Carolina Batista, MD is the Head of Global Health Affairs at Baraka Impact Finance, and serves as board member at The Lancet Migration Latin America Hub, DNDi Access Committee, Movement Health 2030 and the International Society of NTDs. She’s also a member of The Lancet COVID-19 Commission, Vaccines and Therapeutics Taskforce. She holds expertise in global health, access, R&D, infectious and neglected diseases and international development. During the span of her career, she has been able to design frameworks and guidelines that have ultimately impacted public policies in countries and vulnerable communities around the globe.
Clinically trained in Brazil, Carolina started her career working in her country, including with indigenous communities in the Amazon. In 2007, she joined Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), working in a project in Somalia and has remained connected with the humanitarian organization ever since.
In 2011 she became the director of the Brazilian Medical Unit (BRAMU) of MSF in Brazil. Her primary focus in this role was to support field operations treating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and emerging infectious diseases. She was also involved in multiple assignments with the organization in Africa and Latin America and conducted evaluations of various programs and activities focused on NTDs. As the Head of the BRAMU, she also coordinated MSF’s international campaign for Chagas disease.
After three years with MSF-Brazil, Carolina joined the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) Latin America as the Head of Access and Medical Affairs. Under her leadership, DNDi developed and implemented successful access frameworks to diagnosis and treatment for NTDs throughout Latin America, with special focus on Chagas disease. Such access frameworks are currently used by a range of stakeholders, including local governments and clinical and academic centers of excellence. At DNDi, Carolina was also able to foster partnerships in the region and played a key role in the creation of the Brazilian Forum of Patients with Neglected Diseases.
Carolina was an elected International Board Member for MSF for three years. She also serves as a Latin America Strategic Advisor for ISGlobal. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Carolina has worked closely to support grass roots groups in various countries and led the MSF medical response to COVID-19 in the Navajo Nation, in the United States.
Carolina has authored several peer reviewed articles on global health, access to health tools, policy and humanitarian medicine. She holds a combined master’s degree in International Public Health, from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp and The Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam.
Dr. Maria Bellio is Full Professor of Immunology at the Microbiology Institute of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil, where she was tenured as Assistant Professor in 1997. She obtained her PhD in Immunology in 1994 at UFRJ, after performing the complete experimental work of her thesis at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, FR, under the supervision of Dr. Philippe Kourilsky. From 1994 to 1996, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Laboratory of
Dr. George Dos Reis at UFRJ. Dr. Bellio's research focuses on understanding the modulation of the adaptive immune response by innate signaling pathways, such as the ones mediated by the activation of the NALP3 inflammasome and the receptors of the TLR family. More specifically, her studies concentrate on the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the differentiation of effector and memory T cells in response to infection with intracellular pathogens, in particular with Trypanosoma cruzi. She is a reviewer for several peer-reviewed
journals and member of the editorial board for Parasite Immunology, Frontiers in Immunology. She was awarded the Rio de Janeiro State Scientist Award from FAPERJ Agency in 2011, 2019 and 2022 and the Abroad Visiting Professor Award from the CAPES PrInt Program in 2021. From 2010 to 2017, she was the Chief of the Department of Immunology at UFRJ. From 2021 to the present date, she is a Visiting Researcher at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in San Diego, CA. Starting January 2024, she will be the next President of the Brazilian Society of Immunology.
Colin Forsyth is a medical anthropologist and epidemiologist who joined DNDi in March, 2016 to help launch the U.S. Chagas Treatment Access project. In the 1990’s, he lived in Bolivia and became acquainted with the devastating impact of Chagas disease. In 2013, he conducted anthropological research on Chagas disease at a nonprofit clinic in Bolivia where more than half of the patient
population was infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, the pathogen that causes the disease. He investigated the beliefs, experiences, and treatment strategies of patients dealing with Chagas disease, and identified key barriers that hampered access to healthcare. Since joining DNDi, he has been involved in several
research projects focused on identifying and addressing barriers to diagnosis and treatment for Chagas disease patients in the United States and Latin America. He also manages the Chagas Research Platform, an international network devoted to addressing research gaps in Chagas disease. He completed an M.P.H in Epidemiology in 2011, and a Ph.D. in Applied Anthropology in 2014, at the University of South Florida, Tampa.
