Prof Mareli Claassens
Associate research professor, University of Namibia
Prof. Mareli Claassens is a clinical epidemiologist trained at Stellenbosch University (MB.ChB., M.Phil. Ethics and PG.Dip. M&E), the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (M.Sc. Epidemiology) and the University of Amsterdam (Ph.D.). She has more than fifteen years’ experience of conducting clinical trials, diagnostics studies, and operational research in infectious diseases, and specifically tuberculosis (TB) in South Africa and Namibia. She is an Associate Research Professor at the University of Namibia, an Extraordinary Associate Professor at the Desmond Tutu TB Centre (DTTC), Stellenbosch University and a Research Associate at the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (SACEMA). She has recently completed a fellowship in Global Health at the Harvard School of Public Health and Global Health Institute. She is well versed in the implementation and evaluation of clinical and public health research studies, including interventions. She was the clinical coordinator of the ZAMSTAR trial at Stellenbosch University which evaluated novel public health interventions in a community-based factorial design. She is recognised as an African Research Leader by the British Medical Research Council and funded for the project “Hotspots, households and hospitals: enhanced DR-TB case finding in Namibia” and is a Senior Fellow of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP). She is also a member of the Global Young Academy. Through her work, she aims to improve implementation gaps by bringing the bench to the bedside and the community through participatory and community engagement approaches, in conjunction with state-of-the-art diagnostics and other technologies. She is convinced that transdisciplinary approaches, for instance One Health, could have a monumental impact on health outcomes. She feels very strongly about engaging young girls and women to make their way in the STEMM fields and am embarking on a project titled WoNam (Women in Namibia) to ensure equitable opportunities for all..