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"TB control in crisis: problems and solutions"
Professor Gilla Kaplan
Consultant at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Host: Professor Linda-Gail Bekker [IDM/DTHC & Dept of Medicine]
Gilla Kaplan is an authority on various aspects of the host immune response to mycobacterial pathogens, including the causative agents of leprosy and tuberculosis (TB). Her work has encompassed developing a deep, holistic understanding of the cellular immune response and how this can be harnessed for host adjunctive therapies. She spent her career as an academic research scientist leading her laboratory in investigations focusing on human disease, exploring novel experimental medicine approaches that harness the immune response for disease control. Some of her seminal observations, published in the scientific literature and patented, have been translated into therapeutic interventions in collaboration with Celgene Corporation.
Recently, Gilla joined the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), first as a member of the Global Health Program Scientific Advisory Committee and subsequently progressing to the position of Director of the TB program for five years. Building on three decades of research experience, first at Rockefeller University and then at the Public Health Research Institute Centre at UMDNJ, she led the reshaping of the tuberculosis program at BMGF. This resulted in an expanded portfolio of investments that included early discovery, development of new tools, and the innovative use of these for improved service delivery, with the aim of accelerating the reduction of the global TB epidemic. She is now serving as a consultant for the Bill and Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute.