Cervical Cancer Speakers


Twalib Ngoma Is a lead expert and a pioneer of cancer research in Tanzania. Prof. Ngoma is a founder and former Executive Director Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI), Tanzania. He also heads the department of Oncology at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Tanzania. For much of his career, Prof. Ngoma has been dedicated to improving services of cancer patients throughout the country--reflected in his clinical, administrative and academic activities as well as his research efforts.  He received his medical degree in1978 at the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, and did post-graduate training in clinical oncology in the UK (University of Manchester for DMRT and University of Glasgow for FFRRCS) from 1982 to 1989. Upon returning to Tanzania in 1986, he worked as a Consultant in Clinical Oncology at Muhimbili University Teaching Hospital until 1996, when he was appointed by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania to be the Executive Director of ORCI, established by a Parliament Act in 1996.  Prof. Ngoma worked as the Executive Director of ORCI from 1996 to October 2014 where his responsibilities included: overseeing of day-to-day operations of the Institute and ensuring that all patients (4,000 new cancer patients per year and 12,000 follow up patients per year) received high quality care.  During that time, he was also (and still remain) involved in academic and research activities as the Head of the Oncology Department of MUHAS. In his on-going academic role, he has supervised the training of undergraduates in medicine, nursing, and radiotherapy technology and directs the residency program in Clinical Oncology.  Prof. Ngoma has demonstrated a record of accomplished and productive research projects in cancer and palliative care demonstrated by his track of publications and research grants.  He is a member of more than 10 national and international societies on Cancer.


John France Is a senior Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, and a chair of the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Meta maternity wing of the Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital (MZRH). Dr. France completed his Medical education in Tanzania at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) where he specialized in Obstetrics and gynaecology. His research interests are on clinical management of cervical cancer and fetal maternal medicine including preeclampsia/eclampsia and mother to child transmission of HIV. He is a lead person on the invasive cervical cancer surgical interventions at MZRH, where he also works as a regional coordinator and a zonal consultant of a cervical cancer-screening program. Additionally, Dr. France is a gynecological consultant for the DFG funded “HIV and HPV interaction” study. He is currently involved on a publication on “cervical cancer screening program implementation experiences of southern highlands- Tanzania”.



ruby_mcharo Ruby Mcharo Is a study physician/research scientist at the National Institute for Medical Research- Mbeya Medical Research Center (NIMR-MMRC), Tanzania. Dr. Mcharo studied Medicine at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) before pursuing a Masters in Public Health_International Health at the University of Nottingham, England. She is an expert in human cohort studies and clinical management of HIV infected patients. Importantly, Dr. Mcharo has been working with NIMR-MMRC since 2011 where she leads the clinical research activities of the DFG funded “HIV and HPV interaction” study. She also leads the NIMR-MMRC contribution to the collaborative setup of the National Cervical Carcinoma Screening Project in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania in 2011, and has been fully involved in the clinics’ screening for pre-cancerous lesions using Visual Inspection with acetic acid (VIA) and Colposcopy; sample collection for cytology and/or histology, and treatment of such lesions using cryotherapy. She is a regular lecturer at the University of Nottingham. Additionally, Dr. Mcharo has been involved in other observational studies in Tanzania and the UK, and presented complete or preliminary findings from these studies in national and international conferences.


Mkunde Chachage Is a biomedical researcher at the National Institute for Medical Research- Mbeya Medical Research Center (NIMR-MMRC) – Tanzania. Dr. Chachage completed her BSc. in molecular biology and BSc (Hons) in infectious diseases and Immunology at the University of Cape Town, South Africa before obtaining her PhD in International Health_Immunology at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich-Germany. She is interested in human immune responses to infectious diseases. Over the past six years, she has studied and published on immunologic interactions between HIV and other pathogens with a particular focus on cellular immunology. She is a laboratory research coordinator of the “HIV and HPV interaction” study and has lead affords to characterize HPV-specific T cell responses in relation to HPV disease, and to HIV and HAART status at NIMR-MMRC and at the Vaccine Research Center, NIH in Bethesda, USA. In 2012, Dr. Chachage was awarded the “Dr. Maria Kamm Best Young Woman Scientist Award” by the National 26th Annual Joint Scientific Conference Committee, Tanzania.



