Woottichai Khamduang and Nicole Ngo-Giang-Huong, coordinators of the PRESTO International Joint Laboratory (IJL), organized a brainstorming meeting on March 14, 2023 on the theme "What research should be conducted to prevent future epidemics/pandemics in Southeast Asia?"

The brainstorming meeting on regional research strategies in the face of epidemics, initiated by the members of the IJL PRESTO, gathered about 40 participants:

  • partners from Chiang Mai University - CMU (Faculty of Associate Medical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Public Health and Research Institute for Health Sciences)
  • Members of the Doi Chiang Dao Wildlife Research Station
  • Members of the Homkoi communities
  • partners from the Faculty of Tropical Medicine of Mahidol University (MU)
  • partners from the Faculty of Veterinary Technology, Kasetsart University (KU)
  • researchers from Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU)

Sabrina Locatelli, co-coordinator of IJL PRESTO in Laos attended the morning online sessions.

The meeting started with a welcome address by the Dean of the Faculty of Associate Medical Sciences of Chiang Mai University, Prof. Dr. Sakorn Pornprasert, who recalled the long-standing relationship between the AMS Faculty and IRD. Dr. Woottichai Khamduang then presented the LMI and its objectives. Dr. Serge Morand, UMR MIVEGEC, and Dr. Anamika Krittiyaka, Faculty of Veterinary Technology, Kasetsart University, presented the PREZODE (Preventing Zoonotic Disease Emergence) initiative and the funding opportunities through this initiative, notably PREACTS 2 and the ANR PEPR PREZODE call to which partners in Thailand and Laos could contribute.

In the perspective of preparing for future epidemics, Dr. Kittipong Chaisiri from the Faculty of Tropical Medicine (MU) and Dr. Chuanphot Thinphovong from the Faculty of Veterinary Technology (KU) then shared their "Saen Thong Experience" but also on the socio-ecological and One Health observatory, which has been established for more than 10 years in the Nan region. This observatory has made it possible to study the links between biodiversity and health, in particular the role of rodents as reservoirs of pathogens responsible for human diseases in relation to land use change. More generally, it allows studies to be conducted to determine the impacts of environmental changes on:

  • infectious diseases
  • agrochemical toxic risks
  • antimicrobial resistance


A participatory brainstorming workshop

In preparation for the afternoon brainstorming, all participants were asked to individually list 3 questions of interest. The afternoon sessions began with a review of these questions and their grouping by theme. Dr. Premamrin Inmomthian from the Faculty of Associate Medical Sciences (CMU) presented his ongoing TOHUN project "Survey of zoonotic viruses in wildlife and human contacts in Chiang Mai Province". Dr. Vanina Guernier, IRD researcher from UMR iEES Paris and hosted by Kasetsart University, presented her work on the eco-epidemiology of environmental bacteria responsible for human diseases in tropical areas, including leptospirosis and melioidosis. Her current project, BComE-WITh, focuses on the ecology of Burkholderia pseudomallei in the French West Indies and Thailand. BComE-WITh will study these bacterial species in Nan, Loei and Kanchanaburi provinces.

The brainstorming session on the problems identified and to be solved was then carried out in 4 groups predefined in order to ensure that all the expertises were represented in each group. At the end of this session, the moderators of each group reported the conclusions of their group and Serge Morand commented on these conclusions in the perspective of a response to the ANR PEPR PREZODE call.