Dr Emma Harding-Esch
BA(Hons) MPhil MSc PhD AFHEA
I am an epidemiologist, with a focus on neglected tropical diseases (primarily trachoma) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
I obtained both my MSc (Control of Infectious Diseases) and PhD ("Trachoma control and elimination: Field studies in The Gambia and Senegal") from LSHTM, and led the field studies for the Partnership for the Rapid Elimination of Trachoma (PRET) trial in The Gambia. I also have experience of infectious disease surveillance, having been the Senior Enhanced Surveillance Scientist for CJD at Public Health England, and then a Principal Scientist in PHE's HIV/STI department. I was Senior Trials Coordinator for the eSTI2 Consortium, led by St George's, University of London, and subsequently the Programme Manager and Epidemiology Lead for the Applied Diagnostic Research and Evaluation Unit (ADREU), where I conducted several diagnostic evaluations to assess the performance, clinical and public health impacts of novel diagnostic technologies for STIs.
I returned to LSHTM in November 2017 as an Associate Professor and Chief Scientist for Tropical Data (www.tropicaldata.org), supporting national programmes to collect scientifically robust and standardised neglected tropical disease prevalence data, allowing interventions for disease elimination to be targeted and prioritised. Through this role, I support research to principally help improve NTD survey and diagnostic methods. I also continue to be involved in STI-related research.
I am Co-Module Organiser for the Distance Learning module: Control of Infectious Diseases (IDM104), and a Lead Educator for the Eliminating Trachoma MOOC (https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/eliminating-trachoma)
I also lecture on trachoma and mapping on several MSc modules, am a facilitator on the Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections module, am a personal tutor for the Control of Infectious Diseases MSc, and supervise MSc summer projects.
I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
My research interests are focused on the epidemiology of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), with a particular focus on trachoma, to inform the achievement and maintenance of disease elimination. This includes working with health ministries whose trachoma prevalence surveys have been supported by the Global Trachoma Mapping Project (GTMP) and Tropical Data, to explore questions relating to what factors are associated with achievement of elimination criteria, and development of methodologies for post-elimination validation surveillance.
I also have a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) epidemiology research focus, and have a particular interest in diagnostics. I recently worked on the ECDC-funded project: "Novel testing technologies, strategies and approaches for testing populations at risk of sexually transmitted infections: a systematic review protocol to inform prevention and control in EU/EEA countries". I am co-director of LSHTM's STI Research Interest Group (-: CLEANED :- https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/research/centres-projects-groups/stirig -: CLEANED :-), and co-director of LSHTM's WHO Collaborating Centre for Sexually Transmitted Infections (-: CLEANED :- https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/research/centres-projects-groups/whocc-sti -: CLEANED :-).
I am interested in exploring the commonalities between ocular and genital C. trachomatis, including the impact of mass drug administration on disease prevalence and antimicrobial resistance. I am a member of LSHTM's AMR Centre.
I supervise research degree students, covering the following research topics: modelling trachoma epidemiology and survey methodologies to achieve elimination; assessing the real-life accuracy of a new diagnostic test in yaws-endemic areas.
I am interested in supervising doctoral students working on:
- The diagnosis, epidemiology and elimination of trachoma (and other neglected tropical diseases), including for post-elimination validation surveillance.
- The epidemiology of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), evaluation of diagnostics for STIs and their public health impact.