Hemingway Award 2021 talk: Dr Maria Eugenia Grillet

13 June 2022, 5-6pm (BST)
Virtual event

In this free webinar, Dr Maria Eugenia Grillet will present her 2021 Hemingway Award talk. Dr Maria Eugenia Grillet, after being introduced by her nominator Professor Alicia Ponte-Sucre, will speak on the subject of Eco-Epidemiology of Vector-Borne Infection Diseases in Venezuela: Unravelling mechanisms and processes of pathogen transmission in the Neotropics.

The Hemingway Award is a joint award between RSTMH and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), who will be jointly delivering this webinar. The award recognises Professor Janet Hemingway’s achievements in delivering and encouraging translational science during her leadership of LSTM. Dr Grillet is a professor and principal investigator at the Instituto de Zoología y Ecología Tropical at the Universidad Central de Venezuela.


It is an honour be the recipient of the 2021 Hemingway Award. I am grateful to the two sponsoring institutions, RSTMH and LSTM, institutions that I greatly admire, and the academic home of some of my research colleagues.

My research has always moved across disciplines and methodologies and looked to inform effective public health policies to control and eliminate of vector-borne infectious diseases such as malaria and onchocerciasis.

In her talk, Dr Grillet will be speaking about how the Onchocerca volvulus–Simulium interactions has shaped the population dynamics of onchocerciasis infections and has contributed to the epidemiological patterns of this disease in Latin America. Also, how local adaptation of the parasite-vector complexes has influenced the feasibility and degree of eliminating the parasite reservoir in different foci in the region and Venezuela.

Regarding malaria, Dr Grillet will describe how the spatial and temporal epidemiology of malaria in the last 25 years in the country have allowed us to disentangle the effect of local and global spatial variation on malaria infection as well as the role of local and regional climate factors on long-term malaria dynamics. In addition, she will show how the changes in Land Cover patterns caused by the mining activities in the Venezuelan Amazonian Forests have determined the upsurge and reemergence of malaria in Venezuela with the ongoing spillover of malaria cases across the whole Latin America region.

Finally, Dr Grillet will assess how Venezuela's health crisis has impacted mosquito-borne infectious diseases (MBIDs), reshaped the epidemiological landscape and placed Venezuela as the spotlight of malaria in the region and one of the countries currently reporting yellow fever outbreaks in the Americas.

Register here

Dr Maria Eugenia Grillet

Dr Maria Eugenia Grillet studied biology at the Universidad Central de Venezuela (Venezuela) where she also got a Ph.D. in Ecology and started to do research on tropical insect vector ecology and mosquito-borne infectious diseases ecology.  She did Postdoctoral studies in Canada (Montreal University) and currently she is a Full Professor at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, Venezuela.

Her research mainly focuses on understanding how pathogen–vector interactions shape epidemiological patterns, and how entomological, pathogen-related, sociological and ecological factors drive the emergence and/or reemergence of some tropical insect-borne infectious diseases such as malaria, some arboviruses, and onchocerciasis.  She works in the framework of the landscape ecology and epidemiology disciplines by using a multidisciplinary approach involving field- and laboratory-based studies as well as statistical/mathematical modeling.

With more than 12 years of public health experience, she has been part of several technical or expert (steering) international and national committees for the WHO, PAHO, Carter Center, Task for Global Health and OEPA in the field of medical entomology and vector control.  In 2005, she was a visiting scholar of the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, at the Imperial College (United Kingdom) thanks to a Royal Society Short Incoming Visit Award. Since then, she has been a visiting scholar in several Universities such as the University of Toronto, University of Groningen (Netherlands) and University of Ottawa, among others. Currently, she is a member of the Venezuelan Academy of Natural, Physical and Mathematical Sciences and the Latin American Academy of Sciences.

Dr Grillet was nominated by Professor Alicia Ponte-Sucre, who will be giving an introduction to the webinar. During her introduction Professor Ponte-Suce will talk about María Eugenia Grillet research production on the ecology of vector-borne infection diseases as a solid and widely recognized work with findings that have contributed to understand how and why a stable pathogen-host relationship exists, and elucidate how to disrupt these interactions to minimize disease impact.  

Additionally, she will mention how tenacity and dedication in producing translational science, despite difficulties imposed by the environment and the general crisis in Venezuela, have allowed Maria Eugenia to advance her research and to maintain high-quality collaborations with Venezuelan and foreign scientists

Full Professor and Head of the Molecular Physiology Laboratory of the UCV School of Medicine. She has occupied diverse academic positions at the UCV: Chair of Human Physiology, Director of the Physiological Sciences PhD program, Research Coordinator of the Faculty of Medicine, as well as Professor of PhD Courses in Physiological Sciences and Pharmacology. She is member of the Board of Directors of the Venezuelan Foundation for the Advancement of Science and Vice President of the Fundadiagnóstica University Foundation. She is a Correspondent Member of the Venezuelan Academy of Natural, Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Her research focuses on the molecular mechanisms that allow microorganisms to develop resistance against drugs. Since 1995 she has participated in research projects at the University of Würzburg (Germany), on drug resistance and development of drugs against tropical diseases. Her findings have been the subject of numerous international scientific publications, she acts as a reviewer for many international scientific journals, and is editor of books for drug resistance specialists. Dr. Ponte-Sucre enjoys important international relations, mainly with Germany and Great Britain, but also with Canada, India, Australia, France, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, etc.

If you have any queries about the event or registration, please do not hesitate to contact carney [dot] battenti [at] rstmh [dot] org (subject: Hemingway%20Award%20Talk%3A%20%20Dr%20Maria%20Eugenia%20Grillet) (Carney Battenti.)