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The Team





Claudia studied medicine, international public health and tropical medicine in Würzburg, Cleveland, and London. For her clinical training in internal medicine and infectious diseases she went to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Harvard Medical School hospital in Boston, USA. After a postdoc at McGill, Montreal, Canada in epidemiology, she went to FIND in 2014, the Global Alliance for Diagnostics in Geneva, Switzerland, to lead the tuberculosis program and build up the hepatitis program. Since 2019, she has been the medical director of the Department for Infectious Disease and Tropical Medicine at the Heidelberg University Hospital. Her research has focuses on diagnostics dfevelopment, trialing and implementation for resource-poor settings. 


Fun Fact: Claudia almost became a tennis pro…




Ivonne studied microbiology at the University of Texas at Austin, conducted postgraduate work in molecular and cellular biology and obtained her doctorate (Dr. rer. nat) at the Department of Infectious Diseases, Heidelberg University. She went on to obtain an MPH in Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health while carrying out postdoctoral work at the National Institutes of Health. Her work has focused on viruses including HIV, influenza virus, Zika virus, and more recently, SARS-CoV-2 and rabies virus. She returned to Heidelberg to join the team in 2017. Her projects include epidemiological studies on arboviral diseases in Latin America, SARS-CoV-2 in Germany, and zoonotic spillovers in the Selva Maya via a One Health approach. Her interests include disease surveillance, emerging infectious diseases, geospatial mapping, large data analysis, and drivers of zoonotic spillovers.



Stefan studied medicine at the Johannes Gutenberg-University Hospital Mainz with internships in Bihar, India and Luzern, Switzerland. He received a stipend by DAAD for his dissertational project on point-of-care ultrasound for tuberculosis, which he planned and conducted in Manipal, India in collaboration with the Charité. Stefan is completing a post-graduate Master’s degree at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He worked in pediatric medicine in Aachen and Wiesbaden and since 2019 works at the Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at University Hospital Heidelberg where he combines clinical duties with research work on TB. 



Seda is a molecular biologist with postgraduate training in molecular life sciences (MSc, PhD) and global health (MSc) from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. She worked at FIND, the Global Alliance for Diagnostics, in various capacities from 2015 to 2021. She joined the Denkinger group in February 2021 as the technology lead for the NIH-funded R2D2 TB Network. She has experience and knowledge in infectious disease diagnostics, clinical research, and global health issues, especially in the areas of tuberculosis and malaria. She is astickler for details and fan of photography.  



Ankur Gupta-Wright is a physician specialising in infectious diseases and clinical epidemiologist interested in how diagnostics can improve the care of patients with suspected infections. Alongside his clinical training in the UK, he completed his PhD understanding the impact of urine-based diagnostics for HIV-associated tuberculosis in Malawi and South Africa. He has undertaken a postdoc at University College London, UK, funded by NIHR, and has extensive clinical and research experience in HIV, TB and other infectious diseases in the UK, Southern and Eastern Africa and Singapore. He has experience in randomised trials and other clinical studies, microbiology and immunology. Outside of work, he enjoys cycling, walking and spending time outdoors in his campervan.



Florian is a physician-scientist, epidemiologist and mathematical modeler interested in the epidemiology of infectious diseases and the public health impact of diagnostic and other health interventions. His main research focus has been on interventions for reducing tuberculosis in high-burden populations. Florian received his medical degree from Charité University Hospital in Berlin, a M.Sc. Epidemiology degree from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, and a Ph.D. degree from Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He has undertaken a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Yale School of Public Health, USA, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), where he trained in transmission-dynamic modelling and health-economic analysis. He holds a co-affiliation with Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and serves as chair of the Task Team Epidemiology, Modelling and Health Economics of the South African Tuberculosis Think Tank (SA National Department of Health).


Fun Fact: As an avid runner, Florian completed the 2016 San Francisco Marathon.



Abdulkadir is a health economist. He received his Ph.D. in Applied Economics from Clemson University, USA in 2004. Since then, he has worked as a faculty member at departments of economics in several Turkish universities. In 2022 he joined Denkinger Global DX Group. His core research focuses on health economics and healthcare policy. Dr. Civan studied the different aspects of health and health care ranging from the factors affecting health expenditures to the licensing and pricing policies of pharmaceuticals. Currently, his research focuses on the cost-effectiveness analysis of various healthcare interventions, especially in low-resource settings.



