Who We Are

UCLA Staff

Anne W. Rimoin, Ph.D., M.P.H.,
UCLA-DRC Research Program Director

ucla_anne_rimoin-10-2_rt_resizeAnne W. Rimoin, Ph.D., M.P.H. is a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at UCLA School of Public Health. She received her training at Middlebury College (B.A. African History, 1992), UCLA School of Public Health (M.P.H, International Health and Nutrition, 1996), and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Ph.D. International Health, Division of Disease Prevention and Control, 2003).

In 2004, she founded the UCLA-DRC Research program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the vast majority of her research is based. She collaborates closely with the DRC Ministry of Health, the Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale (National Institute of Biomedical Research and DRC National Reference Laboratory) and the Kinshasa School of Public Health.

Dr. Rimoin’s main research focus is on the design and implementation of disease surveillance systems in remote rural areas to detect novel pathogens of animal origin that are crossing species into human populations in central Africa and to understand the epidemiology and ecological factors that influence transmission and spread of these diseases. Her ongoing work aims to elucidate the epidemiology of monkeypox and other emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) through active disease surveillance in remote regions of central Africa with subsistence hunters and other individuals at who live and work at the human-animal interface and are at high risk for cross species disease transmission. These individuals represent an important sentinel population for monitoring viral disease emergence in a region from which numerous EIDs, including Ebola, Monkeypox, and Marburg have been known to recur.

In addition to her work on emerging infections, Dr. Rimoin also provides technical assistance to the Congolese government for general disease surveillance, polio eradication and routine immunization. She is currently conducting a study (funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) to assess population immunity to vaccine preventable diseases which will help the Congolese government determine where to best focus their resources to close immunity gaps.

 

Kirstin Chickering, M.P.H,
Associate Director

profile-sept-2015Kirstin Chickering, M.P.H. is the Associate Director of the UCLA Research Program.  She received her B.A. in Political Science and French from Duke University and her M.P.H. in Behavioral Science and Health Education from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.  Ms. Chickering has been employed by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health since 1996 and has extensive experience in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health programs in both international and domestic settings.    Ms. Chickering manages all financial, personnel, contract, and administrative issues for the UCLA-DRC Research Program.

 

Nicole A. Hoff, Ph.D., M.P.H.,
DRC Country Director, former Faucett Fellow

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Nicole Hoff is the Kinshasa, DRC based country director and a senior administrative analyst within the UCLA-DRC Research Program at UCLA.  Nicole earned her B.A. in Biology and Sociology, followed by a MPH in Epidemiology from Tulane University.  Focusing in global health and infectious disease, She earned a PhD in Epidemiology from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in 2014.

Nicole has been primarily based in DRC for the last 5 years where she works closely with and have established relationships with the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Institute National de Recherche Biomedical (INRB), and the Kinshasa School of Public Health (KSPH).  Her past research evaluated the country’s monkeypox surveillance system, the result of which provided recommendations for improvements in reporting.  Most notably, Nicole has worked in collaboration with both the Congolese government and MOH as a supervisor for the 2013 Demographics and Health Survey (DHS), to which our research group (UCLA-DRC) contributed the first population-wide serological survey for vaccine preventable diseases for the DRC.  Our collaborations with Congolese government have since continued as she has supervised and worked on a number of the National Immunization Program activities, including supervising mass campaigns, conducting post-vaccination studies, and evaluating disease surveillance programs.  Nicole currently manage the day-to-day activities for the following projects: estimation of population immunity to vaccine preventable diseases; isolation of Ebola-reactive human antibody research; and evaluation and supervision of the National Trypanosomiasis Program.

 

Amelia Goldsmith, M.P.H,
Senior Program Coordinator

screen-shot-2019-11-07-at-11-05-18-amAmelia is the Kinshasa, DRC based program manager and joined UCLA-DRC in January of 2019. She earned her B.A. from Reed College and her M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She began her career working as a medical legal advocate and paralegal for low-income people and migrants in Richmond, Virginia and New York City where she provided direct service to 2,000 people. She has worked on public health projects with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the International Rescue Committee, the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, and the World Health Organization.

