May 20, 2022

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD — Emerging Diseases and Zoonoses Unit Head — World Health Organization

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, health

Preparedness For Emerging Diseases & Zoonoses — Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, Ph.D., Emerging Diseases and Zoonoses Unit Head, World Health Organization, (WHO)

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, Ph.D., ( is an infectious disease epidemiologist who serves as the technical lead for the COVID-19 response at the World Health Organization (, where she develops guidance, training programs, and information products for the continuously evolving state of the pandemic, as well serving as the Emerging Diseases and Zoonoses Unit Head.

Dr. Van Kerkhove began her journey in global health given her interest in viruses and how they infect and impact both humans and animals. She received her undergraduate degree in biological sciences from Cornell University, her master’s degree in epidemiology from Stanford University, and a PhD in infectious disease epidemiology from the London School of Tropical Hygiene and Medicine where she authored her PhD on pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 in Cambodia.

Following her PhD, Dr. Van Kerkhove was a postdoctoral researcher with the WHO and acted as a liaison for the Imperial College London’s Medical Research Council Centre for Outbreak Analysis.

Dr. Van Kerkhove continued working with the WHO and prior to COVID-19, was serving as the MERS-CoV Technical Lead in addition to being the Unit Head for the Emerging Disease and Zoonoses Unit. Her focus in these areas includes developing prevention and control programs around high threat respiratory pathogens.

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