Saima Bashir is a Health Economist. She joined Clinical Tropical Medicine, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg University in October 2020 and working on costing and economic analysis of novel diagnostics for TB. She has a Ph.D. in Economics from the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), Pakistan. In 2018, she was invited for a 6-month research placement at the Mental Health and Addiction Research Group, the University of York, funded by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, through a scholarship program (International Research Support Initiative Program). Her focus of research is in the area of Health Economics and Applied Micro econometrics with a special interest in exploring the efficiency, quality of health services, inequalities, and healthcare financing in LMICs




Theresa studied medicine at the Technical University Munich with internships at the University of  KwaZulu-Natal South Africa, Université Paul Sabatier France, and in primary care in Morocco. After working clinically for one year she completed a MSc in Global Health at Karolinska Institutet. She has worked in malaria and childhood pneumonia research at Malaria Consortium, and surveillance of severe acute respiratory infections at Robert-Koch-Institut. Theresa joined the Division of Infectious Disease and Tropical Medicine at the University Hospital Heidelberg in July 2023 as a Clinical Trial Scientist coordinating trials including in the R2D2 network.


Fun Fact: Theresa is a fan of cold water swimming and went swimming in the sea each month for a full year during her MSc in Sweden.

PhD students (Dr. sc hum)



Maria del Mar is a physician and holds a master’s degree in Epidemiology. In 2017, she was awarded a WHO/TDR Clinical Research and Development Fellowship, focusing on product development for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). She joined the team in November 2020 and recently began working towards her PhD under Claudia Denkinger. Her research interests are oriented towards understanding the determinants of disease, the optimal characteristics and incremental value of novel diagnostic and therapeutic products for diseases affecting neglected populations, and their implementation. 




Zhi Zhen Qin holds a BSc in Biology and an MSc in epidemiology & biostatistics from McGill University, Montréal, Canada. She is now pursuing a Dr. Sc. hum degree at Heidelberg in Artificial Intelligence and portable radiography for TB detection. Zhi Zhen is currently working for the United Nations Office for Project Services /Stop TB Partnership in Geneva as a Digital Health Specialist, leading the Digital Health Technology Hub. She loves anything outdoors from kayak in summer to ski in winter.

Fun Fact: Since Covid, she also became interested in travel as a digital nomad during the shoulder seasons.




Mary has over a decade of experience in tuberculosis research.  She completed her Master of Public Health at Boston University in 2011 with a concentration in Epidemiology and Global Health. Afterwards, she was a study coordinator for clinical research projects in TB household contact transmission and diagnostics, and completed a Global Health Fellowship with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in South Africa.  In 2020, she began her DrScHum studies in Heidelberg. Her research focus is on tuberculosis diagnostics and epidemiology in resource-limited settings 





Aakshi is a dentist who did her masters in public health from Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, India. She has 7+ years of experience working on project management roles in the field of tuberculosis. Together with her most recent role at FIND, the Global Alliance for Diagnostics in India, she has gained experience by working across multiple projects on pediatric TB, private sector involvement, TB infection and community level engagement. Since 2020 end, she is a doctoral student in the division of infectious diseases and tropical medicine at the Heidelberg University Hospital. Her research focuses on private sector and TB in high burden countries to develop a better understanding of the value and benefits of employed public-private mix interventions. 


Fun Fact: Aakshi enjoys listening to music and is an amateur star gazer with sky diving on her to-do list. 



I studied a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management and Master’s degree in Public Health from Makerere University and International Health Science University respectively. In March 2021, I joined center for infectious diseases and tropical medicine at the Heidelberg University Hospital to peruse a PhD. My PhD research project focuses on evaluating childhood vaccination program in Rwanda.  My general research interest is population health which involves a combination of social, environmental, and biological risk factors and interventions for improving health, wellbeing, and patient care. 





