Debby Sapir
Tel: +47 63898218

Debby is the coordinator for the CAERUS Project. She is the Director at the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters 
Institute of Health and Society – University of Louvain


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The goal of UCL, the Université catholique de Louvain (http://www.uclouvain.be/index.html) has remained unchanged since it was founded in 1425: to spread learning throughout the world, to support a passion for knowledge and research and to train those who, generation upon generation, deal with the burning issues of their time. With ten faculties, over 50 departments and more than 200 research units, the UCL has developed a strong reputation for quality research to extend the boundaries of human knowledge. In addition, the UCL enjoys close collaborative links with both private and public sectors, and international organisations. The UCL is host to two renowned research units, the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) and the Center for Applied Molecular Technologies (CTMA). Unit 1a: The Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED)

The Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) has been active for almost 40 years in the field of international disaster and conflict health studies, with research and training activities linking relief, rehabilitation and development. It promotes research, training, technical expertise on humanitarian emergencies, with a special focus on public health and epidemiology. The Centre is actively involved in stimulating debate on the effectiveness of humanitarian interventions. It encourages scientific and policy discussions on existing and potential interventions and their impacts on human survival, nutrition, morbidity, infectious diseases, and mental health. 
The Centre manages two widely-recognized databases: the Complex Emergency Database (CE-DAT) and the International Disaster Database (EM-DAT). The Complex Emergency Database (CE-DAT) is an international initiative that monitors and evaluates the health status of populations affected by complex emergencies. The EM-DAT database compiles data on the occurrence and impact of disasters worldwide. The systematic collection and analysis of these data provides invaluable information to governments and agencies in charge of relief and recovery activities. It also aids the integration of health components into development and poverty alleviation programmes.

Unit 1b: The Center for Applied Molecular Technologies (CTMA)

The Center for Applied Molecular Technologies (CTMA) is a mixed military-academic technological platform in charge of issues related to biological threats. CTMA develops its expertise through the synergy between the UCL and the Belgian Defence Laboratories Department, taking advantage of in-house existing and emerging technologies, multi-disciplinarity, as well as academic and military networking. 

The main goal of CTMA is to develop and validate dual-use molecular and genetic prognostic and diagnostic tools and methods allowing rapid molecular identification and resistance pattern of pathogens or molecular and genetic mechanisms of diseases. Regarding infectious diseases, detection methods are validated and directly applied both on human samples collected for presumed infected patients presenting in hospitals with a difficult diagnosis (failure of conventional microbiologic methods, need for a very rapid diagnosis) or from environmental samples collected from operational theatres where a potential risk has been identified or is feared. Aside from the current genetic methods, new emerging genetic and molecular technologies, such as nanotechnologies, are designed and validated within consortia to produce innovative operational tools to better detect pathogens and hence rapidly alert and protect patients or troops in operations against known and unknown threatening infectious agents.

Research projects developed at CTMA have led to the development of an innovative company in the laboratory: ClinEuroDiag which is a company specialized in molecular and proteomic diagnostic, genetic signatures analysis, and isolation of new genetic markers. Research projects have also led to the creation of several other spin off activities (Eppendorf Array Technology active in the development of low density microarrays; EONIX, involved in tracability of biological and clinical data and geolocalisation; and MYCOSERV, dealing with environmental quantitative and qualitative monitoring of pathogenic fungi).