3rd International Meeting on Childhood Tuberculosis

Online meeting hosted from Sofia Bulgaria, 23rd – 24th September 2021



The program and list of speakers is currently being finalized. pTBnet has a proven track record of attracting the highest caliber of international speakers on all areas of childhood TB.

Confirmed speakers include:

Professor Beate Kampmann, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, founding chair of pTBnet.

Professor Simon Schaaf, Stellenbosch University, renowned expert in the clinical care of children with tuberculosis.

Speaker Bios

Prof H. Simon Schaaf is Distinguished Professor and Senior Specialist in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine and Child Health, Stellenbosch University. He completed his doctoral degree in drug-resistant tuberculosis in children at Stellenbosch University. He is an active clinician and infectious diseases subspecialist, with a special interest in tuberculosis in children. He has published extensively, with the emphasis of his research on childhood tuberculosis with special focus on MDR-TB and antituberculosis drug pharmacokinetics in children.

Professor Beate Kampmann holds a Chair in Paediatric Infection & Immunity at the LSHTM, London and was appointed as the Scientific Director (Theme Leader) for Vaccines & Immunity research at the MRC Unit-The Gambia in July 2010. She also directs The Vaccine Centre at the LSHTM. She has set up a comprehensive childhood infection research program both in the UK and sub-saharan Africa and holds an MRC Program Grant to improve the diagnosis and management of childhood tuberculosis- the Reach4Kids program, recently extended to 3 other African countries.

In 2009 she was awarded an NIHR Senior Research Training Fellowship and conducted a research study in childhood tuberculosis diagnostics involving 9 NHS Trusts in the UK. Professor Kampmann set up and initially led the ptbnet, a European network of clinicians and scientists working together in childhood TB in more than 30 countries in Europe. 

Beate has extensive practical and research experience in childhood infection for over 15 years with over 200 publications and brings an established funding track record as PI and co-applicant from major international funders for the conduct of laboratory-based and programmatic research in TB and Vaccinology in both resource-poor and resource rich settings. She acts as an advisor on childhood tuberculosis to the NIH, the WHO and other stakeholders and chairs a numbered of scientific advisory committees. She remains clinically active at Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust where she is part of the Infectious Diseases Consultant team.

Antoni Noguera-Julian, MD, PhD, is a Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at Hospital Sant Joan de Déu in Barcelona (Spain). He is a Professor of Paediatrics at Universitat de Barcelona and coordinates the Master Course in Paediatric Health (Hospital de Nens, Universitat de Barcelona) as well. He graduated from the Universitat de Barcelona in 1997 and completed his internship and residency in Paediatrics at Hospital Sant Joan de Déu in 2003. Dr. Noguera-Julian´s areas of interest include HIV and other vertically transmitted infections and tuberculosis in the pediatric age.

Svetlana Velizarova

Associate Profesor S. Velizarova is specialist in the Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Medical University – Sofia, Bulgaria. She completed her doctoral degree in Diagnostic value to IGRA test in different form of tuberculosis in children. She is an active clinician and specialist of pulmonary diseases and paediatrics, with a special interest in tuberculosis in children. She is a chief of the clinic of tuberculosis in children in Bulgaria. Her publication is with special focus on immunology, diagnostic of children TB and BCG vaccination.

Steve Welch  

Clinical Lead for Paediatric TB, Birmingham and Solihull, UK. Consultant in Paediatric HIV and Infectious Diseases, University Hospitals Birmingham, UK 2006 onwards. Training Lead for ptbnet since 2016, and for Penta since 2010. Enjoys living quietly, gardening and walking his dog.

Dr Katharina Kranzer is a UK trained clinical microbiologist and virologist with a PhD in epidemiology (LSHTM). Following her CCT she headed the national and supranational tuberculosis reference laboratory in Germany from 2015-2018. In October 2018 she has taken-up a clinical associate professorship at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and is currently seconded to Zimbabwe.

