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

Full Professor
Main activities
Education, Research, Other
Global Health
Focus of research

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

Key publications
  • Cobelens Frank, Kik Sandra, Esmail Hanif, Cirillo Daniela Maria, Lienhardt Christian, Matteelli Alberto From latent to patent: rethinking prediction of tuberculosis lancet. Respiratory medicine 2017;5 (4):243-244 [PubMed]
  • Durovni Betina, Saraceni Valeria, van den Hof Susan, Trajman Anete, Cordeiro-Santos Marcelo, Cavalcante Solange, Menezes Alexandre, Cobelens Frank Impact of replacing smear microscopy with Xpert MTB/RIF for diagnosing tuberculosis in Brazil: a stepped-wedge cluster-randomized trial PLoS medicine 2014;11 (12):e1001766 [PubMed]
  • Cobelens Frank, van Kampen Sanne, Ochodo Eleanor, Atun Rifat, Lienhardt Christian Research on Implementation of Interventions in Tuberculosis Control in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review PLoS medicine 2012;9 (12):e1001358 [PubMed]
  • Cobelens Frank, van den Hof Susan, Pai Madhukar, Squire S. Bertel, Ramsay Andrew, Kimerling Michael E., Bhan Anant, Chin Daniel, Dewan Puneet, Durovni Betina, Dye Chris, Goldhaber-Fiebert Jeremy, Harper Ian, Langley Ivor, Leeflang Mariska, Lienhardt Christian, McCray Eugene, Mukadi Ya Diul, Nicol Mark, O'Brien Rick, Ridderhof John, Schito Marco, Small Peter, Vassall Anna, Zhao Yanlin Which New Diagnostics for Tuberculosis, and When? Journal of infectious diseases 2012;205 (2):S191-S198 [PubMed]
  • Vassall Anna, van Kampen Sanne, Sohn Hojoon, Michael Joy S., John K. R., den Boon Saskia, Davis J. Lucian, Whitelaw Andrew, Nicol Mark P., Gler Maria Tarcela, Khaliqov Anar, Zamudio Carlos, Perkins Mark D., Boehme Catharina C., Cobelens Frank Rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis with the Xpert MTB/RIF assay in high burden countries: a cost-effectiveness analysis PLoS medicine 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

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

G.B. Gomez Guillen PhD
S. van den Hof PhD

P. Chanda PhD
S.M. Hermans MD MSc PhD