Programme Management Team



Prof. Russell Stothard - Director

Prof. Stothard is well-known within the international NTD community. His expertise combines multidisciplinary studies surround the epidemiology, control and elimination of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis. He has assisted WHO on several occasions with technical advice, chairing NTD meetings and developing revised policy guidelines for de-worming children.

Prof. Stothard regularly provides advice to WHO and other disease control agencies. His work bridges the gaps between laboratory and field-based investigations and is often undertaken in remote, rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. His aim is to be at the forefront of evidence-based advocacy for setting appropriate international guidelines for NTD control. Recent progress has been addressing the treatment needs of infants and preschool-aged children with schistosomiasis.   

With over 185 research papers, his international standing as a leading field epidemiologist/parasitologist with extensive on-the-ground experience is reflected by his publication outputs. He has a proven track-record on applied research on a broad range of tropical diseases. Prof. Stothard has undertaken over 75 field-based assignments, he has led large health research teams engaged in both implementation and operational research within the African health system from the national level to afflicted communities. 

His primary focus is on schistosomiasis (Schistosoma spp. and planorbid snails) and its control with large-scale preventive chemotherapy.  Prof. Stothard's secondary interests include soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) and other snail-trematode diseases e.g. fascioliasis, as well as their interplay with malaria. He has made a major contribution to disease control in East Africa and recently highlighted the importance of female and male genital schistosomiasis with reference to longer-term control of the HIV epidemic in Africa.

A key theme throughout his research is development, application and evaluation of better point-of-care diagnostics set against a background of quality disease surveillance and monitoring. As a specialist in field epidemiology and research-led expeditions, he is particularly interested in disease transmission cycles that cross-over into zoonosis and one-health concepts. Highlights have included, for example, better disease management on Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Uganda.



Rachael Thomson - Senior Programme Manager

Ms Thomson is the Senior Programme Manager for COUNTDOWN and the Research Manager for The Collaboration in Research in Equity and Systems for TB and HIV/ AIDS (CRESTHA) at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. 

She has over 12 years’ experience in health policy and international public health including AIDS, TB, Malaria and health system strengthening. Currently the Research Manager for the Centre for Research in Equity and Systems for TB and HIV/ AIDS (CRESTHA), she is a co-investigator on the Triage 2, involving informal providers as gatekeepers for respiratory treatment in Sudan and Malawi. She also provides technical assistance to CRESTHA partners on health systems and policy and is the focal Point for the STOP TB Partnership Subgroup on TB and Poverty. She is responsible for the coordination of the new CRESTHA collaboration and linking of TB, AIDs and Malaria research projects in Malawi, Tanzania, DRC and Sudan and has a role in capacity building for junior researchers.

As Research Coordinator for EQUI-TB Knowledge Programme, Ms Thomson provides managerial and technical support to the DFID funded TB Knowledge Programme to ensure the smooth running of the Programme. This includes participation in programme activities, international consultancy, liaison with donors and multilaterals on TB, as well as providing managerial and technical input to project applications, grant reporting, monitoring and evaluation.

Her previous work includes roles with DFID as Assistant Health Adviser for the Communicable and Non-Communicable Disease team and as Programme Manager at Marie Stopes International for the Arab World programmes. Past consultancies include provision of ongoing Technical Assistance to WHO ‘Pro Poor TB Interventions’ Project, China and a number of other international TB Technical Advisory positions including work in Mongolia and Nigeria. Ms Thomson is a fellow of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene and a member of the International Union against TB and Lung Disease (IUATLD).


Julie Irving - Programme Manager (M&E)

Ms Irving has worked at LSTM and its consultancy arm Liverpool Associates in Tropical Health (LATH) delivering project management, capacity development, research and business management and operational planning. She recently managed LSTM’s 2014 submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) the current system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education. She currently handles COUNTDOWN's monitoring and evaluation processes, overseeing financial compliance and fulfillment of contractual obligations. 



Prof. David Molyneux - Special NTD Advisor

Prof. Molyneux has over the past 20 years has chaired various NTD committees for the World Health Organisation (WHO). Currently, David is Chair of the Working Group on Capacity Strengthening (WG-CS) for NTDs for the WHO, and he is a member of the WHO Expert Panel on Parasitic Diseases, the WHO International Commission for the Certification of the Dracuncialiasis Eradication and the Carter Center International Disease Eradication Task Force. 

He is a leading international advocate for control of NTDs, having helped set policy and influenced major donor agencies into engagement and support of integrated NTD control across the world. Prof. Molyneux retired as full-time Director of the Lymphatic Filariasis Support Centre (now known as the Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases) in April 2008 but remains in a part-time advisory/advocacy capacity. He was Director of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (1991-2000) and Professor of Tropical Health Sciences of The University of Liverpool.

During his career he has supervised over 40 PhD and Masters students and published over 350 papers in learned biological science journals. He has written over 20 reviews and contributions to books, as well as a textbook on trypanosomes and Leishmania and the Control of Human Parasitic Diseases.

Prof. Molyneux has extensive experience of NTD control programmes, in particular Onchocerciasis, Lymphatic Filariasis as well as the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme working with WHO and bilateral donors.

In 2013 he was awarded the Manson Medal, the highest honour the Royal Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene can bestow, for a lifetime of achievement in tropical disease research and control.


Pamela Bongkiyung - Programme Officer (Research Uptake & Communications)

Pamela has a BA (Hons) in International Journalism from Liverpool John Moore University and an MA in International Relations from Middlesex University. She started out her career in market research in the city of London and then worked as a news TV journalist and producer. She moved into corporate affairs and administration within the NHS (National Health Service) and worked in executive education at Cass Business School facilitating programmes for fortune 500 companies in the city of London.

She is passionate about international development issues and has worked with CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) and ONE in various public engagement activities to highlight issues such as poverty,  climate change, fair trade and tackling corruption. 

Pamela joined COUNTDOWN and took up research uptake and communications activities;  promoting COUNTDOWN's research and undertaking media activities that facilitate and contribute to the use of research evidence by policy-makers, practitioners and other stakeholders. She acts as the liaison for partner countries' research uptake activities. 


Susie Crossman - Programme Coordinator (M&E, Contracts & Ethics)

Susie has a BA (Hons.) in Human Geography from the University of Sheffield and is a PRINCE 2 Registered Practitioner.  Before joining COUNTDOWN she assisted and coordinated the multi-national AWOL Drug Discovery and Development Projects since 2007, whose research aims are to create products compatible with mass drug administration (MDA) programmes for human filariasis and to provide an alternative treatment in the event of drug-resistance to current treatments.

Currently, she provides high level financial and administrative support as part of the COUNTDOWN Project Management Team and to consortium partners, within the international research consortium of COUNTDOWN. This entails providing support to effectively distribute and reconcile £7M in project funds, supporting project management activities, liaising with partners and ensuring high standards of communications as well as making logistical arrangements, organising meetings and providing support to monitoring and evaluating research activities.



Thomas Yih - Programme Coordinator (Finance & Logistics)

Tom is the Programme Coordinator for COUNTDOWN. Tom began his career working for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office before moving to a large accountancy firm in the City of London. He joined LSTM in 2016 after a period working with Merseyside Police.