Catharina Boehme: Chief Executive Officer
As CEO of FIND, Dr Catharina Boehme oversees the operations of the organization together with the assistance of the heads of programme and supporting staff.
In her previous roles at FIND, as Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Head of the TB programme, Catharina was responsible for the clinical evaluation of new tools for diagnosis for TB, malaria and neglected diseases. She also oversaw FIND’s downstream activities, which focused on laboratory strengthening, in-country validation and implementation. Catharina managed the R&D projects for several new point of care technologies and molecular diagnostic approaches, which required close interaction with the diagnostics industry, academia and WHO.
Since 2013, Catharina has been serving as co-Chair of the New Diagnostics Working Group of the Stop TB Partnership, and in April 2015 she became a member of the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group (STAG-TB).
Catharina has an extensive background in clinical evaluation and has managed over 30 early-stage trials, and five late-phase large-scale trials, including those for five diagnostic tools recently endorsed by WHO. She played a key role in FIND’s Xpert MTB/RIF feasibility, evaluation and implementation studies in 12 high-burden countries, with a focus on identifying ways to adapt the device for use in low-resource settings.
Prior to joining FIND in 2005, she worked as programme coordinator for the Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases in Munich, Germany and established a TB research unit at Mbeya Medical Research Program in Tanzania.
Catharina holds a Doctor of Medicine degree in Internal Medicine (Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Germany) and diplomas in Public Health (Charite, Berlin, Germany) and in Management & Leadership (University of Heidelberg, Germany).
Louisa Chaubert: Director of Finance
Louisa qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1991 after training in audit in the UK. She then worked in the tax department specializing in tax investigations and company taxation. In Switzerland, she set up an offshore audit practice before moving to the not for profit sector where she worked as Manager Controls and Procedures at WWF International developing and implementing financial systems.
She holds a UK Chartered Accountant qualification and a diploma in computer science.
Claudia Denkinger: Head of TB
Dr Claudia Denkinger completed her medical school training and doctoral thesis in immunology at the Julius-Maximilians University in Wuerzburg, Germany. She trained in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Harvard Medical School, Boston and also was the chief medical resident there.
After her internal medicine training, Claudia completed a Master in Tropical Medicine and International Public Health as well as a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has worked in non-governmental organizations in HIV and tuberculosis care in South Africa and South America.
After returning to the BIDMC for an infectious disease fellowship, Claudia went on to McGill University for a postdoctoral fellowship focused on tuberculosis epidemiology and impact assessment as well as mathematical modeling of tuberculosis diagnostics. She continues to hold a faculty appointment in the Division of Infectious Disease at the BIDMC, Harvard Medical School, Boston.
Sabine Dittrich: Head of Fever
Dr Sabine Dittrich is heading the fever work in FIND’s Fever, AMR and Outbreak programme. Prior to joining FIND as a Senior Scientific Officer in December 2015, she worked for five years for the University of Oxford (UK), based at the Lao-Oxford-Mahosot-Wellcome Trust Research Unit in Vientiane, Laos. Her work in Laos focused on better understanding and diagnosing the causes of non-malarial fevers with a particular focus on vector-borne or zoonotic bacterial infections. She completed her PhD in Biomolecular Science at the University of Manchester (UK) studying the folate pathway of P. falciparum and subsequently completed a Public Health Microbiology Fellowship (equivalent of EIS) which focused on outbreak response and preparedness with the European CDC (EPIET/EUPHEM), based at the Dutch National Institute of Public Health.
Iveth González: Head of Malaria
Dr Iveth J. González holds a degree in Medicine from the Universidad del Valle in Colombia and a PhD in Life Sciences from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. She has more than 15 years’ experience in basic and clinical research applied to tropical diseases, mainly malaria, leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease.
Iveth’s malaria research initially focused on the development of monkey models for vaccine development and then on the identification of clinical and molecular factors associated with antimalarial drug resistance. Furthermore, she conducted several clinical trials in endemic areas, evaluating diagnostic tools for malaria and leishmaniasis and evaluating the efficacy of antimalarial drugs.
Iveth joined FIND in 2008, where she leads activities for the development, implementation and quality control of improved diagnostics for malaria control and elimination. She has also significantly contributed to the establishment of new disease programmes at FIND – the Chagas Disease and Acute Febrile Syndrome programmes.
