Professor Quique Bassat
ICREA Research Professor
As a pediatrician, with a special interest in infectious disease epidemiology and public health, Professor Bassat has attempted to combine his clinical work with biomedical research in those diseases that most affect the poor and vulnerable. Professor Bassat completed his undergraduate at the University of Barcelona, city where he also qualified as a pediatrician in 2004, conducted an MSc in Tropical medicine at the University of Barcelona (2004), a second MSc in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2008), and obtained his Ph.D. in 2009 at the University of Barcelona.
As a pediatrician, Dr. Bassat’s research has always relied on the premise that there is no greater public health intervention than that which can reduce child mortality, particularly in poor contexts. To do these, he has worked in low and middle-income countries to understand and prevent malaria, and other infectious diseases that most impact child survival. His work on P. falciparum malaria has contributed to better characterize the clinical disease and to assess treatment and prevention strategies, including vaccines and new antimalarial drugs. He has studied the pathogenic potential of P. vivax, a malaria species wrongly believed to only cause “benign” episodes, but for which he contributed to conclusively show in Brazil, India or Papua New Guinea its potential to cause severe disease. His work in yaws has substantially contributed to identify new therapeutic and preventive strategies for this neglected infection and to optimize current diagnostic approaches. For malaria and yaws, his research is contributing to develop and test the new paradigm of disease eradication, by assessing the impact of drugs to specifically interrupt their transmission.
Regarding other infectious diseases, he has investigated in Mozambique, Morocco and more recently Bhutan the epidemiology, etiology and clinical characteristics of different syndromes, including pneumonia, diarrhea, and neonatal sepsis, all major causes of premature and often easily preventable mortality. Recognizing that in the poorest areas of the world diagnostic capacities are scarce, he has studied host biomarkers as a tool to reliably differentiate viral from bacterial conditions, and thus better target antibiotic treatment.
In recent years, his research has focused on improving the poor existing data on the causes of death in low-income countries, a fundamental barrier for better health care and policy. A significant contribution has been the validation of a radically innovative minimally invasive autopsy (MIA) sampling protocol, now well accepted as the proxy gold standard for the cause of death investigation, and routinely utilized across CHAMPS sites.
He has published (as of October 2018) over 230 articles in peer-reviewed international journals, and more than 15 book chapters. He has a clear interest in training and capacity building of researchers from low and middle-income countries, having directed 6 Ph.D. theses, and currently supervising 7 additional Ph.D. students.