The European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases (ESPID) dedicates much of its activities and financial support to Continuing Medical Education (CME) and research in the field of pediatric infectious diseases. ESPID provides the best young scientists with the opportunity to carry on their research and education and has set up more than 10 award programs which are available to all its members.
The most prominent senior PID scientists in Europe (and increasingly in other parts of the world) contribute generously to the development of the society and the fulfillment of its goals.
Traditionally, every year, ESPID offers the prestigious Bill Marshall Award to one of its senior members for their contributions to PID in general and to ESPID in particular. ESPID would like to acknowledge the ESPID Awards winners of 2010 and encourage further applications from young scientists for the coming year.
Bill Marshall Award 2010
Jussi Mertsola has worked as a Professor of Paediatrics at the Turku University Hospital, in Finland, since 2001. He presented his medical thesis in 1985 about serology and epidemiology of pertussis and specialized in Paediatrics in 1987 in Turku. Between 1988 and 1990 he did research and was in training in PID at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center under the mentorship of Drs. George McCracken and John Nelson. He specialized in Pediatric Infectious Diseases in 1993. He was the chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Vaccination in Finland 2002–2009. Since 2001 Professor Mertsola has been a member of the Post Graduate School Supervisory Committee and since 2002 the chairman of the Committee of Virtual Teaching and Committee of Clinical Skills Training Unit in the Faculty of Medicine at Turku University. He is currently President of the Finnish Paediatric Society. Jussi Mertsola has been a member of ESPID since 1983, was a member of the Training Committee from 1998–2001, a member of the ESPID Board from 2000–2003, and chairman of the Educational Committee from 2003–2007. He initiated the ESPID Case Rounds and Tr@inforPedHIV with Carlo Giaquinto and PENTA. Jussi Mertsola is also interested in pediatric respiratory tract infections and especially in pertussis. He has worked for 30 years with the research group of Olli Ruuskanen in Turku. With Qiushui He, he is chairing the European EUpertstrain group studying the evolution of B. pertussis organisms and epidemiology of pertussis in Europe.
ESPID Fellowship and ESPID/Wyeth Fellowship Awards 2010–2012
The ESPID Committee of Scientific Affairs and Awards made 3 fellowship awards this year; 2 of them are supported by ESPID and the third is generously supported, as previously, by Wyeth (now Pfizer) under the condition that the fellow will work in a different center abroad. The goal of this fellowship award is to stimulate scholarly basic science or clinical research that uses advanced techniques and methods to improve the health of children by prevention or management of infectious diseases. Applications with an emphasis on prevention receive a high priority, and preference is given to physician scientists. The award is for 2 years of training, during which the applicants are expected to devote the majority of their time to research.
There were 7 applications this year for the ESPID Fellowships Awards. All applications were judged to be of very high quality making it difficult to select the winners.
ESPID Fellowship 2010
Virginia Amanatidou, MD, PhD
Virginia Amanatidou was born in Larissa, Greece, in 1971. She obtained her medical degree from the National and Kapodisitrian University of Athens and a PhD in Paediatric Respiratory Diseases from the University of Crete, Greece (under the supervision of Professor D.A. Spandidos), in 2008. From September 2001 until July 2008, she worked as Registrar in different pediatric departments in Crete and in Athens. She successfully attended National Accreditation Exams in Paediatrics, in February 2009. Since April 2009, she has worked as a Consultant Paediatrician in P & A Kyriakou Children's Hospital, Athens, Greece. Dr. Amanatidou has great scientific interest in the pathophysiology of respiratory tract infections as well as in the field of genetic epidemiology. She has worked in the field of genetic predisposition to severe RSV lower respiratory tract infection and her research resulted in 2 articles in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. She has also worked on several side projects, evaluating the role of chemokines and chemokine receptor gene polymorphisms (Fractalkine/CX3CR1 and IL-8/CXCR1 pathways) not only in RSV disease, but also in other inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis.
