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Prof. dr. F.G.J. Cobelens MD MSc PhD

Position
Professor
Main activities
Research, Teaching
Specialisation
Global Health
Focus of research

Epidemiology and control of poverty-related infectious diseases, in particular tuberculosis

Key publications
  • Cobelens F, Kik S, Esmail H, Cirillo DM, Lienhardt C, Matteelli A, From latent to patent: rethinking prediction of tuberculosis. LANCET RESP MED 2017;5 (4):243-244 [PubMed]
  • Durovni B, Saraceni V, van den Hof S, Trajman A, Cordeiro-Santos M, Cavalcante S, Menezes A, Cobelens F, Impact of replacing smear microscopy with Xpert MTB/RIF for diagnosing tuberculosis in Brazil: a stepped-wedge cluster-randomized trial. PLOS MED 2014;11 (12):e1001766 [PubMed]
  • Cobelens F, van Kampen S, Ochodo E, Atun R, Lienhardt C, Research on Implementation of Interventions in Tuberculosis Control in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review. PLOS MED 2012;9 (12):e1001358 [PubMed]
  • Cobelens F, van den Hof S, Pai M, Squire SB, Ramsay A, Kimerling ME [Contributors: Bhan A, Chin D, Dewan P, Durovni B, Dye C, Goldhaber-Fiebert J, Harper I, Langley I, Leeflang M, Lienhardt C, McCray E, Mukadi YD, Nicol M, O'Brien R, Ridderhof J, Schito M, Small P, Vassall A, Zhao Y]] , Which New Diagnostics for Tuberculosis, and When?. J INFECT DIS 2012;205 (2):S191-S198 [PubMed]
  • Vassall A, van Kampen S, Sohn H, Michael JS, John KR, den Boon S, Davis JL, Whitelaw A, Nicol MP, Gler MT, Khaliqov A, Zamudio C, Perkins MD, Boehme CC, Cobelens F, Rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis with the Xpert MTB/RIF assay in high burden countries: a cost-effectiveness analysis. PLOS MED 2011;8 (11):e1001120 [PubMed]
All Publications
Curriculum Vitae

Prof. Frank Cobelens MD MSc PhD (1959) studied medicine at the University of Amsterdam and communicable disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and took his PhD at the University of Amsterdam. After having worked for several years in HIV/AIDS control and tropical and travel medicine, he became involved in epidemiological research on tuberculosis in Asia, Africa and Latin America as senior epidemiologist with the Dutch NGO KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, one of the world’s leading technical agencies for tuberculosis control. Since 2008 he has lead the tuberculosis research group at what later became the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD) and the Department of Global Health of the Academic Medical Center, where he was appointed full professor in 2011. From 2013 through 2015 he combined this position with that of KNCV’s Scientific Director.
He was appointed chair of the Department of Global Health and chair of the Executive Board of AIGHD in January 2016, and has since been leading a large interdisciplinary group of researchers, including epidemiologists, clinical researchers and microbiologists, as well as socials scientists and economists. He remains partially affiliated with KNCV as scientific advisor. Frank Cobelens works closely with research groups around the world, and has supervised numerous junior researchers and doctoral students at home and abroad. His scientific interest is in multidisciplinary approaches to problems at the interface of biomedical aspects of infectious diseases, their socioeconomic context and control policy, combining classical epidemiology with operational research and cost-effectiveness and disease modeling. He has served on numerous global expert panels and advisory bodies, including the World Health Organization’s Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Tuberculosis.

