Research Fellows Directory
Professor Joanne Webster
Imperial College London
I moved from Oxford University to Imperial College at the outset of the Schistosome Control Initiative (SCI) in 2003, and have subsequently been closely involved in the design, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and associated research of these sustainable disease control programmes across selected sub-Saharan African countries. To date we have provided over 100 million treatments to school-aged children for soil transmitted helminths and over 44 million treatments for schistosomiasis. We have recently expanded to become responsible for the integrated control and M&E for 3 further Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs: lymphatic filarisasis, onchocercasis, and trachoma).
In addition to this applied SCI work, I head an interdisciplinary research group aimed to further our understanding of the population structure, evolution and behaviour of a range of parasitic species in relation to chemotherapy, definitive host species and epidemiological settings as a prerequisite both to the interpretation of prevailing patterns of infection and disease, and to guiding and targeting future disease control activities. For example, through the development and application, across a range of endemic countries within Africa and Asia, of novel, ethically and epidemiologically superior molecular and phenotypic tools, in combination with clinical measurements and both laboratory and mathematical simulations, my research group and I combine basic studies of how parasites populations evolve with the much more applied issue of identifying parasite strains and controlling host morbidity.
Finally, I am closely involved in a range of other host-parasite interaction studies, including that on the impact of Toxoplasma gondii on host behaviour, including that on the potential association between this parasite and some cases of schizophrenia in humans.