Jennifer Kealy: Head of Clinical & Reg. Affairs
Jennifer Kealy, Head of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs at FIND, has 25 years’ experience in all phases of drug development for therapeutic indications in cardiovascular medicine, oncology, neurology and infectious diseases. She began her career as an analytical chemist with Roche, transitioned into business development and then clinical research where she has held roles in project management, QA, monitoring and training.
Prior to joining FIND, Jennifer was Head of Quality Management Services and Senior Project Leader at the Swiss Tropical & Public Health Institute where she facilitated the development of vaccines against malaria and Ebola, managed an MDR TB trial in Uzbekistan and supported an MDA trial for LF in Indonesia.
From 2009-2013, Jennifer worked with the World Health Organization to build research capacity in Liberia as part of an onchocerciasis study, and also worked with NIDAG on the validation of rapid test kits in Cambodia and Nepal.
Her experience includes collaborations with numerous biopharmaceutical companies, CROs, academic partners and NGOs, including the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, University of Antwerp, DNDi and Médecins Sans Frontières.
Jennifer holds an MPH (Erasmus University) and a BSc in Biochemistry (University of Minnesota). She is a lecturer at the University of Basel, University of Geneva, DIA and ECPM.
Zachary Katz: Chief Access Officer
Zachary Katz joined FIND in September 2016. He was most recently the Senior Director of Diagnostic Services for the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), working to increase access to drugs and diagnostics for HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and other essential areas and playing an integral role in the introduction of new diagnostics for HIV. While at CHAI, Zach spearheaded a major effort to increase the use of point-of-care HIV diagnostics in seven high-burden countries, helping to create sustainable markets for those products. He also led in the conception and implementation of drastic global price reductions in HIV viral load and early infant testing, expected to save countries more than USD 150 million over five years.
Previously Zach held a number of in-country roles with CHAI, including Country Director of Papua New Guinea and Cambodia, and the Deputy Regional Directorship for Asia-Pacific.
Zach received his BA from Carleton College in the US and received an MPA from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.
Cassandra Kelly: Director of Emerging Threats
Dr Cassandra Kelly-Cirino, Director of Emerging Threats at FIND, has over 20 years of experience working in Canadian and US public health and private sector settings. Cassandra began her career at the Canadian National Microbiology Laboratory working on emerging infectious diseases, including bacteria, viruses and prions.
In her 10-year tenure at the Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Cassandra served as the Deputy Director of the Biodefense Laboratory, a heavily regulated and accredited laboratory. During this time Cassandra also completed a PhD in Immunology and Infectious Diseases and developed vaccine and passive immunotherapeutic candidates for anthrax infections. She engaged national and international stakeholders in the development of public health policy for infectious diseases with a focus on emergency response and preparedness, developed novel diagnostic assays for multiple pathogens, and served as a development partner for commercial companies developing novel tools to combat infectious diseases.
Most recently, Cassandra served as Vice President, Infectious Diseases with DNA Genotek, a Canadian company known for its sample stabilization and collection technologies. In this role Cassandra was responsible for multiple initiatives to bring simple collection and stabilization solutions to the global public health and outbreak response fields, including a Tuberculosis product designed specifically for low and middle income countries.
Francesco Marinucci: Head of HCV & HIV
Dr Francesco Marinucci has more than 16 years’ experience managing global health programs and working closely with ministries of health, NGOs and manufacturers. He brings a unique mix of corporate, non-profit, academic research and laboratory management expertise to his new role at FIND.
Francesco graduated in Chemistry from the University of Rome La Sapienza, and completed his PhD in Public Health and Microbiology from the same institution, with a research study on the epidemiology and transmission patterns of HIV and other STDs among rural populations in sub-Saharan Africa. He also holds a postgraduate diploma in Clinical Biochemistry from the School of Medicine of the University of Rome, Tor Vergata. More recently, he completed a Master in Distance Education and eLearning with the University of Maryland University College. He has been a member of different scientific societies and European Specialist in Laboratory Medicine since 2004.