Kate Gallagher is an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.She has been at the Mwanza Intervention Trial  Unit at the National Institute for Medical Research Mwanza, for almost 2 years, prior to this she has had experience working in Ghana and Somaliland.Kate is working on a number of projects evaluating HPV vaccine introduction in Tanzania and other low-resource settings, her research interests include infectious disease epidemiology, vaccinology, and maternal/child health.

Tamrat Abebe Is an Assistant Professor and a chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Parasitology at the school of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University. He studied in Ethiopia and Europe where he had his BSc in biology and MSc in Medical Microbiology at Addis Ababa University, and his PhD in Immunology at University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Dr. Abebe has worked and published extensively in international peer reviewed journals on infectious diseases since 2006. He has expertise in identification of factors related to the host and parasite genetics that determine the outcome and clinical presentation of infectious diseases (HIV, tuberculosis, and leishmaniasis). Dr. Abebe’s current research interests are broad which include: molecular epidemiology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, population genetics of Leishmania donovani, Immunopathology of experimental and human leishmaniasis with and without HIV co-infection.  He is also interested in understanding the dynamics of antigen-specific T cell responses in breast and cervical cancer; understanding the mechanisms of protection and pathogenesis responsible for cancer. He currently leads a research project in “Human papilloma virus prevalence and genotype distribution in women with cervical cancer from the north and central part of Ethiopia”. Dr. Abebe is a member of more than 5 national and international societies on microbiology and immunology.

Jo-Ann Passmore is a Senior Lecturer and Medical Scientist at University of Cape Town and National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS).  Prof. Jo-Ann currently heads the Mucosal Immunology laboratory in the Division of Medical Virology at the Institute for Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town. She obtained her PhD from the University of Cape Town in 1999 in Clinical Immunology and has since been mentored through the MRC (South Africa) Career Development Program (2003-2006), Fogarty AITRP (2004) and the Wellcome Trust with an Intermediate Fellowship in Infectious Diseases (2006-2008). Dr Jo-Ann Passmore's research has focused on studying genital tract adaptive and innate immune responses associated with protection from or susceptibility to sexually transmitted viral diseases including HPV and HIV. She is specifically interested in studying biomarkers for susceptibility and protection to HIV infection, including secreted inflammatory molecules, genital immune activation and HIV-specific immune responses present in the female genital tract. She has published more than 30 papers in international peer reviewed journals on immunity to HIV and HPV and leads a small team of scientists at UCT focusing on immunity at the female genital tract. She has been principal investigator on grants from the South African HIV/AIDS Research Platform (SHARP), the Wellcome Trust, South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative (SAAVI), the HIV Pathogenesis Programme (Doris Duke Charitable Foundation), Medical Research Council (South Africa) and Poliomyelitis Research Foundation and laboratory PI on a grant from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) to investigate the impact of HIV infection on cervical mucosal responses during chronic and acute HIV infection. She is currently a member of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) Mucosal Working Group which aims at develop methods to investigate HIV-specific immunity in mucosal tissue including the female genital tract.
Andreas Kaufmann is the head of research at the Department of Gynaecology of the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany. Dr. Kaufmann is responsible for the development and organisation of clinical studies with companies and academic translational basic research. His research laboratory focuses on characterization of tumour-specific immune responses and development and evaluation of tumour vaccination strategies. Cervical cancer and Human Papillomavirus are the primary targets of his research. He studied Biology at the University of Heidelberg and thereafter, pursued his PhD at the German Cancer Centre working on tumour metastasis and EGF receptor signalling. In 1994, he proceeded to Loyola University at Chicago to join the laboratory of Lutz Gissmann and started working on Human Papillomavirus immunology. Returning to Germany in 1997, he became interested in clinical testing of experimental vaccines and joined the group of Achim Schneider in Jena. Dr. Kaufmann’s current interests are T cell immunology of HPV vaccination of both prophylactic and therapeutic approaches. His laboratory has developed sensitive T cell assays, which are currently being validated for their use in clinical studies. His laboratory is also involved in: HPV testing for diagnostic purposes on patients and subjects recruited into studies, and the investigation of HPV gene expression in correlates of disease progression to identify potential progression markers. In addition, his group investigates the biologic and immunologic features of cancer stem cells of HPV-related cervical and head-and-neck cancer. Dr. Kaufmann’s emphasis is on translational research making innovative methods and therapies available to patients.


