohynek works as Chief physician and expert team leader of influenza and other respiratory viruses and vaccine preventable diseases at THL. She also serves as secretary of the Finnish National Immunization Techincal Advisory Group (NITAG/KRAR).
Dr. Nohynek completed her medical studies, PhD and international health competence in Helsinki, Finland. Her PhD work was on the aetiology of childhood pneumonia in Finland, Russia, and The Philippines. In collaboration with RITM, The Philippines, she coordinated phase II trials (Hib, meningococcal, PCV, PPS among pregnant mothers and infants), and a major phase III trial of an investigational 11PCV of Sanofi Pasteur against childhood pneumonia (2000-2004).
When serving as Unit Head at THL, she was instrumental in designing the HPV vaccine introduction to NVP. Presently she heads the NITAG influenza vaccination strategic subgroup. Her current research interests include influenza vaccine development, safety and effectiveness, vaccine safety in general, vaccine hesitancy, register based vaccine impact studies, policy and decision making, and evidence based evaluation of introduction of new vaccines into national programmes. Her publications include over 100 original articles (including the first scientific report on association between A(H1N1) pandemic vaccination and narcolepsy), chapters and books. She teaches vaccines related epidemiology, methodology, and has guided several elective, graduate, and PhD students.
Dr. Nohynek has served expert committees evaluating introduction of HBV, PCV and rota virus vaccine in Finland. She has been/ is an advisor to EU, IMI, IVI, WHO (GACVS 2006-12), GAVI, CEPI, SIDA/SRC, Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She was chairman of EPIET 1998-2001 and member of EDCTP 2002-3.
She belongs to faculty of Advanced Course in Vaccinology since its initiation in 2000, initiated EPIET vaccine epidemiology module in 1997, and the Finnish Diploma Course on Global Health in 2000.