Abigail de Villiers obtained her Bachelor’s and Honours degrees in BioMathematics from Stellenbosch University and the African Institute for Mathematical sciences, South Africa. She then went on to work at the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (SACEMA) focusing on tuberculosis (TB) case-finding. Alongside this, she obtained a Master’s degree in Epidemiology from Stellenbosch University. Her master’s thesis, for which she won the Stellenbosch University Rector’s ‘Top Masters” award, was on adaptive decision-making algorithms for spatially-targeted TB screening. Abigail received scholarships from South Africa’s National Research Foundation to undertake her postgraduate degrees. In 2022, she worked at the Desmond Tutu TB Centre on a BRICS study using mathematical modelling to estimate at the impact of COVID-19 response measures on TB. Abigail looks forward to starting her Dr Sci hum studies in 2023, focusing on modelling the impact and cost-effectiveness of novel diagnostic tests and strategies to detect drug-susceptible and drug-resistant  TB.



Tobias Broger has a BSc in biological chemistry, an MSc in Engineering, received business leadership training from IMD Lausanne, and is now a Dr. sc. hum candidate of the Division of Tropical Medicine at the Heidelberg University Hospital. Tobias has more than 7 years of experience in the research of infectious diseases, product development, clinical studies, and commercialization of in-vitro diagnostics. His R&D focuses on LAM antigen-based Tuberculosis diagnostics and bioaerosols. Tobias is a passionate mountaineer with the unrealistic goal to spend at least half of his time outdoors in a camper van.





Hannah studied pharmacy at the Eberhard-Karls-University of Tübingen from 2016 to 2020 and became a licensed pharmacist in 2022. She is working at the hospital pharmacy of the Heidelberg University Hospital as a clinical pharmacist. Hannah started her doctoral thesis in the division of infectious disease and tropical medicine in September 2022 dealing with the implementation and evaluation of strategies for interprofessional management of patients with a documented penicillin allergy. Her research includes a systematic review on strategies for penicillin allergy delabeling followed by an intervention study to implement her findings.



Ralitza is a PhD student and Coordinator of the BreathForDx project that seeks to optimize breath sampling tools for screening and diagnosis of respiratory illnesses. She has an undergraduate degree in Social Analysis and Research from Brown University and a Master’s degree in Global Health from the University of Geneva. Ralitza spent several years implementing public health programs in Southern Africa, including scaling up the implementation of HIV self-testing and managing the monitoring and evaluation work of a large public health implementer in Eswatini. Her research at the Denkinger Group will focus on the usability and feasibility of implementing innovative breath sampling tools.   


Fun fact: Ralitza has lived in seven countries, two of which are uncannily Switzerland and Swaziland! 

Doctoral Students (Dr. med)




Lukas first studied business administration (Bachelor of Arts) in Mannheim and Madrid, while at the same time working in various IT and management departments of Deutsche Bank AG in Frankfurt and Amsterdam. Afterwards, in 2019, he enrolled into medical school (Doctor of Medicine) in Heidelberg. He is especially interested in global health, merging his passions for medicine, mathematics, international management and politics. His research concentrates on the evaluation and epidemiological impact of novel diagnostics. 


Fun Fact: Between graduating from High-School and starting to study business administration, for a few months, Lukas worked as a holiday entertainer in Egypt. 



Tobias is a medical student at Heidelberg University. He is in his fifth year and after beginning in Denkinger Group in May 2020 as a research assistant for a COVID-19 study, he currently works on his Dr. med degree (MD), researching antibiotic resistance in mycobacteria with a focus on nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). After starting out in Nurjadi Group in Heidelberg, he is now doing a year-long research stay in Rubin Lab at the T. H. Chan Harvard School Of Public Health in Boston, MA. His research is focused on enabling established therapeutics to circumvent mechanisms of resistance to improve clinical treatment of persistent infections. 


Fun Fact: Tobias has become a cliché German in the US, constantly complaining about the lack of decent bread.  



Katharina studied medicine first in Regensburg, Bayern and finished in Essen, NRW. During her studies she got the opportunities to gain an insight into different countries, their culture and health care systems. That was to her maybe the most intriguing impetus to not only study medicine but also to be lasting fascinated by the intertwined fields of Infectious Diseases and Global Health.


Fun Fact: The reason why I happened to apply to Heidelberg and got lucky enough to become a part of this team is a coincidence that reaches back 10 years and 5879 km away and someone on this webpage.




