Professor Annelies Wilder-Smith

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Professor Annelies Wilder-Smith
MD, PhD, DTM&H, MIH, FAMS, FACTM
Professor of Infectious Diseases
Email: awilder-smith@ntu.edu.sg
Principal Investigator, Vaccine Preventable Diseases & Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory

 

Laboratory Staff

  • Leong Wei Yee, Research Associate
  • Chang Chui Rhong, Project Executive
  • Dr Barnaby Young, PhD Student
  • ZikaPLAN collaborators

 

Introduction

Professor Annelies Wilder-Smith is Full Professor with Tenure for Infectious Diseases Research at Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. Her research interests are vaccine preventable diseases and emerging infectious diseases, in particular dengue, Zika, meningococcal disease, and influenza. Her general interests and expertise include travel and tropical medicine as well as vaccinology. She has led or co-led various clinical trials, in particular vaccine trials for the development of dengue and influenza vaccines.

In July 2016, she completed a five year research project funded by the European Commission where she led a 14 partner consortium with regards to the development of new tools for the control and surveillance of dengue.  In October 2016, she was awarded another European Commission grant under Horizon 2020 in response to the declaration of the Zika virus outbreak as public health emergency of international concern. Funded with 12,5 million Euro, the ZikaPLAN initiative combines the strengths of 25 partners in Latin America, North America, Africa, Asia, and various centres in Europe to address the urgent research gap in Zika, identifying short-and long term solutions and building a sustainable Latin-American EID Preparedness and Response capacity. By conducting clinical pregnant women cohort studies in Brazil (including neurodevelopmental milestones of all neonates born to Zika infected women with a follow up of the first 3 years of life) will help refine the full spectrum and risk factors of congenital Zika syndrome. With an excellent team of neurologists, the project hopes to delineate neurological complications associated with Zika due to direct neuroinvasion and immune-mediated responses. Laboratory based research to unravel neurotropism, investigate the role of sexual transmission, determinants of severe disease, and viral fitness will envelop the clinical studies.

Burden of disease and modelling studies will assemble a wealth of data including a longitudinal cohort study of 17,000 subjects aged 2-59 in 14 different geographic locations in Brazil over 3 years. Data driven vector control and vaccine modelling as well as risk assessments on geographic spread of Zika will form the foundation for evidence-informed policies.

The Platform for Diagnostics Innovation and Evaluation will develop novel ZIKV diagnostic tests in accordance with WHO Target Product Profiles. The global network of laboratory and clinical sites with well-characterized specimens is set out to accelerate the evaluation of the performance of such tests.

Based on qualitative research, the consortium members will develop supportive, actionable messages to affected communities, and develop novel personal protective measures. The final objective of ZikaPLAN is for the Zika outbreak response effort to grow into a sustainable Latin-American network for emerging infectious diseases research preparedness. To this end we will engage in capacity building in laboratory and clinical research, collaborate with existing networks to share knowledge and tackle regulatory and other bottlenecks.

Prof Wilder-Smith has published more than 200 scientific papers in international peer reviewed journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Science, Lancet, Lancet Infectious Diseases, Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal and Clinical Infectious Diseases Journal. In addition to multiple book chapters, she co-edited the book “Manual of Travel Medicine & Health” (Steffen/DuPont/Wilder-Smith, B.C. Decker Inc) and “Travel Medicine: tales behind the science” (Wilder-Smith, Schwartz, Shaw; Elsevier, 2007) and authored the book “How to take a medical history in Chinese” (Armour Publishing ISBN 981-4045-29-2).

Prof Wilder-Smith is the President of the International Society of Travel Medicine, Past-President of the Asia Pacific Society of Travel Medicine, and was Chair of the Regional Conference of the ISTM in Singapore 2012 (www.apthc2012.org).

Since 2006, she has served as co-editor of the annual revisions of WHO’s “International Travel and Health  (the “Green Book”), contributed to the WHO working group on yellow fever risk assessment, and serves on the WHO roster for the International Health Regulations Secretariat. In the past two years, she also served as member of the IHR Emergency Committee on the travel related spread of poliomyelitis virus. In 2016, she was invited to be Senior Advisor to WHO’s IHR Emergency Committee on Zika.

