Frank Cobelens chair of Executive Board

Frank Cobelens appointed chair of Executive Board at AIGHD


Prof. Frank Cobelens is appointed chair of the Executive Board at the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD) as of 1 January 2016. Cobelens is linked to AIGHD and the AMC as professor of Epidemiology and Poverty-Related Diseases, and is also scientific director at the KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation. Cobelens will be filling the position left by Joep Lange who, together with his partner and colleague, Jacqueline van Tongeren, lost his life in July 2014 on board flight MH17 over Ukraine.


As a close colleague of AIDS researcher Joep Lange, Cobelens was directly involved with AIGHD since the beginning. His appointment as chair provides the institute with continuity while simultaneously setting a new direction. AIGHD will continue to work towards improving access to healthcare through high quality research, education and innovation. AIGHD will further integrate economics and anthropology into its research and education programmes with a multidisciplinary Executive Board ensuring greater collaboration. Moreover it aims to translate the experience gained from combatting the major infectious diseases to other disease areas and turn that knowledge into practice.


Cobelens: “We have learnt important lessons in tackling the major global killers of the past decades, such as AIDS and tuberculosis, in terms of not only medical, but also social, political and economic aspects. We hope to apply these lessons to other health problems, such as antimicrobial resistance and Ebola, but also chronic illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. By crossing boundaries between scientific disciplines as well as between diseases, we can make huge strides in improving healthcare for the world’s poorest people. This was Joep’s vision and the new multidisciplinary team at AIGHD will work hard to make this vision a reality.”


AIGHD strives to connect research, education, and innovation with practice.

To achieve this goal, AIGHD will continue to work closely with PharmAccess, and the newly founded Joep Lange Institute. AIGHD will also seek closer collaborations with other organizations that work to improve healthcare in low-income countries.


Prof. F.G.J. Cobelens (1959) – medical doctor and epidemiologist, specialised in infectious disease, particularly in low-income countries. He studied medicine at the University of Amsterdam.

Prof. Cobelens spent a number of years working in the field of HIV/AIDS and tropical and travel medicine. As senior epidemiologist at the KNCV Tuberculosefonds, he became involved in epidemiological research into tuberculosis in Asia, Africa and South-America. Since 2008, he has been in charge of the tuberculosis research group at what later became the AIGHD and department of Global Health at the AMC. This research aims to gain a better understanding of the transmission of tuberculosis and other poverty-related diseases, and also to improve prevention and diagnostic tools, and to tackle drug resistance. Cobelens’ research involves large-scale field studies and intervention trials, as well as cost-benefit analyses and more qualitative research into the effectiveness of treatment programmes.


In 2012, Cobelens was appointed Professor of Epidemiology and Control of Poverty-Related Diseases. Since 2013, he has combined this position with that of scientific director at KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation. He will now be resigning from this position, while remaining closely involved in the KNCV’s scientific research. Cobelens has published in peer-reviewed journals such as PLoS Medicine, The Lancet and International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. He is a member of various expert and advisory committees at the World Health Organisation and is closely involved in formulating international policy on tuberculosis research.


Click here for the press release in English.

Bekijk hier het Nederlandse persbericht.