Jakob is studying medicine at the university of Heidelberg since 2018. He started working on his doctoral thesis at the division of infectious diseases and tropical medicine at the University of Heidelberg in April 2021 with the topic “Detection of co-morbidities or other pathologies when utilizing computer-assisted digital radiography developed for tuberculosis screening.” 


Fun FactWhen it comes to plant parenting at least 60% of my plants make it. 



Hannah started studying medicine in 2016 and is working on her doctoral thesis in the division of infectious disease and tropical medicine with Claudia as her supervisor. Her field of research is in SARS-CoV-2 and includes a systematic review on Self-Rapid-Antigen-Testing for the WHO and an online intervention study in cooperation with the HIGH. Her interest in infectious diseases and Public Health interventions developed in several internships and the elective „Global Health“ during her studies in Heidelberg and Paris.




Katarzyna, aka Kasia, finished her medical studies at the RWTH Aachen University in May of 2022, with an emphasis on public health and travel medicine.  During her studies she completed many internships and certifications abroad, including in Poland, South Korea, France, Denmark, and Switzerland. She is passionate about everything having to do with Global Health and taught many GH courses at the universities in Aachen and Bonn. Kasia will be joining the team for one year to research Covid diagnostic strategies and perform a clinical study with Ukrainian refugees. 


Fun Fact: Kasia is a very experienced couchsurfer, having already couchsurfed on three continents!




Benjamin is a medical student, enrolled in his 4th year in the medical faculty of Mannheim, Heidelberg University. During a medical internship in Kabale, Uganda, among other things, he came in contact with the relevance of improving TB diagnostics. He joined the Denkinger Group in the summer of 2022 to work as a research assistant in the ALL POCUS TB-Project. Moreover Benjamin started working on his doctoral thesis there, doing a systematic review and meta-analysis of the proportion of patients in LMICs being put on TB treatment without any bacteriologically confirmed test. 


Fun Fact: Benjamin had a hard decision, when we was not sure whether to study medicine or theology. 




Penelope is a medical student at Heidelberg University, who finished her fifth year of studies and joined the group in September 2023 to begin her medical doctorate thesis. In addition to her fascination for the surgical department, she is interested in global health and infectious diseases, and her plans for the future are to combine her knowledge of both fields in development work as a research doctor.

Penelope is a passionate traveller, having travelled to almost every continent, and she hopes to be able to combine travel and work in her future.


Fun fact: Penelope registered for her first ever Half-marathon in March in Paris. 





Melina recently graduated from medical school in Heidelberg and joined our team in autumn 2023 to undertake her doctoral thesis. Her research is centered on evaluating different sample materials for Tuberculosis testing in children through a systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. During her studies she discovered her interest in infectious diseases and global health issues, as well as promoting health care access for people without health insurance. Her aim is to combine her passion for direct patient care, global health research and social work to contribute to comprehensive health care.


 Fun Fact: Initially just looking for a class to improve her public speaking skills, she ended up falling in love with improv theater. Now, Melina is happily engaged in a local theater group!



Past Members




Lisa studied mathematics in Bremen, Germany, and Izmir, Turkey, for her Bachelor’s degree. In her Master at the University of Greifswald, Germany, she discovered the field of statistical modelling in medicine related applications. For her PhD she joined the CHICAS research group in Lancaster, UK, 2017 and investigated methodologies on vector-borne disease outbreak models with projects in UK and Sri Lanka. During the whole time of her studies she received a scholarship by the Germany Economy Foundation (sdw) and was awarded runner up in the science communication TakeAim competition 2018 by the Smith Institute. Since 2019 she has been working at the division of infectious diseases and tropical medicine at the Heidelberg University Hospital and focuses on statistical modelling of diagnostic measures, Bayesian inference and developing machine learning algorithms for TB diagnostic tools. 


Fun Fact: It might be possible that I am a bit too cheerful right after waking up 😀 



Sabine studied Public Health (B.a. & M.a.) at the University of Bremen and is a trained pediatric nurse. During her studies, she worked as a pediatric nurse at the Prof. Hess pediatric clinic and as a study nurse at the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research in Bremen. She gained further study nurse experience in clinical studies phase II/III in the division of cardiology at the University Hospital Heidelberg. She has been working as a project manager at the division of infectious diseases and tropical medicine at the Heidelberg University Hospital since July 2021.