 


 

Research programmes

Epidemiology and control of poverty-related infectious diseases

This group’s work focuses on the epidemiology and control of tuberculosis (TB) in resource-poor settings, in particular TB-HIV co-infection, anti-TB drug resistance, and new diagnostics. We work closely, through joint affiliations, with KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation (the world’s foremost technical assistance organization in TB control) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, as well as with research institutes in low- and middle-income countries such as South Africa, China, Uganda, Mozambique, Zambia and Brazil and in the USA and elsewhere in Europe. Using a combination of epidemiological, operational and evaluation/impact research, decision-analytical/cost-effectiveness modelling and (in collaboration) transmission modelling, we attempt to fill for each of these the knowledge gap between basic research and development of new interventions on the one hand, and successful implementation of these interventions on the other. This involves establishing the needs and conditions for new interventions (e.g. by studying risk groups and risk factors for infection and disease, associations with M. tuberculosis genotypes), evaluation of such interventions (e.g. diagnostic studies; clinical and community-randomized trials; operational aspects) and assessment of their impact on TB control, health services and costs (field studies, modelling). Since 2008 we have done original work, reviews and policy development around, among other, impact of the HIV epidemic on TB epidemiology; epidemiology of (multi)drug-resistant TB; role of genotype variation in clinical outcomes and drug resistance in Asia and Africa; usefulness, cost-effectiveness and impact on TB control of new diagnostics for latent and active TB; and cost-effectiveness of new treatment modalities. Recently we have started work (empirical as well as modelling) on understanding TB susceptibility, latency, disease progression and disease recurrence; development of the "triage test" concept for TB; and evaluation of new drug regimens for treatment of MDR-TB.

Faculty
Prof. dr. F.G.J. Cobelens MD MSc PhD (Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development; KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation)
Dr. G.B. Gomez Guillen (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine)
S. van den Hof PhD (KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation)

Postdocs
Dr. S.M. Hermans MSc PhD
Dr. P. Kapata-Chanda (Department of Disease Surveillance, Control and Research, Ministry of Health, Lusaka, Zambia)

PhD Students
J.R. Andrews
P. Hanson-Nortey
W. Jiang
A. Lopez Garcia-Basteiro
S.N. Ng
B.J. Patterson
K. Phommasone
I.T. Spruijt
V. Ssempijja MSc
A.J.W. Wajja

Other research related activities
  • Board of directors / Trustees / Supervisory board, Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development
  • (part-time) outside employment, KNCV Tuberculosefonds
  • Board of directors / Trustees / Supervisory board, Health[e] Foundation
  • Membership of medical or scientific committee, BMBF (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) - Germany, scientific advisory board: Research Networks for Health Innovations in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Membership of medical or scientific committee, The Union (International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease), scientific advisory board STREAM trial
  • Membership of medical or scientific committee, BMRC (British Medical Research Council), scientific advisory board STAMP trial
  • Contribution to guidelines and protocols, World Health Organization's guidelines for surveillance of drug resistance (2008)
  • Membership of medical or scientific committee, WHO (World Health Organization), Expert committee, line-probe assays for rapid screening for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (2008)
  • Membership of medical or scientific committee, WHO (World Health Organization), Expert committee, non-commercial culture-based methods for detection of drug-resistant tuberculosis (2009)
  • Contribution to guidelines and protocols, World Health Organization's guidelines on case definitions for surveillance of tuberculosis (2011)
  • Membership of medical or scientific committee, WHO (World Health Organization), Expert committee, automated real-time nucleic acid amplification technology for diagnosis and simultaneous detection of tuberculosis and rifampicin resistance (Xpert MTB/Rif System) (2010, update 2013)
  • Membership of medical or scientific committee, WHO (World Health Organization), Expert committee, use of Delamanid in the treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (2014)
  • Membership of medical or scientific committee, WHO (World Health Organization), Task Force new tuberculosis drugs and drug regimens (2014-2016)
  • Membership of medical or scientific committee, WHO (World Health Organization), Task Force methods for establishing TB incidence, prevalence and mortality (2015)
  • Membership of medical or scientific committee, WHO (World Health Organization), Task Force new assays for latent tuberculosis infection (since 2015)
  • Contribution to guidelines and protocols, World Health Organization's guidelines on resistance surveillance in tuberculosis (5th ed., 2015)
  • External member, 5-year review committee postgraduate MSc Epidemiology (2015), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK
  • Membership of medical or scientific committee, WHO (World Health Organization), Task Force tuberculosis research policy (since 2016)