Eva Kantelhardt is a Gynaecologist at Martin Luther University Halle -Wittenberg since 2000. Dr. Kantelhardt’s research interests include: female cancers especially in countries with limited resources, the social determinants of health and health services, and outcomes research. Her primary focus is on Gynaecologic Oncology and Breast cancer, epidemiology, risk factors, and disparities research. Her main goal at Martin-Luther-University Halle has been to build an inter-disciplinary team with a global view. She has long-standing collaboration with Gynecologists, Oncologists and Public Health colleagues from Ethiopia and other African countries since 2000. Dr. Kantelhardt has also jointly supervized international research candidates since 2009. Her efforts in international collaboration have led to trans-national projects with the vision of improving women’s health in underserved areas of the world. She is chairing the working group international women´s health of the "German Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology" since 2008. Dr. Kantelhardt is also a member of the German Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. In 2012, she received a Merit Award from ASCO for her poster presentation on: “Breast Cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa: 1,000 patients with breast cancer in Addis Ababa followed for 5 years”.


Christof Geldmacher is a senior scientist at the Department for Infectious Diseases & Tropical Medicine, University of Munich (LMU) and a member of the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF). Dr. Geldmacher performed his PhD thesis practical work at the Mbeya Medical Research Center and thereafter joined Richard Koup`s laboratory as a Post-Doctorate at the Vaccine Research Center of the NIH in Bethesda to continue research on pathogen-specific T cells. He is the Principle Investigator of the “HIV and HPV interaction” study that dissects the influence of HIV infection and treatment with antiretroviral therapy on Human Papillomavirus infection, disease and immunity. The immunology and pathogenesis of HIV and opportunistic infections (Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), Human Papilloma Viruses (HPV)) are among his primary area of research. To date, he has more than 20 peer-reviewed publications in the field of human immunology; these include a number of studies published in high impact journals, including Lancet Infect Dis, J Exp Med and Blood. Furthermore, Dr. Geldmacher is involved in the development of novel immunodiagnostic tools for active Tuberculosis, immunogenicity testing of new HIV vaccine candidates and aims to help improve vaccine design for variable pathogens. For many years he has been supporting research in immunology and infectious diseases locally in Africa, but he currently also leads an Infectious disease Immunology laboratory in Munich.


Andreas Wieser is the head of the parasitology laboratory and deputy head of the molecular diagnostics laboratory at the Max von Pettenkofer-Institute, Ludwigs-Maximilians-University (LMU), Germany. Dr. Wieser completed his medical degree at LMU in 2009 with a research thesis on “Development of a Multi-Epitope Vaccine against Extraintestinal Pathogenic E. coli (for conventional and TypeIII-dependant application)” which received a DGHM Doctoral Price. Even as a medical student, Dr. Wieser was rigorously involved in biomedical research activities. As a student, he atteined various clinical/biomedical research trainings at the University of Toronto, Canada; Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA; Umea University, Sweden and Roche Diagnostics in Penzberg, Germany. The main research focus of Dr. Wieser and his team is the development of new methods for diagnostic, therapeutic, prophylactic and research use. The applied methodologies used by his team are very broad, including conventional bacterial culture, cloning, chromosomal knockouts and other genetic manipulation procedures used in genetic engineering work in the field of synthetic biology. Additionally, his team also uses state of art technologies such as: 3D laser scanning microscopy, living colour applications in whole organ and whole organism models, Flow cytometric and immune assay based technologies, micro fluidic systems and binding assays. To date, Dr. Wieser has published extensively in his field of work. He has also received a number of awards and scholarships for research and training in different institutes. In 2013, he received a scholarship by German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) for a research stay at Jimma University in Ethiopia.