Federica received her Bachelor of Science from McGill University in 2020, majoring in Microbiology and Immunology. With a strong interest in public health, she joined the team at the Institute of Tropical Medicine at Heidelberg University Hospital in September 2020 as a research assistant. Up until December 2021, she has had the opportunity to assist a range of different research projects, with a focus on Tuberculosis and SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics. 


Fun Fact: Federica has lived in 6 different countries so far.  



Hoa Thi Nguyen joined the Division of Tropical Medicine as a post-doc researcher in July 2020. Since then, she has affiliated with both the Division of Tropical Medicine and Heidelberg Institute of Global Health at Heidelberg University Hospital as postdoctoral researcher. Hoa has a multidisciplinary training background in Health Economics, International Health, Health financing and Social protection. Her primary research areas include preference elicitation, costing, impact evaluation and economic evaluation of complex health financing reforms and global health diagnostics. Before embarking on the academic path in 2010, Hoa worked several years as research assistant and project officer in the areas of child protection at UNICEF, health financing at the World Health Organization, and HIV/AIDs prevention at CARE International in Vietnam. 


Fun fact: Looking for my glasses is a common activity in my daily schedule



Ioana is an infectious disease physician and epidemiologist with expertise in tuberculosis and antimicrobial resistance. After completing her medical training in Romania she undertook her residency in infectious diseases in Romania and Germany. She has a Diploma of Tropical Medicine from Peru/USA and an MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is about to finish her Wellcome Clinical PhD at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine which focuses on antimicrobial resistance in Zimbabwe.




Mirna Abd El Aziz studied medicine at the Ruhr University in Bochum, with internships in Egypt, Switzerland and Ireland. She completed her internal medicine specialization at the St. Josef Hospital in Bochum, where she worked on the infectious diseases ward and in the outpatient clinic for infectious diseases, hepatitis and immunology. She obtained her doctorate (Dr. med.) at the department of Diabetes in Bochum, where she worked on statistical analyses on novel diabetes medications. In 2021 she completed her antibiotic stewardship training. She joined the Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine in 2022 to combine both clinical work and research. Her interests include tuberculosis and Global Health.





Mina has been studying medicine in Heidelberg since 2016 and is originally from Istanbul.  In 2021, she joined the division of topical medicine for her doctoral thesis.  Her research is focused on the prevalence of viral hepatitis among tuberculosis patients worldwide.


Fun Fact: Mina likes taking photos in her free time!




Lisa has completed her Bachelor and her Master in Health Science Research with the focus on Health Technology Assessment at Maastricht University in 2013. After working for two years for Care Institute Netherlands she decided to engage into a new challenge and started studying Medicine at the University Heidelberg. In 2020, Lisa joined Claudia’s team and coordinated a study for evaluation of novel, antigen-detecting, rapid tests for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2.


Fun Fact: Loves cycling and cycles almost everywhere, even to a wedding in Spain (from Germany).




Yannis currently studies medicine at Heidelberg University in his final year. For his doctoral thesis, he joined the division of tropical medicine in 2019 after starting his clinical rotations at the Heidelberg University Hospital. His research focuses on epidemiological studies as well as qualitative research in the fields of COVID-19 and tuberculosis.


Fun Fact: Please be aware that his twin brother regularly visits the campus as well since he is also a medical student. This has led to confusion in the past after colleagues occasionally questioned Yannis’ ability to recognize familiar faces on campus.



Jonas studied psychology and medical anthropology in Ulm, Heidelberg, and Singapore before joining the Heidelberg Institute of Global Health in 2020 to pursue his PhD. In his work, Jonas focuses on qualitative design and implementation research for novel global health interventions, including SARS-CoV-2 rapid testing (in Germany, with the division of tropical medicine), novel approaches to address vaccine hesitancy (in the Philippines), and mHealth interventions for the management of cardiovascular diseases (in Uganda). After working at the Heidelberg Zoo for a few years, Jonas is happy to contribute non-scientific animal fun-facts wherever possible.