Dr. Paula Stigler Granados is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health – Environmental Health and Global health at San Diego State University. Her main areas of interest include global health, public health policy, environmental health and neglected tropical diseases. She received her MS degree in Environmental Health Sciences at San Diego State University and her PhD in Global Health in the joint doctoral program with the University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University. Some of her interests include Chagas disease, environmental exposure risks for vulnerable populations, socio-economic determinants of health, geo-spatial analysis of environmental hazards, climate change and community based participatory research. She has worked throughout Latin America and the United States with indigenous and rural populations on a multitude of projects addressing public health. Dr. Stigler Granados has several on-going research projects, including a Center for Disease Control and Prevention funded project to raise awareness among healthcare providers in the U.S. about Chagas disease. She is also utilizing the ECHO model of tele-mentoring to provide learning opportunities for physicians regarding Chagas disease. Dr. Stigler Granados also leads a Department of Defense Global Health Initiative grant to conduct surveillance of Chagas disease in military communities along the U.S. Mexico border region. She is an advocate for community-led projects and has a deep commitment to multi-disciplinary collaborations to solve important public health issues.
Maira Gutierrez has personally confronted the challenges in obtaining testing and treatment for Chagas disease, and has been an important spokesperson on behalf of people affected by Chagas in California, the United States and beyond.
Dr. Sheba K. Meymandi is the director and founder of the Center of Excellence for Chagas Disease at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, which opened in 2007 as the first U.S. clinic for screening, diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease. She has over 10 years of experience providing antiparasitic treatment for Chagas disease. She is also a board-certified cardiologist with over 20 years of experience in treating the heart-related complications produced by Chagas disease. The Center has conducted free comprehensive mobile medical evaluations in a grassroots effort to screen and educate about the disease and to detect cases early. It also performs important clinical research into rates of prevalence, conduction abnormalities, pregnant women, and congenital transmission. Such research aims in part to bring more awareness to Chagas disease in the US. She has led several research projects related to Chagas disease and collaborates closely with the Centers for Disease Control, Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, Doctors Without Borders and other international organizations working to improve care for patients with Chagas disease. Her focus currently is to get screening for Chagas disease in people at risk into the primary care sector to establish early screening, diagnosis and treatment of Chagas. Dr. Meymandi is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine and the Director of Cardiovascular Research and Invasive Cardiology at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center. She graduated from George Washington University School of Medicine. She completed her Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular training in the UCLA/LA County training programs.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Daniel R. Pinto has a Business Administration degree, with postgraduate management programs and additional courses on English-Portuguese translation. After 15 years in the private sector, he joined the Brazilian Foreign Ministry in 1999. Over the years, his range of responsibilities included such issues as trade disputes at the WTO, intellectual property, cooperation for development, public health, and innovation. From 2016 to 2018, as Head of the Foreign Ministry’s Intellectual Property Division, he was Brazil’s chief negotiator for IP at the Mercosur-EU FTA talks and a regular delegate to the Committee meetings of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). He followed with particular interest the activities of the Inter-Governmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge, and Traditional Cultural Expressions (IGC).
In addition to the Ministry’s headquarters in Brasilia, he has served in Washington, DC, from 2006 to 2010, where he was in charge of science, technology, and intellectual property. After the 2010 earthquake, he spent two years in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, coordinating Brazil’s technical cooperation with the country. From 2012 to 2016, he oversaw political affairs and innovation at the Embassy in Bern, Switzerland. Then, from 2018 to 2021, he was Brazil’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Singapore. Daniel Pinto is currently Brazil’s Deputy Consul General in Los Angeles.
Besides innovation, development, and public health, Daniel Pinto has a passion for languages. Raised bilingual in French and Portuguese, he is also fluent in English, Spanish, Italian and German. He is now reaching an intermediate level in Mandarin (HSK 4), but this will be a lifetime journey.
Dr. Roberto Magalhães Saraiva is a Medical doctor who graduated from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in 1993.
He performed a cardiology fellowship (1994-1997) and obtained a Master of Science (2000) in Cardiology at this same university. He then obtained a PhD degree in Medicine from Universidade Federal de São Paulo, with a 2-year collaborative period at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (2003-2006). This was followed a cardiovascular imaging research fellowship at the department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic (2008-2009). Since 2009, he has been a researcher at Oswaldo Cruz Foundation working on Chagas disease and cardiac complications of infectious diseases. He is the leader of several projects on Chagas disease, participated in the elaboration of Brazilian and international guidelines on Chagas disease, and has published over 100 articles in medical journals (57 on Chagas disease).
Dr. Siqueira-Neto’s has 15 years of international experience in discovering and developing therapies for infectious diseases, including SARS-CoV-2, causing agent of COVID-19. His participation in discoveries have brought drug candidates to pre-clinical (Pyronaridine for Chagas Disease) and clinical stages (SLV213, aka K777, for COVID-19) of development. The Siqueira-Neto Lab is focused on the validation of screening assays enabling interrogation of large libraries of small molecules and natural products for the identification of hits with relevant biological activity to treat human diseases, especially but not limited to infectious diseases. The lab also investigates the interaction of host and pathogens to further understand disease pathogenesis and to identify new druggable targets. Dr. Siqueira-Neto has recently given talks to the non-scientific public to explain about COVID-19 and the principles of immunization through the vaccine.