 

Adva Gadoth,Ph.D., M.P.H.,
Post doctoral fellow, former Faucett Fellow

img_0799-2Adva Gadoth earned her PhD at the UCLA Fielding School of Public health, joining both the school and the UCLA-DRC Research Program in 2014.  She earned her B.S. in Environmental Biology and her M.P.H. in Environmental Health Sciences and Toxicology from the University of Michigan.  After graduating with her master’s degree, Ms. Gadoth moved to Gujarat, India to help design and implement a nutritional intervention program aimed at improving health outcomes amongst school children, and then returned to the US where she worked as a regulatory toxicologist conducting risk assessments for the World Health Organization before joining UCLA-DRC.  Ms. Gadoth hopes to bridge her environmental health expertise with an interest in neglected tropical diseases to study the impact of land-use change on infectious disease transmission patterns in Congo.

 

Angie Ghanem, M.P.H.,
Doctoral student

Angie Ghanem is a doctoral student in Epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She earned her B.A. in Public Health for the University of California, Berkeley and her M.P.H. in Epidemiology from San Diego State University. Since graduating, Angie became certified in infection control and has worked in Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Prevention in Los Angeles where she conducts infectious disease surveillance, outbreak investigation, data analysis, and designs public health interventions in a hospital setting. Her research interests include investigating methods of surveillance for emerging infectious diseases and developing interventions for prevention and control.

 

Alvan Cheng, M.P.H.,
Doctoral student


Alvan Cheng is a doctoral student at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health within the UCLA-DRC Research Program. He earned his B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2012, and after graduating, worked as an investigative toxicologist for Pfizer, focusing on oncology research. He then continued to earn his M.P.H. in Epidemiology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2017. To connect his background in oncology research to his interest in emerging infectious diseases, he joined the UCLA-DRC Research program in 2016.

 

Megan Halbrook, M.P.H.,
Doctoral student


Megan Halbrook is a doctoral student in infectious disease epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She earned her BA in medical anthropology from McGill University and an MPH in infectious disease epidemiology from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Prior to UCLA, Megan worked in microfinance and at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Her research interest is focused on the anthropogenic factors that drive disease transmission, specifically surrounding food culture and habits of hunting, agriculture, and marketplaces.

 

Anna Bratcher, M.P.H.,
Doctoral student


Anna is a doctoral student in the Epidemiology department at Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA. She has five years of experience in public health on projects involving global infectious disease research, domestic (US) HIV research, and program evaluation. She earned her Masters of Science in Public Health (MSPH) at Emory University and her Bachelors of Science in Microbiology at the University of Georgia. Anna is passionate about studying infectious disease, particularly viral hemorrhagic fevers, and hopes to contribute to a better understanding of immunological responses to these diseases with UCLA-DRC.

 

Sylvia Tangney, M.P.H.,
Graduate student

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Sylvia Tangney is a graduate student in infectious disease epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She earned her B.A. in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley and her M.P.H. from the University of California, Davis. Prior to UCLA, Sylvia worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Center for Global Health, supporting both the Global Health Security Agenda in the Division of Global Health Protection and Polio Eradication in the Global Immunization Division. Sylvia’s research interests include emerging infectious diseases and vaccine preventable disease programming.

Michael Mengual, M.P.H.,
Doctoral student

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Michael Mengual is a graduate student in infectious disease epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. He earned his BS in biochemistry from North Carolina State University and an MPH in the epidemiology of microbial diseases from the Yale School of Public Health. Prior to UCLA, Michael gained experience working as a laboratory manager in an immunology laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After which he worked as a research analyst in a virology laboratory at Duke University. His main hobby is to operate in the function of a full-time uncle to four little fireballs, namely: Audrey, Henry, Madeline, and Jonathan. During his free time Michael enjoys heading to the gym as well as practicing a variety of martial arts. He has also been known to enjoy pina coladas as well as getting caught in the rain.

DRC Staff

Jean Paul Kompany, MD
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Laboratory Manager

Kompany joined the UCLA-DRC team in September 2018. He earned his MD from the University of Kinshasa in 2013.

