Keynote Speakers

Professor Liam Smeeth, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Liam Smeeth is Professor of clinical epidemiology and Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He is also a clinician in NHS general practice. During his career he has been supported by fellowships from MRC, NIHR and Wellcome. He was previously a Trustee of the British Heart Foundation and a non-executive director of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. He is a member of the strategic oversight committee for UK Biobank and an elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.


Professor Claire Heffernan, Principal Investigator, UKRI GCRF Action Against Stunting Hub

Professor Claire Heffernan is Director of the London International Development Centre and Chair of International Development at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC.) She holds a joint appointment with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Her work at the Centre focuses on facilitating interdisciplinary research across seven University of London institutions aimed at addressing critical challenges in international development.

Current thematic areas include nutrition, health, agriculture, humanitarian emergencies, zoonotic diseases, impact evaluation and education. Claire’s particular areas of expertise include the application of interdisciplinary research within the development sphere in addition to the emerging paradigm of solutions-based research.


Grainne Moloney, Early Childhood Nutrition, United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

Grainne Moloney is a Senior Advisor at the UNICEF HQ in New York on Early Childhood Nutrition. There she leads on young child diets (breastfeeding complementary feeding and micronutrients deficiencies) in the 0-5years age group. Previously Grainne worked at UNICEF’s East and Southern Africa regional office on prevention and treatment of wasting, and nutrition in emergencies. Prior to that, she served as the Chief of the Nutrition with UNICEF Kenya and the Chief Technical Advisor for the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit, (FAO) Somalia. Grainne holds an MSc in Public Health Nutrition and BSc in Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

Professor Babacar Faye, Country Lead Senegal, UKRI GCRF Action Against Stunting Hub

Babacar Faye is Professor in Parasitology at the Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Cheikh Anta DIOP, Senegal. Babacar has conducted extensive research on the molecular epidemiology, immunology, treatment and control of parasitic diseases, including on the emergence of antiparasitic drug resistance and the discovery of novel antiparasitic therapeutic agents. Babacar is a long-term collaborator with the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) and serves on the secretariat for the Malaria Research Capacity Development in West and Central Africa, a partnership between African and European institutions aimed at building research capacity and excellence.


Dr Saul Morris, Director Programme Services Team, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)

Dr Saul Morris joined GAIN in September 2017, and leads the technical support to, and quality assurance of, the organisation’s $32m annual programme portfolio across Asia and Africa. He manages a team of approximately 30 staff focusing on: food fortification; supply chains for nutritious foods (including small enterprise development), and contextual drivers of food systems change such as environment, urbanisation, and youth. Saul was previously Head of the Nutrition and Public Health Intervention Research Unit at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (University of London), and also worked as a Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington DC, as well as a visiting university lecturer in Brazil. He has 85 publications in peer-reviewed journals, including as one of the core group of authors of the original (2008) Lancet series on maternal and child undernutrition. Saul also spent a total of 13 years working for three different funding organisations: the United Kingdom Department of International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). He has a PhD in epidemiology and a Masters degree in medical demography.

Dr Bharati Kulkarni, Country Lead India, UKRI GCRF Action Against Stunting Hub

Dr Bharati Kulkarni is Head, Division of Reproductive Biology, Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India. Her research focuses on ways to improve the nutritional status of vulnerable population groups, especially women and children. She has carried out studies on public health nutrition problems including management of severe acute malnutrition in children, body composition, nutritional interventions to improve maternal nutrition, agriculture-nutrition linkages, and agricultural interventions to improve nutritional status of women and children. She earned a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA and a PhD from Queensland University of Technology, Australia.


Dr Luz Maria de Regil,  Unit Head, Multisectoral Action in Food Systems, World Health Organization (WHO)

Dr Luz María De-Regil  currently heads the Unit of Multisectoral Actions in Food Systems at the World Health Organization. This area of work includes accelerated action in Food Safety, policies for reducing obesity and the consumption of potentially harmful ingredients in the diet, as well as food-based approaches for improving people’s nutrition -including fortification and biofortification. Luz María is a Food Scientist and an Epidemiologist with 20 years of experience in the public, private, non-for-profit and intergovernmental sectors. Her expertise spans from micronutrient malnutrition to the double burden of malnutrition, and from research in basic nutrition science to large scale public health programming and policy. Luz María has authored more than 130 peer-reviewed and policy publications and has served in multiple advisory bodies focused on health, immigration, or gender empowerment.


Dr Umi Fahmida, Country Lead Indonesia, UKRI GCRF Action Against Stunting Hub

Dr Umi Fahmida is a Senior Researcher and Program Coordinator of Early Childhood Care, Nutrition, and Education (ECCNE) at the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre for Food and Nutrition (SEAMEO RECFON) at Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia.  She holds a Ph.D. in Nutrition and an MSc in Community Nutrition from Universitas Indonesia and Bachelor in Agriculture Technology from Bogor Agriculture University.  Her research interests are in the nutrient and non-nutrient interaction related to child growth and development and in using linear/goal programming (LP) to develop and evaluate food-based recommendations. Under “Model of partnership to translate guidelines into practices for the optimal diet of SEA community,” Umi and her team promoted the LP approach in Indonesia, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, and the Philippines for both communities and school settings.


Professor Anish Sinha, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar

Anish Sinha started his career as Assistant Professor in Government Medical College, Surat for a brief period. He joined WHO-NPSP (World Health Organization - National Polio Surveillance Project - India) in 2004, as Surveillance Medical Officer, where he worked extensively for polio eradication, routine immunization, new vaccine introduction, VPD Surveillance & AEFI in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Uttar Pradesh & Bihar. He then joined UNDP in 2016 and implemented Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) in Gujarat. He also facilitated eVIN implementation in Indonesia.


Professor Komal Shah, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar

Professor Komal Shah is a biochemist by training and has completed her doctoral and postdoctoral studies with life sciences. She has more than 12 years of research experience in studying biochemical mechanisms underlying various chronic disease conditions including malnutrition. She has a keen interest in developing regression-based models for predicting various disease outcomes including stunting. Her previous work involved developing dietary habits-based algorithms for identifying risk of cardiovascular diseases. She also recently won a start up grant for developing a comprehensive kit for assessment of micro and micro nutrition deficiencies. Her research work also involves designing and implementing evidence supported policy decisions through systematic reviews, meta-analysis and health technology assessment studies. She is an academic editor of multiple journals from the field of public health, chronic diseases and biochemistry. She has more than 90 peer-reviewed publications that have an i-10 index of 23 and 39, respectively.


Dr Patrizia Fracassi, Senior Nutrition and Food System Officer, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Patrizia Fracassi is Senior Nutrition and Food Systems Officer at FAO leading the work on governance, policies, programmes and investments. Previously, she was the Senior Nutrition Analyst and Strategy Adviser at the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement Secretariat focusing on Government-led multi-sectoral approaches for planning, costing, managing implementation, tracking investments and mobilizing resources. Patrizia has worked in Ethiopia with UNICEF on Nutrition Information System strengthening and for the World Bank on Linkages between the Productive Safety Net Program and the National Nutrition Program. She also worked for UNICEF Uganda as a Nutrition Specialist and for CESVI and Oxfam Italia in Vietnam as Country Director, specializing in community-based nutrition, primary health care and livelihoods. Patrizia holds a PhD in Health Research, an MSc in Development Management and an MA in Human Sciences. She is interested on the political economy of nutrition.