NUS professor to lead global body on infectious diseases

Professor Paul Tambyah has been appointed president-elect of the US-based International Society of Infectious Diseases and will take up the top post in 2022.
Professor Paul Tambyah has been appointed president-elect of the US-based International Society of Infectious Diseases and will take up the top post in 2022.

National University of Singapore (NUS) professor and infectious disease expert Paul Tambyah will be leading the Massachusetts-based International Society of Infectious Diseases (ISID) in 2022 as its president, the university said yesterday.

For now, Prof Tambyah has been appointed the society's president-elect and will support incumbent ISID president, Prof Alison Holmes, in running the organisation until he takes over its leadership as the society's first Singaporean president.

The society, which has more than 90,000 members from over 155 countries, was founded in 1986. It supports health professionals, non-governmental organisations and governments globally in their work to prevent, investigate and manage infectious disease outbreaks and endemic infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and dengue. It focuses on countries with limited resources and which disproportionately bear the burden of infectious diseases.

Commenting on Prof Tambyah's appointment, Professor Marc Mendelson, a former ISID president, said: "Paul is well known to all in the field of infectious diseases, and brings a wealth of experience from his time with multiple international societies and august bodies, as well as formidable experience across the spectrum of infection, including outbreaks, tropical medicine and clinical applied research.

"He is a go-to speaker on so many topics and currently serves as chair of the ISID Publications Committee, playing a vital role in the success of our journal."

At NUS' Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Prof Tambyah is professor of medicine.

He also serves as a senior consultant in infectious diseases at the National University Hospital and was previously the research director in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the National University Health System (NUHS).

Outside of NUHS, Prof Tambyah is the president of the Asia Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection.

He is also the chairman of the Singapore Democratic Party.

Prof Tambyah said of his ISID appointment: "This is a critical time for infectious diseases globally. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought home the fact that viruses do not respect international boundaries. No one is safe anywhere until everyone is safe everywhere.

"Singapore academics, clinicians and public health professionals have much to contribute to societies such as ISID to help make the world a healthier place for everyone."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2020, with the headline 'NUS professor to lead global body on infectious diseases'. Print Edition | Subscribe