Ralph Wagner is a University Professor, heading the Molecular Microbiology and Gene Therapy Unit at the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, University of Regensburg, Germany. His group is dedicated to the development, and preclinical as well as clinical testing, of HIV candidate vaccines including preclinical and clinical monitoring of antigen-specific B- and T-cell responses. Due to the necessity of rational vaccine design, the group is focussing on various aspects of epidemiology, viral pathogenesis and morphogenesis, HIV replication, and vaccine manufacturing. In that context, he has pioneered e.g. the utilization of recombinant HI-virus like particles as vaccine candidates and established the utilization of RNA and codon optimized genes as golden standard in vaccine design and development. Together with partners and funded by various national and international funding organizations, he successfully translated a broader panel of HIV immunogens from the design stage to phase 2 clinical trials. He is an inventor and co-inventor of several patents and patent applications. Besides his academic activities Prof. Wagner is a founder and has been a long term CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of GeneArt AG (1999 –2012), now part of Thermofisher Inc.. He was amongst the first scientists to recognize the value of gene/genome design and synthesis for different areas of biotechnology including vaccine development and is thus consequently translating basic research tools and scalable technologies into a quickly emerging business.


Arne Kroidl is an HIV researcher, infectious disease and internal medicine specialist at the Institute of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease, University Clinic of Munich (LMU). Dr. Kroidl is also a chief of HIV clinical trials at LMU and a member of the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF). Dr. Kroidl attained his Medical degree from Humboldt University Berlin in 1998 and did his medical internship at the Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, Germany. He started practicing and training for a Medical speciality at the University Clinic of Düsseldorf (Clinic for Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectious Diseases) from 2000 where he specialized in internal medicine and infectious diseases in 2006/2007. Since 2007, Dr. Kroidl has been working at LMU as the head of the HIV clinical trials – where he is involved in HIV clinical/vaccine trials and cohort studies in Mbeya, Tanzania. He is also the Principle co-Investigator of the “HIV and HPV interaction” study. Dr. Kroidl has published over 10 peer-reviewed publications in the field of HIV and other infectious diseases. He is a member of the German Society of Internal Medicine (DGIM), German Society of Infectious Diseases (DGI), German AIDS Society (DAIG) and German Society of Tropical Medicine (DTG).


Daniela Höfler is a post-doctorate researcher department of Molecular Diagnostics of Oncogenic Infections, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany. Dr. Höfler completed her education in Germany where she studied Biology at Ruprecht-Karls-university and subsequently, attained a PhD with a thesis on “HPV16 RNA patterns as diagnostic marker for cervical cancer precursor lesions: Validation by newly developed high-throughput RT-qPCR” at DKFZ, Heidelberg, Germany. She is part of Dr. Michael Pawlita’s research group whose research focuses on “Molecular Diagnostic of Oncogenic Infections” –specifically, on the association of specific infections with human cancers. The group has pioneered the development of a high-throughput multiplex serology and genotyping technologies. Dr. Höfler’s current research interest comprises mainly the development and validation of molecular assays for the detection of HPV and its application in precancerous lesion screening. As part of her PhD thesis, she developed a second generation of HPV16 RNA patterns quantifying 3 viral transcripts (E6*I, E1^E4 and E1C) in two separate RT-qPCR. Late stages of HPV-induced cervical lesions need immediate diagnostic procedures and if verified treatment. HPV16 RNA patterns could be shown to be specific for these late stages and could help to sensitively identify them. In future, her group is planning to extend the HPV16 RNA patterns to other 7 high-risk HPV types, to validate the HPV RNA patterns as Triage test for HPV DNA-positive women and to apply the HPV RNA patterns to other cancer entities with HPV involvement. Most of her work has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Höfler and her group are also actively involved in external monitoring of HPV genotyping procedures that are carried out at NIMR-MMRC.

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