Prof Wilder-Smith obtained her MD from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, in 1987, her Master in International Health from Curtin University in Australia, and her PhD from the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 2003. The topic of her PhD was on “W135 meningococcal disease in Hajj pilgrims”.  Over the past 18 years she has developed and taught courses in global health, communicable diseases and travel medicine both in Singapore and beyond. She worked and lived in the Asia Pacific region for more than 18 years (China, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and since 1998 in Singapore). From 2011-2012, she was the Director of Master Programme in International Health at the Institute of Public Health, University of Heidelberg, Germany.

Her awards include the Myrone Levine Vaccinology Prize, the Honor Award for exemplary leadership and coordination in determining and communicating global yellow fever risk (National Centre for Zoonotic and Emerging Infectious Diseases, presented at the CDC Award Ceremony), Ashdown Oration, and awards for best oral presentations at scientific conferences.

Prof Wilder-Smith holds a guest professorship at the University of Umea, Sweden, and is adjunct professor at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. She serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Travel Medicine, is Advisor to GeoSentinel, Editorial Consultant to the Lancet, and also serves as volunteer consultant to various community development projects in Asia. Her vision is to build up global health teaching and research programmes in Singapore and beyond.

 

 LKCMedicine Research Spotlight

 
 

 

Key Publications

  1. Wilder-Smith A, Byass P, Olanratmanee P, Maskhao P, Sringernyuang L, Logan JG, Lindsay SW, Banks S, Gubler D, Louis VR, Tozan Y, Kittayapong P. The impact of insecticide-treated school uniforms on dengue infections in school-aged children: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial in Thailand. Trials. 2012 Nov 15;13:212

  2. Leo YS, Wilder-Smith A, Archuleta S, Shek L, Chong CY, Nam Leong H, Yong Low C, Oh ML, Bouckenooghe A, Crevat D, Wartel A. Immunogenicity and safety of recombinant tetravalent dengue vaccine (CYD-TDV) in individuals aged 2-45 y: Phase II randomized controlled trial in Singapore. Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2012 Sep 1;8(9):1259-71

  3. Paton NI, Lee L, Ooi EE, Xu Y, Cheung YB, Archuleta S, Wong G, Wilder-Smith A. The CHloroquine for Influenza Prevention (CHIP) Trial: a randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled trial of chloroquine for the prevention of influenza. Lancet Infect Dis. 2011 Sep;11(9):677-83

  4. Wilder-Smith A, Renhorn KE, Tissera H, Abu Bakar S, Alphey L, Kittayapong P, Lindsay S, Logan J, Hatz C, Reiter P, Rocklöv J, Byass P, Louis VR, Tozan Y, Massad E, Tenorio A, Lagneau C, L'ambert G, Brooks D, Wegerdt J, Gubler D. DengueTools: innovative tools and strategies for the surveillance and control of dengue. Glob Health Action. 2012;5

  5. Tambyah PA, Wilder-Smith A, Pavlova BG, Barrett PN, Oh HM, Hui DS, Yuen KY, Fritsch S, Aichinger G, Loew-Baselli A, van der Velden M, Maritsch F, Kistner O, Ehrlich HJ. Safety and immunogenicity of two different doses of a Vero cell-derived, whole virus clade 2 H5N1 (A/Indonesia/05/2005) influenza vaccine. Vaccine. 2011 Nov 10.

  6. Jentes, E.S., Poumerol, G., Gershman, M., Hill, D., Lemarchand, J.O. Lewis, R., Oliva, O., Staples, E., Tomori, O., Wilder-Smith, A. Monath, T. for the WHO Working Group on Geographic Risk for yellow fever transmission. The Revised Global Yellow Fever Risk Map and Recommendations for Vaccination 2010: An international collaborative effort. Lancet Infect Dis. 2011 Aug;11(8):622-632

  7. Wilder-Smith A, Schwartz E. Dengue in Travelers. New Engl J Med 2005 Sep 1;353(9):924-32.

  8. Wilder-Smith A, Chen L, Massad E, Wilson ME. Dengue poses a threat to blood safety. Emerg Infect Dis 2009; 15:1: 8-11

  9. Wilder-Smith A, Earnest A, Paton NI: Use of simple laboratory features to distinguish the early stage of severe acute respiratory syndrome from dengue fever. Clin Infect Dis. 2004 Dec 15;39(12):1818-23

  10. Wilder-Smith A, Paton NI: Severe acute respiratory syndrome: Imported cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome to Singapore had impact on national epidemic. BMJ 2003; 326: 1393-1394.