Dalau Nkamba Mukadi, MD, M.P.H.,
Research Manager

Kamy K. MUSENE, MD
Field Manager

kamyKamy MUSENE is a research assistant within UCLA-DRC Research Program. He got his Medical Degree in 2014 from the Protestant University in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Fascinated by infectious diseases, he originally came to UCLA-DRC as a Post Graduate Intern to better understand the Epidemiology of infectious diseases and the DRC’s health system. After this internship, he became a Research Assistant for our group. Kamy has worked on several research activities related to Ebola, Human African Trypanosomiasis and vaccine preventable diseases.

Developing skills, getting more experience, he wishes to get a Masters and PhD degrees in Public Health.

Camille Dzogang, DMD,
Research Assistant

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Camille joined UCLA-DRC in the summer of 2016. She holds a BA in Biological Sciences and a Doctorate in Dental Medicine which she earned in Cameroon. Camille plays a key role in managing our data collection trips in the field including in Equateur and Tanganyika provinces.

Norbert Mabanza,M.P.H.,
Research Assistant

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Norbert joined the UCLA-DRC team in the summer of 2019 after completing his Master of Public Health degree at the Kinshasa School of Public Health. Prior to joining UCLA-DRC, Norbert held nursing positions at Monkolé Hospital in Kinshasa and at the Kikwit General Hospital.

Francine S. Miole
Administrative assistant

francineFrancine works within the UCLA-DRC Research program as an Administrative assistant, and is in charge of administration and finance.

Graduated in English and African culture with professional experience of more than ten years in teaching, administration and has participated actively to the elaboration of proposals.

She has worked with the Kinshasa School of Public Health in several projects financed by Centers for Diseases Control – Global Aids Program (CDC-GAP/ESP from 2005-2009 and CDC-PEPFAR-ESP project from 2009-2014.

 

Merly Tambu
Technician-Laboratory

screen-shot-2019-11-12-at-12-43-51-pm Merly is a medical biologist with a BA in laboratory technology and 7 years of professional experience at DRC’s National Institute of Biomedical Research and joined the UCLA team 2 years ago. Merly has participated in field epidemiology studies in Equateur, Haut Lomami, North Kivu, and Tanganyika.

Nathalie W. Kavira
Technician-Laboratory

nathalieNathalie Kavira earned her bachelor degree in Laboratory Technology at Institut Supérieur des Techniques Médicales (ISTM) in Kinshasa, since 2013.

She has been trained in blood collection, Parasitology, Hematology, Virology and Bacteriology techniques at National Institute for Biomedical Research with a particular focus on immunoenzymatic assays related to viral diseases diagnosis (Measles, Rubella, and Yellow fever, HIV, Hepatitis B).

Nathalie Kavira joined UCLA-DRC-Research Program in 2013 and attended at Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) and performed, for the first time in DRC, Multiplex Elisa Machine for the screening of antibodies against MMRVT (Measles Mumps Rubella Varicella and Tetanus).

 

Rachel M. Mutombe
Laboratory Technician

rachelRachel Mutombe earned her Bachelor degree in Laboratory Technology at Institut Supérieur des Sciences de la Santé/Croix Rouge (ISSS/CR) in Kinshasa, since 2014.

She has been trained in blood collection, Parasitology, Hematology, Virology and Bacteriology techniques at National Institute for Biomedical Research with a particular focus on immunoenzymatic assays related to viral diseases diagnosis (Measles, Rubella, and Yellow fever, HIV, Hepatitis B).

Rachel Mutombe joined UCLA-DRC-Research program since 2015 as a laboratory technician.

 

Elie M. Lokutumba
Driver and Logistics

elieElie Lokutumba is a driver for UCLA-DRC that is in charge of charge of logistics. He joined the team in 2011.

Background: Degree in Management of Informatics and is completing studies in Analysis and Programming of data.

 

Fabrice T. Bito
Driver

fabriceFabrice BITO is a driver within UCLA-DRC. He joined the team as a consultant in 2013 and got confirmed in 2015.

 

congoadminWho We Are