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Thomas Jaenisch

Associate Professor

​Dr. Jaenisch is an Infectious Disease Epidemiologist and Clinical Scientist. For the last 15 years, he has coordinated multicentric observational clinical research projects on arbovirus infections like Dengue or Zika.

His research was instrumental to provide key evidence for the WHO Dengue classification of 2009. After that, he focused on warning signs for severe Dengue and on standardized severe disease endpoints in Dengue. When the Zika epidemic hit Latin America in 2016, he was able to use the existing network of partners to mount a research response against Zika. 

Dr. Jaenisch is involved in large multicentric pregnant women and children cohorts in Latin America as well as in Data Sharing and Harmonization of Infectious Disease cohorts, building on the ongoing Zika birth cohorts. 

Dr Jaenisch was trained as a Medical Doctor in Germany, has obtained a PhD in International Health at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and has worked in Tropical Medicine and Global Health at Heidelberg University Hospital from 2005-2019. He was recently recruited as the Director of the new Arbovirus Research Consortium (ARC), located at the Center for Global Health at the Colorado School of Public Health. 

Research Interests: 
  • Infectious Disease Epidemiology
  • Clinical Epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Arboviruses (including Dengue, Zika, Chikungunya)
  • Emerging Infectious Diseases, Drivers of Emergence
  • Neglected Tropical Diseases
  • Data Sharing and Harmonization of Cohort Data 
  • Role of Infectious Diseases as Exposures for Non-Communicable Diseases
  • Ecohealth / Planetary Health

Courses taught: 
  • EPID 6690: MPH Capstone Preparation
  • EPID 6691: MPH Capstone Integration

Current Research Projects: 
  • EC Horizon 2020: ReCoDID, “Reconciliation of Cohort Data for Infectious Diseases” (01/2019-12/22, Principal Investigator). ​​​​ReCoDID (‘Reconciliation of Cohort data in Infectious Diseases’), is a four-year project supported by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Programme and by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Genetics (CIHR-IG). The consortium brings together a multidisciplinary team from four continents to fast track the research response to viruses and other pathogens by facilitating data and sample sharing between infectious disease cohort studies. []
  • EC EU-LAC programme:  ArboFusion, “Arbovirus science based on blood transfusion” (05/19-04/22, Co-PI). We develop new arbovirus diagnostic tools based on generic flavivirus and alphavirus real time RT-PCR protocols and nanopore sequencing technology; and apply these tools by screening blood donations across eco-epidemiological gradients in Ecuador and socio-economic gradient in Sao Paulo state, Brazil. 
  • German Centre for Infectious Disease Research: ZikaPath, “Clinical and Molecular Investigation of Zika Virus Pathogenesis” (05/17 – 12/19, Co-PI). In this project, we carry out an extended post-epidemic Zika seroprevalence survey in Recife, Brazil, including comparisons between different socio-economic backgrounds. 
  • EC Horizon 2020: ZIKAlliance, ”A Global Alliance for Zika Virus Control and Prevention” (10/16 – 09/20, multiple PI). ZIKAlliance is a multinational and multi-disciplinary research consortium comprised of 54 partners worldwide and coordinated by Inserm, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research. ZIKAlliance is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme. The project will investigate clinical, fundamental, environmental and social aspects of ZIKV infection. In particular, ZIKAlliance will focus on the impact of ZIKV infection during pregnancy and the natural history of ZIKV in humans and their environment. In collaboration with two other EC funded consortia (ZikaPLAN and ZIKAction), ZIKAlliance will also work on the development of a preparedness platform in Latin America and the Caribbean. []

  • J.W.G University Frankfurt/Main, Germany: ‘Magister Artium’ in Philosophy, 1997
  • J.W.G University Frankfurt/Main, Germany: MD, 1998
  • Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA: PhD in International Health/Disease Control, 2008
  • Heidelberg University Hospital, Germany: Board Certification in Microbiology, Virology and Infectious Disease Epidemiology, 2014
  • Heidelberg University Hospital, Germany: Board Certification in Tropical Medicine, 2017

Recent Publications:
  1. Messina JP, Brady OJ, Golding, N, Kraemer MUG, Wint GRW, Ray SE, Pigott DM, Shearer F, Johnson K, Earl L, Marczak LB, Shirude S, Weaver ND, Gilbert M, Velayudhan R, Jones P, Jaenisch T, Scott TW, Reiner RC, Hay SI. The current and future global distribution and population at risk of dengue. Nature Microbiology 2019, Sep;4(9):1508-1515. doi:10.1038/s41564-019-0476-8. PMID 31182801
  2. Koopmans M, de Lamballerie X, Jaenisch T, on behalf of the Zikalliance Consortium.  Familiar barriers still unresolved — a perspective on the Zika virus outbreak research response. Lancet Inf Dis 2018. PMID 30420230
  3. Jaenisch T, Rosenberger KD, Brito C, Brady OJ, Brasil P, Marques ET. Estimating the risk for microcephaly after Zika virus infection in Brazil. Bull World Health Organ, 2017 Mar;95(3):191-198- doi. 10.2471/BLT16.178608. PMID 28250532

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