Edinburgh Research Explorer

Prof Susan Welburn

Vice-Principal Global Access

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Education / Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Bristol
The rickettsia-like organisms of Glossina ssp
Bachelor of Science, University of the West of England

Biography

Current Positions

 

Assistant Principal Global Health

The University of Edinburgh

RoleAssistant Principals are designated by the University Court on the recommendation of the Principal and are responsible for progressing the University's strategic objective and developing University policy in the specific area of Global Health.

The Assistant Principal defines strategy and leads the implementation processes for transforming the Global Academies into leading beacons for inter-disciplinary responses to the world’s grand challenges.

 

Director Global Health Academy (GHA)

The University of Edinburgh

Role:  The GHA provides a framework for collaborative, interdisciplinary research, postgraduate training, educational activities and resources that will contribute to strengthening the health resource base, globally.

The Directors role has been to evolve a community of practice within University of Edinburgh staff and beyond who are committed to towards achieving impact upon Global Health challenges

The Academy will enable global networking and enhance the culture of professional development across disciplines providing fellowship, peer oversight, promotion of professionalism, dialogue and networking.

 

Professor of Medical and Veterinary Molecular Epidemiology

The University of Edinburgh

RoleDay to day management of £15M research funding covering the theme of the Neglected Zoonoses, investment from EU, DfID, NERC, BBSRC and IKARE. Management of 5 research projects; Direct line management of 8 post- doctoral staff and 15 PhD students.  In addition ICONZ entails management of 8 work package leaders across Europe and Africa and additional 15 PhD/MSc students. 

Strategic teaching inputs for undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses in Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

 

Research Interests

My research has focused on the interactions between parasites and their vectors and hosts that lead to transmission of human sleeping sickness. To date this research has resulted in over 135 publications including 102 original papers, 24 peer refereed reviews and 9 book chapters and 23.5 million pounds of research funding. My publications have been cited over 2000 times and my h-index is 31.

Latterly, my research concentrates on the design and use of molecular diagnostic tools for the study and management of sleeping sickness and animal trypanosomiaisis and integrated control methodologies for control of the Neglected Zoonoses. Research has encompassed research ranging from ‘grass-roots’ fieldwork in Africa to laboratory-based dissection of the problems at the gene level. Most recently we are looking at novel methods for financing Neglected Disease control efforts and also adopting ‘whole of society approached to disease control’. 

 

International recognition and diffusion

I have research experience ranging from the management of high-tech laboratory research to the running of applied field projects in developing countries. This broad experience has allowed me to translate my basic research into vector control and management practices.

With colleagues in the private sector, and Makerere University, Uganda I have established a Public Private Partnership for the control of sleeping sickness using limited application insecticide in Uganda (www/stampoutsleepingsickness.com). This has played a central role in controlling the spread of sleeping sickness, by eliminating cattle as a reservoir of the trypanosome. This has had huge implications for both human and animal health and I am currently engaged in expanding this approach into other countries and contexts in Africa.

I have presented my research as an invited keynote speaker at more than 30 conferences in four continents. In the past few years I have held appointments as an advisor to the Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation Directorate (ESPA), funded by NERC, ESRC and DFID; as a board member of the Africa Institute for Strategic Animal Resources Services and Development (AFRISA), Uganda; The Windsor Group, Universitas 21; and, as Director of Natural Resources International (NRInt).

 

Current Research Funding

  • Investigating Networks of Zoonosis Innovation (INZI) - European Science Foundation Senior investigator(s) award (2012-2017)
  • Advocacy for Neglected Zoonoses (ADVANZ) - European Union Framework 7 (FP7) (2012-2015)
  • Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa: Interactions between livestock/wildlife, poverty and environmental change - ESPA – Ecosystem Services and Poverty alleviation DfiD/NERC (2012-2015)
  • Next Generation of Researchers for Neglected Zoonoses (NEXTGEN) - European Union Framework 7 (FP7) (2012-2015)
  • Global Academies MSc in Global Challenges - University of Edinburgh2012-2013
  • Roll out Stamp Out Sleeping Sickness – Uganda Tanzania, Zambia and Nigeria Phase II - DfID Research Into Use/ IKARE (2009-2012)
  • Development of Global Health Academy - Commonwealth Commission/ DfID (2007-2015)
  • Community based tsetse control interventions on the Jos Plateau, Nigeria, BBSRC/DfID (2010-2014)
  • Integrated control of neglected zoonoses (ICONZ),  EU FP7 Large Collaborative Research Project (2009-2014)
  • Life and Death of Protozaon parasites, EU COST Action (2009-2013)

 

Research Training and Mentorship

Efforts and ability to inspire younger researchers

I have led the development of innovative distance education for veterinary health professional in Africa, developing five e-MSc programmes These programmes have built the capacity of several hundred Africa-based veterinary health professionals through my efforts to raise substantial funding for course development and scholarship provision.

I have mentored twelve post doctoral staff members at the University of Edinburgh, the majority of whom have gone on to successful academic and research careers.

Postgraduate Research Supervision

I have supervised 33 PhD students to successful completion at the University of Edinburgh (and a further 3 MSc by Research students). I currently co-supervise 10 PhD students. I have been external examiner for PhDs at six universities. I am PI of the ICONZ project, which has over 25 young investigators from 21 countries working on all aspects of Zoonotic disease management and a strong capacity building focus for young scientists from Europe and African ICPCs.

 

Board Membership (Present)

  • African Africa Institute for Strategic Animal resource Services and Development (AFRISA), Makerere, Uganda;
  • Stamp Out Sleeping Sickness Public Private Partnership;
  • Edinburgh Disasters Committee;
  • Windsor Group, Universitas21;
  • Scottish Collaborative Alliance for International Development Committee Steering Group (SCAID);
  • Scotland Rwanda Universities Steering Committee, Task team, Strategic Partnerships in the Developing World, Universitas 21;
  • DFID Research Into Use - Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis monitoring and evaluation case study team.

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