- Users of research expertise:
Prof. Dr. Bruno Gryseels, Director of the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp
Bruno M.A.J. Gryseels (10.6.1954, Ukkel, Belgium) studied medicine at the State University of Ghent (1972- 1979), and Tropical Medicine and Hygiene at the ITM in Antwerp (1979). He obtained his PhD at the University of Leiden (the Netherlands) in 1990.
After his studies he joined the ITM as a researcher in the Department of Tropical Pathology. In 1980-1981 he worked for ITM at the Laboratory of Parasitology at the University of Zaire in Kinshasa, where he taught parasitology and took part in diagnostic duties including population screening for sleeping sickness. At the same time he performed field research on schistosomiasis, intestinal parasites and filariasis in the Kivu and Bas-Congo provinces. He was involved in the development and implementation of one of the first schistosomiasis control programmes based on mass treatment with oxamniquine and praziquantel, in a region (Maniema, Kivu) with extremely high infection and morbidity rates.
From 1982 to 1986, he worked for the Belgian Agency for Development Cooperation as chief of the national research and control programme for schistosomiasis and intestinal parasites for the Ministry of Health in Burundi. The program was control-oriented, but at the same time focused on diagnosis, treatment and epidemiology of schistosomiasis and its snail vectors. The ensuing national control programme was one of the first in the world to integrate drug treatment, snail control, water supply and sanitation and primary health care. This research was an important pilot experience for the World Health Organisation. In 1986 he became lecturer and, later, associate professor at the Laboratory of Parasitology and Institute of Tropical Medicine of the University of Leiden (The Netherlands). It's where he also obtained his PhD magna cum laude in 1990 with the thesis "Morbidity and morbidity control of schistosomiasis mansoni in Sub-Saharan Africa". He built an international team of researchers from North and South, doing innovative research on the epidemiology (epidemic foci), immuno-epidemiology ("Age or Experience"), diagnostics (validation of Kato-Katz and Circulating Antigens), treatment (low responsiveness to praziquantel), modelling (micro-simulation) and morbidity and control of schistosomiasis (ultrasound, impact of treatment, integration in primary health care).
During the same period, he frequently served as advisor to several international organizations, such as WHO/TDR, the EC, the World Bank, GTZ, SAREC and to national disease control or research programmes in Mali, Congo, Madagascar, Egypt, Morocco, China, Brazil and Senegal. He was a member of several international expert groups including the Expert Committee for Schistosomiasis and Geohelminths (1991 and 2001), the TDR Steering Committee for Schistosomiasis (1990-1994), the TDR Task Force on Tropical Diseases and the Environment (1994-1997) and its Joint Research Management Committee (TDR / World Bank) for Research and Control of Schistosomiasis control in China (1992-2000).
During his research career, he directed a large number of international research programmes with support from TDR, EU, GtZ, DGDC, WOTRO etc. and authored some 150 scientific papers including major reference papers. In 1995, the career of Bruno Gryseels took a new turn when he became the ITM's 7th director. Since then, the ITM has tripled its annual turnover to € 52 million and doubled its work force to 450 highly qualified scientists and technicians. He led fundamental renewals in ITM's teaching, research and service programmes, as well as in its infrastructure and management systems. In 1998, he initiated the "Switching the Poles" capacity building programme which, with support from the Belgian Ministry for Development Cooperation, currently invests € 13 million annually in individual and institutional capacity strengthening in Africa, Asia and South America.
The current interests of Bruno Gryseels encompass the whole range of tropical and poverty-related diseases, as well as global health, academic and European policies. He is still a Permanent Member of WHO's Panel of Experts on Parasitology, and is active in several initiatives to coordinate and integrate European efforts in global health sciences, including the Association of Institutes of Tropical Medicine (TropMedEurop), TropEd (educational consortium), the European - Developing Countries Clinical Trial Partnership (EDCTP), the European Academic of Global Health Alliance (EAGHA), HIVERA (ERANET on HIV/AIDS) and ERINHA (BSL-4 ESFRI consortium).