Dr Stefanie J. Krauth
After obtaining a PhD in Epidemiology at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, an affiliated Institute of the University of Basel, Switzerland under the supervision of Jürg Utzinger, I ventured out to increase our systems-understanding of schistosomiasis and other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). During a Postdoc at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, in Switzerland, I further developed my research ideas to expand epidemiological research towards “Systems Epidemiology” of NTDs. Systems epidemiology, as a holistic research approach, seeks to integrate knowledge from classical epidemiology, with that of biology, ecology, social sciences, and other disciplines, and link these with informal, tacit knowledge from experts and effected populations using systems science methods.
Using this approach, I hope to uncover wider-reaching but difficult-to-identify processes that directly or indirectly influence NTDs, and understand how these interact with one another. Drawing on systems epidemiology to address persisting disease hotspots, failed intervention programmes, and systematically neglected population groups in mass drug administration programmes and research studies, can help overcome barriers in the progress towards schistosomiasis elimination. My current research focus is to generate a comprehensive, detailed overview of the schistosomiasis system as a whole to work towards better morbidity control and transmission elimination.
I am interested in research that will lead to the development of innovative diagnostics and control of parasitic diseases. My passion for research began when I undertook a project as part of my Bsc in Human Biology. The project looked at investigating markers of obesity among females on the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. After my Bachelors degree I decided to pursue a career in research, and hence joined the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research as a National Service Personnel employee. I have had the opportunity to work on various projects, including: SHISTOVAC (that looked at vaccine development for Schistosomiasis); epidemiology and molecular mechanisms of anthelminthic treatment failure in Kintampo North Municipality, Ghana; a study of the circadian periodicity of Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes in human peripheral blood and the expression of serotonin receptor types/subtypes on gametocyte cell surface; impact of distinct eco-epidemiology on malaria drug resistance etc.
I hold a MSc in Biology and Control of Parasites and Disease Vectors, from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine sponsored by the Wellcome Trust Masters Fellowship in Public Health. I am currently on an exchange program in parasitology for capacity strengthening for early career researchers at the Wellcome Centre Integrative Parasitology, University of Glasgow (funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund). I am trialling genetic techniques to identify adult worm genotypes from microfilariae (mf). I hope to generate whole genome sequence data from adult and pooled mf that will be used to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) which can differentiate Onchocerca mf and their parents. SNP specific primers will then be developed for drug efficacy trials.