Profession & Career

ESCMID Panorama

Awardees 2016

The 2016 awards went to Sanne Jespersen, Robert P. Ryan and Timothy M. Walker for their outstanding scientific achievements.



Sanne Jespersen (Aarhus, Denmark)

Dr Sanne Jespersen graduated from Aarhus University where she received her PhD in 2015. Currently, she is doing her infectious disease training at Aarhus University Hospital and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Motivated by her special interest in HIV, tropical diseases and global health, she has been working in various places including Lesotho, Ireland, Guinea-Bissau, and Greenland. Recently, she has been with Médecins Sans Frontières treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone.

During her PhD studies, she investigated HIV treatment in Guinea-Bissau based on data from the Bissau HIV Cohort, which is the largest single centre cohort of HIV-2 infected individuals. Sanne Jespersen has published several articles describing the specific challenges of delivering antiretroviral treatment in sub-Saharan Africa. Her work represents an important contribution to optimal HIV treatment in extreme resource-poor and politically unstable countries and applying the tools of science under difficult circumstances.

Sanne will receive her award during the ESCMID Young Investigator Awards Session at ECCMID on 11 April 2016 from 14.30 – 15.30 in Hall K. During the session, she will give her presentation: ‘The missing link in HIV treatment delivery in Africa illustrated by the Bissau HIV Cohort’

Robert P. Ryan (Dundee, United Kingdom)

Dr Robert Ryan is a reader at the Division of Molecular Microbiology, University of Dundee. In 2005, he gained a PhD in molecular microbiology, and took up a postdoc position at University College Cork. Subsequent years under the auspices of EMBO, HFSP, SFI and Royal Irish Academy fellowships, he worked in the laboratories at the Karolinska Institute, Universidade de São Paulo, University of Copenhagen and Dartmouth Medical School. In 2010, he was awarded a Science Foundation Ireland Starting Investigator award to set up his own group at University College Cork and in 2013 moved to Dundee having gained a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow. In 2015, he was awarded the Lister Institute Research Prize Fellowship award, which seeks to help support and nurture future leaders in biosciences and genetics. His current work centres on understanding the role that interspecies signalling plays in influencing both bacterial virulence and response to therapy in various polymicrobial infections.

Robert will be presented with his award during the ESCMID Young Investigator Awards Session at ECCMID on 11 April 2016 from 14.30 – 15.30 in Hall K. During the session, he will present some of his research under the title: ‘Disrupting the infectious conversation: understanding polybacterial infections as a route towards combating antibiotic resistance’.

Timothy M. Walker (Oxford, United Kingdom)

Dr Timothy Walker first studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford before taking the unusual step of retraining in clinical medicine. After qualifying from London he obtained a specialist training position in microbiology and infectious diseases in Oxford where he subsequently took time out to pursue a DPhil within the Modernising Medical Microbiology (MMM) research group as a Medical Research Council training fellow. His current position is as an NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer at the University of Oxford where he divides his time between clinical training and further pursuing his research interests within MMM alongside a large multi-disciplinary network of investigators.

His research focuses on how whole-genome sequencing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis can better guide public health investigations into tuberculosis outbreaks, and how genomic mutations can predict phenotypic drug susceptibility. The work has influenced the government’s decision to invest in routine whole-genome sequencing for mycobacterial infections in England from 2016 onwards.

Timothy will receive his award during the ESCMID Young Investigator Awards Session at ECCMID on 11 April 2016 from 14.30 – 15.30 in Hall K. During the session, he will give his presentation: ‘How can whole-genome sequencing help eradicate tuberculosis?’

Last update: 16 February 2016