This ESPID fellowship award will give Dr. Amanatidou and coworkers the opportunity to carry out the proposed study, regarding the development of new biomarkers in TB diagnosis and management. The research will be conducted at the Second Department of Paediatrics of the University of Athens in collaboration with the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens, Greece, under the supervision of Prof. M. Tsolia and Dr. S. Psarras. This will be an attempt to perform, through the use of microarray technology, a genome-wide analysis for the detection of gene expression differences in active and latent tuberculosis infection.
ESPID Fellowship 2010
Dr. Rianne Oostenbrink
Rianne Oostenbrink was born in 1972. She finished her medical training at the Erasmus University Rotterdam in 1996 and obtained her MSc degree in clinical epidemiology at the Institute for Health Sciences, Rotterdam in 2000. She completed her PhD in 2001 on diagnostic and prognostic research in pediatrics: Children with meningeal signs and finished her training in pediatrics in 2006 at the ErasmusMC – Sophia, Rotterdam. She attended an international fellowship on evidence-based medicine at the Department of Primary Health Care, University of Oxford, United Kingdom in 2008. Currently, she works as a pediatrician at the Department of Paediatric Emergency Care and Paediatric Infectious Diseases. Her main research interest is in the field of diagnostic research and developing prediction rules for acute pediatric infections. She is conducting research on the development and implementation of a clinical decision support system at the pediatric emergency department, and the development and evaluation of clinical prediction rules and new diagnostic tests and supervises 2 PhD projects.
ESPID/Wyeth Fellowship 2010
Dr. Martijn van der Kuip
Martijn obtained his medical degree in 1999 at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In 2000, he started a PhD research project: Nutritional support of critically ill children, from estimate to custom made (thesis in 2005; supervised by Prof. R.J.B.J. Gemke). In 2009, he obtained his degree as a pediatrician. Currently, he works as a fellow in the field of pediatric infectious diseases and immunology, under supervision of Prof. A.M. van Furth. van Furth's research group primarily deals with the treatment of tuberculous meningitis in children and runs a project in public health infrastructure in the Western Cape, South Africa: the Tuberculous Meningitis Township Project. The current application is to study granuloma formation in the brain and subsequent spread of tuberculosis to the meninges. The ESPID/Wyeth fellowship will enable him to study granuloma formation with an integration of novel techniques, ie, mathematical modeling (University of Michigan Medical School, USA; supervised by Prof. D. Kirschner) and more fundamental human pathology studies (Stellenbosch University, South Africa; supervised by Prof. J. Schoeman and Prof. em. R.H. Hewlett).
Young Investigator Award 2010
The Committee for Scientific Affairs and Awards gave the Young Investigator Award 2010 to Dr. AngelaBrueggemann. Dr. Brueggemann is a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow at the University of Oxford, where she runs a research laboratory and teaches courses on infectious disease to the undergraduate biologists. Before this she was a senior research fellow in the Departments of Clinical Microbiology and Public Health/Primary Care in Oxford, where she worked on pediatric clinical studies related to understanding common bacterial and viral infections such as conjunctivitis, whooping cough and influenza. Before coming to Oxford, her research work in the United States focused on the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance among a range of bacterial pathogens. She has published over 50 research papers and 4 book chapters on these topics. The main focus of Dr. Brueggemann's research laboratory at Oxford is Streptococcus pneumoniae, a bacterium that is a major cause of diseases such as otitis media, pneumonia, and meningitis worldwide. Her current research involves using high-throughput molecular genotyping techniques to understand pneumococcal evolution, especially evolutionary changes related to antimicrobial and vaccine selective pressures. Dr. Brueggemann and her colleagues at Oxford and the Centers for Disease Control recently described the first pneumococcal vaccine escape strains to emerge subsequent to widespread vaccination in the United States. This work has important implications for the long-term effectiveness of the heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and for the design of future vaccines.