From 2007 to 2012, Francesco worked at the Institute of Human Virology of the University of Maryland in Baltimore where he directed the Global Laboratory Program. In this position, he had oversight of a 20+ member team, providing strategic leadership and technical direction that the institute implemented under a PEPFAR grant in 9 countries. Under his leadership, the Global Laboratory Program supported 229 laboratories and trained hundreds of laboratory workers in the sub-Saharan African region, as well as in other PEPFAR countries in the Caribbean region.
For the past five years, Francesco has been working as Director of Essential Healthcare with Partec GmbH, then with Sysmex Corporation. His major focus was on strategy and business development related to access to quality diagnostic products, and on establishing new partnerships with WHO, UN agencies, ASLM and USAID. He also serves as speaker for the German Healthcare Partnership on topics related to laboratory medicine in sub-Saharan Africa.
Joseph Ndung'u: Head of NTD
Professor Joseph Ndung’u is the Head of FIND’s Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) programme. He has a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery (BVM) from the University of Nairobi, and a PhD on the immunopathology of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT or sleeping sickness) from the University of Glasgow’s Veterinary School in Scotland. He became a Visiting Professor of the University in 2001, and has held a similar position at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA. In 2013, he became a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (CorrFRSE).
Joseph started his professional career in 1985 at the Kenya Trypanosomiasis Research Institute (KETRI). In 1992 he became Deputy Director in charge of research, and in 1995, Director of KETRI. After 9 years in this position, he was transferred to KARI as Chief Research Officer. He moved to FIND in 2006 to establish the HAT diagnostics programme, which has since been expanded and re-named the NTD programme. In addition to HAT, the other diseases in the NTD portfolio include Leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, Buruli ulcer, Soil-Transmitted Helminthiases (STH) and Dengue. The programme also strategically addresses unmet diagnostic needs of NTD in the London Declaration of 2012.
Stefano Ongarello: Head of Data Services & Biobanking
Stefano Ongarello, Head of Data Services & Biobanking at FIND, graduated in Computer Science Engineering from the University of Padova, Italy, and later obtained his PhD in Bioengineering from the same university, focusing on the development of statistical methods for the analysis of high dimensional genomic and proteomic data. Stefano was subsequently involved in European research programs aimed at improving the early detection of prostate cancer, combining the results of traditional assays with those obtained via high-throughput technologies. He worked for many years in the pharmaceutical industry, focusing on the analysis of biomarker data that contributed to drug development in diverse therapeutic areas including oncology, rheumatology and fertility.
Prior to joining FIND, Stefano was Director of Biometrics at Quartz Bio, a clinical bioinformatics company, where he focused on the realization of personalized medicine for his customers’ clinical development programs. He joined FIND in May with the mission of providing statistical support in several disease areas, with a strong focus on HIV/AIDS to improve the characterization of diagnostic assays and to contribute to refine the methodology to estimate the incidence and prevalence of the disease.
Sharon Saacks: Director of Operations
Sharon Saacks joined FIND in May 2008. She is responsible for coordinating the organization’s operations internationally. Prior to joining FIND, Sharon worked as operations manager for a group of independent consultants who worked in the not-for-profit sector on international development. Sharon holds a Master degree in Biology from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Rangarajan Sampath: Chief Scientific Officer
Dr Rangarajan Sampath joined FIND in September 2017. Prior to his role as Chief Scientific Officer at FIND, Ranga was the co-founder of Ibis Biosciences and a co-inventor of the IRIDICA (CE-IVD) infectious disease diagnostics platform.
Most recently, Ranga served as a Volwiler Senior Research Fellow and Senior Director of R&D for the Ibis Division of Abbott. He led Ibis’ efforts in infectious disease diagnostics, antimicrobial resistance diagnostics and surveillance and was responsible for applications development, validation, data analysis and reporting and scientific research for the Ibis PCR/ESI-MS based IRIDICA platform.
Ranga has been the lead investigator on several programs related to bioinformatics, drug discovery, and biological-warfare agent detection and treatment. He has extensive experience working with stakeholders across the healthcare continuum to being innovative technologies to scale.
With over 200 publications and presentations and over 40 patents in infectious disease diagnostics and its impact on patient management, Ranga’s research interests include antimicrobial strategy development, pathogen discovery, fevers of unknown origin, tropical diseases, epidemiological surveillance and biothreat detection.
Ranga earned a PhD in chemical engineering from Rice University in Houston, Texas in 1995 and a B. Tech in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai, India, in 1989.