She is deputy director of the Zimbabwe LSHTM Research Partnership and co-director of the TB centre at LSHTM. In Zimbabwe she is the site-PI for large multi-site DFIF funded study (FIEBRE) investigating the underlying causes of fever and is involved in a large cluster-randomised trial (CHIEDZA) that aims to investigate the impact of community provision of integrated sexual and reproductive health (SRH), HIV and general health services.He research interest is HIV, TB, antimicrobial resistance and SRH with specific focus on adolescents and improving access to care and diagnostics.

She has co-authored more than 120 publications and is very committed to laboratory and research capacity building.

Maria Tsolia is currently Professor and Chair of Paediatrics and Paediatric Infectious Diseases at the Second Department of Paediatrics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), P. and A. Kyriakou Children’s Hospital. Professor Tsolia graduated from NKUA   and was trained in the U.S.A. She was then trained as a fellow in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey and at Columbia University Medical Centre in New York. After completion of her training until today she has been working at the Second Department of Paediatrics of NKUA at the P. and A. Kyriakou Children’s hospital. Since 2013 she has been Chair of the Department.  

Professor M. Tsolia has served as Board member, Committee member and for two terms as Secretary of ESPID. She is Board member, founding member and former Secretary of the Hellenic Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases, Chair of the hospital’ s Infection Control Committee, member of the National Committee for Tuberculosis Control and Prevention and the National Committee for Immunization Practices. 

Maria Tsolia has a special scientific interest in the epidemiology of vaccine preventable infectious diseases, respiratory infections and tuberculosis. The Unit for Clinical Research in Infectious Diseases of the Second Department of Paediatrics under Prof Tsolia’ s supervision participates in multi-center clinical trials of vaccines and antibiotics and also in research networks such as the ARPEC, the GARPEC – PENTA ID, the PED-MERMAIDS PENTA ID, RANIN -KIDS and PERFORM.  Prof Tsolia is also a founding member of the Paediatric Tuberculosis Network European Trials Group (PTBNET). The acronym PERFORM stands for” Personalized Risk assessment of febrile illness to optimize risk management across the EU”. This is an ambitious 5-year collaborative Horizon2020 project which aims to develop a comprehensive management plan for febrile patients with the use of new genomic and proteomic approaches. 

Maria Tsolia has supervised 8 PhD students and currently supervises 5 thesis projects. She co-chairs a 2-year Postgraduate NKUA Diploma in Paediatric Infectious Diseases established in 2017. She has been the author or a co-author of over 120 publications in international peer-review journals (SCI) and about 60 publications in the Greek language.  

Robin Basu Roy is a National Institute for Health Research Academic Clinical Lecturer/Clinical Assistant Professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. His research has focused on the spectrum of childhood TB, from immunity against latent infection through to diagnosis in TBM. He is a long-standing member and big fan of ptbnet.

Dr Marc Tebruegge is an honorary Associate Professor in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at the Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, University College London and a Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases & Immunology at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. He also holds an honorary position as Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne.

 His main research interests are TB diagnostics and non-tuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infections. He is currently the elected Research Officer of the Paediatric Tuberculosis Network European Trials Group (ptbnet), and a member of the WHO New TB Diagnostics Working Group. He is also serving on the Editorial Board of several journals, including PLoS ONE, Frontiers in Pediatrics, and the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal (ESPID Reports and Reviews). To date he has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, mainly on TB and NTM infections.

James Seddon is a Clinical Senior Lecturer at Imperial College London and an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Stellenbosch University. He also works as an Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at St. Mary’s Hospital in London and divides his time between Cape Town and UK. His major area of research is that of children with tuberculosis, specifically drug-resistant forms. James studied medicine at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and Imperial College London and has worked as an infantry officer in the British army, as a doctor for Médecins Sans Frontières in Côte d’Ivoire and as an expedition doctor in Patagonia. During 2017 he spent six months at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine in Harvard University on a Fulbright Scholarship evaluating different strategies to combat drug-resistant tuberculosis in children. Currently James is funded through an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship to evaluate correlates of risk in children exposed to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. He is chronically sleep-deprived and occasionally a bit grumpy as he has two young children.

