Prof Umberto D'Alessandro
MRC - Unit Director
Medical Research Council The Gambia Unit
Prof. Umberto D'Alessandro graduated in Medicine & Surgery at the University of Pisa, Italy, and then obtained both his MSc and PhD at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, in 1990 and 1996 respectively. He worked as a clinician in Benin and Kenya. In 1990, he joined the MRC Unit The Gambia as clinical epidemiologist and carried out the evaluation of the Gambian National Program on insecticide-treated bed nets that showed the intervention decreased mortality among children by 25%. In 1996, he joined the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium, where he developed a research program around three themes: antimalarial treatment, including drug resistance, malaria prevention, and the P. vivax in vitro cycle, implemented in several malaria endemic countries, e.g. Uganda, Burkina Faso, Benin, Vietnam, Peru, etc. In 2011, he joined the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia (MRCG) as the leader of the Disease Control & Elimination Theme. In January 2014, he was appointed Director of the Unit and Professor of Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. His research program on malaria is built around questions related to malaria elimination/eradication.
I taught for several years in the MSc Disease Control at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium. I was also member of the management team of this MSc course. I was also course organizer for several years of the International course on Planning and Management of Tropical Diseases Control Programmes (10 weeks) at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium. I have also taught in other courses in Italy and The Netherlands. I have supervised 24 PhD students who completed their degree. I am currently supervising 5 PhD students. I was also the supervisor of 34 MSc students. I am currently teaching in the introductory course of epidemiology and medical statistics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
My main research interest has been and continue to be on malaria, although I have been involved in research on hepatitis B, bacterial diseases, and more recently COVID-19. For malaria, I have investigated malaria transmission in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America, and evaluated preventive interventions such as insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor residual spraying, mass drug administration, and malaria vaccines. I have also evaluated new antimalarial treatments and drug resistance, and new tools for the diagnosis of malaria, both for patients with suspected clinical malaria and for asymptomatic carriers.