The Institute of Vector-Borne Disease (IVBD) brings together leading scientists and researchers across a variety of disciplines to address the increasing global burden of vector-borne diseases.
Institute of Vector-Borne Disease
Prof Cameron Simmons, Director
Professor Cameron Simmons was recently appointed as the Director of the Institute of Vector-Borne Disease at Monash University. Prof Simmons is an NHMRC Senior Fellow and a VESKI Innovation Fellow. His mission is to measure the public health benefits delivered by the Wolbachia biocontrol approach in communities where diseases transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (e.g. dengue, Zika and chikungunya) are a health burden.
Professor Simmons spent most of his academic career with the University of Oxford and based in Vietnam at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases. It is here, seeing severe dengue patients in hospital on an almost daily basis, that he developed an international reputation for clinical and laboratory research on the prevention and treatment of dengue. He has published over 150 research papers and maintains consultancy roles to the World Health Organization and to vaccine and drug development companies.
Reynold Dias, General Manager
Reynold Dias commenced as General Manager for the Institute of Vector-Borne Disease in 2016 and has since been appointed as the Director of Operations for the World Mosquito Program. Reynold has a background in management and science, having been General Manager of Monash University’s Faculty of Science from 2012 to 2016.
Heather Flores first joined the World Mosquito Program in 2012 to undertake postdoctoral research after completing her PhD in the United States. Heather has experience in evolutionary genetics and has worked with the mechanism of cytoplasmic incompatibility and Wolbachia blocking, key aspects of the World Mosquito Program’s Wolbachia method.
Kat Edenborough is a research fellow at the Institute of Vector-Borne Disease (IVbD). Kat's research role is to characterise the evolution of arboviruses (dengue, Zika, and chikungunya) and to monitor the emergence of viral resistance in the context of biocontrol strategies implemented by the World Mosquito Program (WMP).
Kat's past appointments at the Australian Animal Health Laboratories (AAHL), CSIRO and the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin have focussed on highly pathogenic avian influenza, seasonal influenza, Henipaviruses, and Ebola viruses. Kat is particularly interested in virus-host interactions and the mechanisms underpinning asymptomatic infections in reservoir hosts.
Julio Carrera, PhD student
Julio Carrera is a PhD student focused on flaviviruses. Julio completed his undergraduate degree in Russia and his Master’s Degree in Ecuador before moving to Australia. He is currently studying molecular pathogenesis and vaccine development, and working in vector control and Wolbachia strains with the IVBD.
Megan Allman, PhD student
Megan Allman is a PhD student focussed on fitness indicators and influencers of Wolbachia infected Aedes aegypti. Prior to commencing a PhD Megan completed a BSc Advanced Global Challenges (Honours) at Monash University. She is now investigating the behaviour of mosquitoes, including mismatched mt/nucDNA combinations, under different rearing and release conditions and developing novel methods for mosquito release and tracking.
Kimberley Dainty, PhD student
Kimberley Dainty is a PhD student focused on Wolbachia. She is studying the global evolution of mtDNA and Wolbachia in Aedes aegypti, as well as tissue specific Wolbachia density dysregulation. Before moving to Australia, Kimberley completed her undergraduate and Master’s degrees at the University of Otago, New Zealand.
World Mosquito Program
Prof Scott O’Neill, Director
Professor Scott O'Neill (PhD FAA FAAAS) is the Director of the World Mosquito Program. Scott spent his academic career at the University of Illinois, Yale University, the University of Queensland and Monash University where until recently he was the Dean of Science. Scott leads a large international not-for-profit initiative that works to protect the global community from mosquito-borne diseases, the World Mosquito Program.
Dr Stephanie Tanamas, Epidemiologist
Stephanie Tanamas joined the World Mosquito Program in 2017 as an epidemiologist, supporting impact assessment activities. Since receiving her PhD in epidemiology from Monash University, Stephanie has coordinated and analysed epidemiological research projects on non-communicable diseases at the Baker Institute Melbourne and overseas. Stephanie has recently returned from two years as a visiting research fellow at the United States National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Dr Inaki Iturbe-Ormaetxe, Lab & Microinjection Support Manager
Iñaki Iturbe-Ormaetxe (MSc, PhD) is a biologist with a background in biochemistry and plant physiology. As the Laboratory and Microinjection Support Manager Iñaki oversees the compliance and safety for the IVBD while providing research support. He also co-supervises the Microinjection team, who are responsible for generating and testing new mosquito lines that carry Wolbachia. He first started working on Wolbachia in 2002 at the University of Queensland as a molecular biologist.
Yi Dong, Diagnostics Support Manager
Yi Dong first joined the Diagnostics team in 2009 as a research assistant after completing her studies at Queensland University of Technology. She was part of the first Cairns trial and has seen the Diagnostics team’s technology progress from the traditional PCR methods to the highly sensitive and accurate LAMP method the team is using today.
Dr Jeremie Gilles, Director, Product Development & Supply
Jérémie Gilles is the Director for Product Development and Supply for the World Mosquito Program. He started working for the program in 2017 and has recently joined the Oceania hub at Monash University. Jérémie has a background in insect and plant bio ecology and chemistry as well as parasitology. Prior to joining the WMP, Jeremie was working at the UN FAO/IAEA Insect Pest Control Laboratory developing insect mass rearing related technology.
Dr Albert Joubert, Product Development Manager
Albert Joubert (MSc, PhD) is a molecular biologist with a background in plant and viral molecular biology. As the World Mosquito Program’s Product Development Manager, Al is responsible for the development of new technologies to enable rearing and releasing mosquitoes at scale, as well as supervising students and troubleshooting production and release issues. Al joined the WMP in 2012 as a postdoctoral scientist after working at Stellenbosch University, the CSIRO and the Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong.
Nichola Kenny, Research Support Manager
Nichola Kenny first joined the World Mosquito Program in 2008 as a research assistant while completing a degree in entomology and ecology. In her role as Research Support Manager, Nichola now oversees a team of staff who monitor the quality assurance of mass-production, development of training and knowledge transfer tools, backcrossing of country-specific release lines, and maintenance of the general stock colonies.
Anjali Goundar, Production Team Leader
Anjali first joined WMP in 2017 having previously collaborated with the then Eliminate Dengue Program through Melbourne University and later with the Singaporean Governments program for Aedes aegypti suppression using Wolbachia. Anjali has a Masters Degree in genetics and also has a Law degree. As the Production Team Leader, Anjali oversees a team of staff who produce mosquito eggs for release in the World Mosquito Program’s Pacific and Asian sites.