Dr Liz Whittaker is Consultant and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer in paediatric infectious diseases and immunology. She divides her time between Imperial College London and the Department of Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology, St. Marys Hospital, London where she is the lead for Paediatric TB services. 

Liz graduated from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and following clinical experience in Dublin and Brisbane, Australia, moved to London. Here she trained as a paediatrician and was successfully awarded an academic clinical fellowship in paediatric infectious diseases in 2006. The nine-month research period associated with this fellowship allowed her to develop her interest in paediatric infectious diseases and involved a couple of research projects on tuberculosis biomarkers and interferon gamma release assays (IGRA). She completed the Gorgas Diploma Course in clinical tropical medicine in Peru and was awarded a DTM&H in 2009. 

Dr Whittaker completed her Wellcome Trust funded PhD project ‘Immune responses to mycobacteria; the role of age and disease severity’ in 2014, based between Imperial College London and the University of Cape Town in South Africa. The project was supervised by Professor Beate Kampmann at Imperial College and Professors Mark Nicol and Heather Zar at the University of Cape Town, where all of the children were recruited at Red Cross Memorial Children’s Hospital.  She was fortunate to complete her lab work in the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine in Cape Town, working closely with both Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative (CIDRI) and the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI). She completed her paediatric training in 2016, combining clinical and research experience as an NIHR-funded academic clinical lecturer. 

Her current research interests are in Adolescent TB, TB co-infections and susceptibility to disease, and CMV infections in the perinatal period. 

Dr Whittaker is the paediatric specialty co-lead for the North West London Clinical Research Network. In this role, she leads the development of local clinical research network activity in paediatrics, encouraging local clinicians to participate in NIHR clinical research network portfolio studies. She is PI on a number of clinical trials at Imperial College NHS Trust.  She is the secretary of the British Paediatric Allergy, Infection and Immunity Group (BPAIIG) and on the steering committee of the British Association of Paediatric TB (BAPT). Dr Whittaker has a strong interest in teaching and training and currently is the quality adviser to the paediatric allergy, immunology and infectious diseases CSAC committee at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Gerard de Vries
Current function: Gerard de Vries is the National Coordinator TB Control at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in the Netherlands.
Current projects:
– ECDC project ‘Country support for TB elimination in Europe’ (2019-2023);
– Collaboration with the Surinamese TB programme.
Memberships: Member of the ECDC Tuberculosis Disease Network Coordinating Committee

De Vries graduated medical school in 1986 and is a specialist in public health since 2001. He worked as a ‘tropical doctor’ in Zambia (1989-1992) and Ghana (1993-1996) and completed his Masters in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in 1997. He worked at the TB Control Department of the Municipal Public Health Services (GGD) in Rotterdam (1999-2009) as a TB public health physician and was head of this department from 2001-2008. From 2009 until 2019 he was employed at KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation and responsible for coordinating TB control in the Netherlands and several European projects.

In 2009, De Vries completed his PhD on molecular epidemiology for urban TB control. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles on different aspects of TB. He was responsible for the development of two Dutch National TB Control Plans (2010-2015, 2016-2020) and for the monitoring of the implementation of these plans.

A/Prof Dr Nicole Ritz (MD & PhD)
A/Prof Dr Nicole Ritz is a clinician-scientist at the University Children’s Hospital Basel (UKBB) in Basel Switzerland. She is a paediatrician and infectious diseases specialist trained in Switzerland, South Africa and Australia. She obtained her MD at the University of Berne (Switzerland) and her PhD at the University of Melbourne (Australia). She currently works as a consultant in paediatric infectious diseases and is the head of the immigrant health service at the UKBB.
Dr Ritz leads the mycobacterial research group at the UKBB. She has authored key publications on the immune response of BCG vaccine strains and changes in BCG immunisation policy in Europe. Her current research focuses on the development of novel immunodiagnostic assays for children with tuberculosis and HIV-infected adults including novel antigens and biomarkers. She also investigates tuberculosis in refugee and asylum-seeking children and adolescents.

