Born of Latvian parentage, Dr Janis Lazdins nonetheless hails from Venezuela, where he obtained his medical degree from the Universidad de Carabobo in 1970. In 1978 he was awarded a Ph.D. in Cell Developmental Biology from Harvard University in Boston. Janis' academic credentials includes 15 years of tenure at the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research, Harvard University, The National Institutes of Health, NCI, USA and Universita La Sapienza, Italy. During this time he conducted biomedical research (on tuberculosis, schistosomiasis, HIV and Epstein-Barr virus and tumors) and medical teaching (general pathology, inflammation and host defence mechanisms) as well as serving as a member of a number scientific review panels and associations.

Before joining TDR, Janis spent 12 years working for the pharmaceutical industry specifically Ciba-Geigy/Novartis. Duties there included drug discovery (HIV, inflammation and cancer), in addition to work as senior manager of project/product development activities a position which also involved strategic portfolio management. Among Janis' other responsibilities were the development of drugs and vaccines targeting malaria, fascioliasis, AIDS, immunodeficiency, sepsis and arthritis, through matrix management (basic science, drug discovery research, pre-clinical research, clinical research, regulatory processes, intellectual property rights, national and global health economics).

Janis joined TDR in 1998, working with the TDR/African Program for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC)/Onchocerciasis Control Programme in West Africa (OCP). Today his work focuses on product research and development with a spotlight on onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, Chagas disease and schistosomiasis. Janis speaks Spanish, English, Italian, German, and Latvian. He is married with three children.

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