New Directors appointed to MRC Unit The Gambia

Professor Umberto D’Alessandro has been appointed to the post of Unit Director with effect from 1st January 2014.  Umberto is a clinical epidemiologist with specialist training in public health. 

Professor Umberto D’Alessandro, Unit Director and Joan Vives Tomas, Director of Operations

Professor Umberto D’Alessandro, Unit Director and Joan Vives Tomas, Director of Operations

He has worked extensively in Africa and Asia, including The Gambia where he led the evaluation of the national bed net programme based in Farafenni for 3 years, and ran a clinical trial of a malaria vaccine in Basse.

Umberto went on to the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, where he set up The Unit of Epidemiology and Control of Parasitic Diseases.  He returned to The Gambia in January 2011 as Theme Leader – Disease Control & Elimination, MRC Unit The Gambia because, as he said, ‘I wanted to go a bit closer to the field’.

He is married to Annette Erhart (also a clinical epidemiologist) and has grown up children.

Joan Vives-Tomas has been appointed as Director of Operations. Joan is currently the Oxygen Project Manager (Child Survival Theme, MRC Unit The Gambia), having worked previously with The Unit’s Research Support Office.

Joan held a number of executive-level posts prior to coming to The Gambia, where he has been based for the past three years.  He was Economic and Financial Director at the Barcelona Centre of International Health Research at the University of Barcelona (CRESIB), Director of Operations at Manhica Health Research Centre in Mozambique and has senior level experience in industry.

Joan holds Master Degrees in Health Economics, and Operations and Services Management.  He is married to Dr Anna Roca (epidemiologist) and they have two daughters.

The current Unit Director, Professor Tumani Corrah, steps down on 31st December 2013.