Dr. Sabine Verkuijl is a medical officer at the WHO Global TB Programme, focusing on child and adolescent TB. Prior to this she worked on various childhood TB and TB/HIV-related assignments as a consultant in various TB high burden countries. She was based in South Africa between 1998 and 2012, during which time she worked as a lecturer at the University of Cape Town for an online post-graduate diploma in TB/HIV management, as TB/HIV technical advisor for ICAP South Africa and as coordinator for various TB, TB/HIV and district health development projects. She gained grassroot experience as a clinician in a rural district hospital and running a community-based TB project in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province.

Dr. Elisa Lopez Varela
Post-doctoral research fellow/Assistant Research Professor – M.D (Spain), MPH (Harvard), PhD (Spain)
Elisa Lopez Varela is a paediatrician who joined the Desmond Tutu TB Centre in 2017. She is an assistant research professor at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, where she i leads and participates in several TB and HIV research studies. Her research interests are focused on the epidemiology of tuberculosis in children, improving TB treatment strategies, and the science of implementation around the TB and HIV care cascade in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Sabine Bélard is a pediatrician and clinician scientist at the Department of Pediatric Pulmonology, Immunology and Intensive Care Medicine, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and the Berlin Institute of Health, Germany. Her main focus in research is on point-of-care ultrasound for infectious diseases with a special emphasis on point-of-care ultrasound for tuberculosis. Sabine studied medicine at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg and obtained a Master’s degree in infectious diseases from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She has worked as a doctor at the University Hospitals Freiburg and Berlin, and has spent several years as a researcher in Gabon and South Africa. As a clinician scientist she is currently combining clinical work in Berlin with international research projects on improving diagnosis and management of tuberculosis by applying bedside ultrasound.

Professor Petko Minchev, MD, PhD, DSc is Distinguished Professor at Medical University of Sofia, University Children’s clinic for Lung Diseases. He has graduated Medical University of Sofia and specialized in Moscow Central Research Institute for Tuberculosis, at Children’s Clinic of Pneumology and Immunology, Berlin Free University. He has passed special course of WHO in Sofia and in Warsaw.
Prof. Minchev has medical specialties in: Pneumology and Phtisiology, Paediatrics, Pediatric pneumology.  He has 289 scientific publications, 2 monographs, 5 scientific books.


  • Member of National Society for Pneumology and Phtisiology
  • Member of ERS
  • Member of Union of Scientists in Bulgaria
  • Member of Board of Experts for Medical Science
  • Member of Board of Experts on Ministry of Health for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases
  • Member of the Working Group of the WHO and IUALTD   – 1993-1995;
  • National expert for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases in Children – up to 2019.
  • President of Bulgarian Association Paediatric Pneumology 
  • Editor in chief of Bulgarian Medical Journal (BMJ)

Richard G White (BSc, MSc, PhD) is Professor of Infectious Disease Modelling in the Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases and the TB Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.He is Director of the TB Modelling and Analysis Consortium (TB MAC) and co-leads the LSHTM TB Modelling Group with Rein Houben. Richard was awarded a BSc in Physics from Durham University and an MSc in Medical Demography from LSHTM. He was awarded a PhD in infectious disease modelling in 2006, led the establishment of the LSHTM’s Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases in 2007, and was awarded a Methodology Research Fellowship from the Medical Research Council in 2009. Richard is head of the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology  with Katherine Fielding, serves on LSHTM’s School Council, Finance and Development Committee, Research Governance Committee, and Innovation Committee.

Jakko van Ingen, MD, PhD, is a consultant clinical microbiologist and head of the mycobacteriology reference laboratory at Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He was trained at Radboud University Medical Center as well as at National Jewish Health, Denver, Colorado, USA. He has authored over 170 papers on mycobacterial disease in peer-reviewed scientific journals and is consulted on diagnosis and treatment of nontuberculous mycobacterial disease from all over the world. His research group focuses on the pharmacodynamics of antimycobacterial drugs and development of new treatment regimens for nontuberculous mycobacterial disease in preclinical models and clinical trials.

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