Alumni of the Section of Epidemiology

Table of contents


Martin Hitziger
Dr. Martin Hitziger - postdoctoral fellow

Martin Hitziger is environmental scientist and management scientist with a passion for systems thinking, sustainability, global health and international development. His research bridges the divides between quantitative, qualitative and transdisciplinary/participative methods. Building on activities in environmental decision analysis and support for impact assessments, strategic planning and stakeholder engagements in the European context, he has several years experience in designing, coordinating and facilitating collaborative research projects for global health with local and indigenous partners in Latin America ( At the section for Epidemiology, he was working at the science-policy interface in advancing methods for complex systems evaluation in integrated health surveillance. In this project, he worked together with the Network for the Evaluation of One Health (a European Cost-Action Initiative:, and the International Society for Disease Surveillance (

Currently, Martin Hitziger works at the UN Convention for International Trade with Endangered Species (CITES) in Geneva.


Seraina Jäger
Seraina Jäger - doctoral student

Seraina Jaeger studied veterinary medicine at the University of Zürich from 2009-2015. Since her graduation, she works as practicing veterinarian for farm and small animals in Switzerland. In July 2015 she started her doctoral thesis supervised by Prof. Paul Torgerson and Dr. Simon Rüegg. In the course of her thesis she investigates if the identification of acute phase proteins in milk (in particular Amyloid A) is as sensitive as or more sensitive than the somatic cell count for mastitis diagnosis, using bacteriological culture as the gold standard. Furthermore she wants to detect if acute phase proteins in milk would be suitable markers not only for clinical but also for subclinical mastitis.

Seraina is now working as resident at the ruminant clinic of the University of Zurich.


Fabien Mavrot
Fabien Mavrot - PhD student

Fabien Mavrot studied veterinary medicine at the University of Bern and did his PhD with Prof. Paul Togerson. His work was part of the EU founded consortium: GLOWORM which aimed at predicting and mitigating changes in epidemiology, seasonality and geographic distribution of helminths in European livestock due to global warming and increasing anthelmintic resistance. In collaboration with the other members of the GLOWWORM consortium, the contributions of the Section for Veterinary Epidemiology were

  • to evaluate the financial impact of gastro-intestinal nematode infection on livestock production in Europe
  • to assess the influence of different management factors on the prevalence and abundance of nematodes in sheep flocks.
  • to describe the development of Haemonchus contortus in relation to meteorological conditions on alpine pastures.

Fabien is now working as postdoc at the University of Calgary

Belen Otero
Belen Otero-Abad - PhD student

Belen Otero studied veterinary medicine at the University of Valencia and at the University of Bologna before moving to the UK, where she acted as an enforcement officer (O.V.) for the British Veterinary Public Health Force. After successfully completing an MSc degree in Veterinary Epidemiology in London, she joined the Epidemiology and Public Health Group at the Royal Veterinary College, where she was involved in a number of European funded projects. In July 2011 Ms. Otero began her PhD studies in Vetsuisse as part of an SNSF funded project concerned with modelling Echinococcus transmission.
Belen now works at the OIE in Paris.

Marta Pittavino
Marta Pittavino - PhD student

Marta Pittavino studied mathematics at the University of Turin, Italy, with a master thesis in mathematical epidemiology. In January 2012 Marta started her PhD in Computational Epidemiology as part of an SNSF funded project concerned with developing Bayesian Networks as a tool for Zoonotic Systems Epidemiology. Her project was a collaboration between the Department of Mathematics and the Section of Veterinary Epidemiology.

Amanuel Tsegay
Amanuel Tsegay - PhD mobility student

Amanuel Tsegay got his MSc in Tropical and Infectious diseases programme, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, before he joined Makerere University, Uganda, for his PhD in Veterinary Medicine in 2014. He was at the Section for Veterinary Epidemiology on a North-South mobility grant programme supervised by Professor Paul Torgerson and Sonja Hartnack. His PhD project was entitled "Molecular Mapping of Brucella infection in domestic ruminants in Eastern and North Eastern Uganda". During his studies, investigated specific species and biovars of Brucella in cattle, sheep and goat in the three districts of Uganda using molecular techniques.

Michel Counotte
Michel Counotte - Intern

Michel Counotte studied veterinary medicine at Ghent University, Belgium. After 6 years as small animal practitioner he started the epidemiology postgraduate program at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands. As part of this program he will be doing a one year internship. He will be working on zoonoses in Kyrgyzstan, with a special interest in Echinococcus.

Michel is now PhD student at the Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine of the University of Bern.


Fraser Lewis
Dr. Fraser Lewis - senior scientist

Fraser Lewis studied mathematics and was senior research assistant in our section. Besides teaching and consulting, he advanced the field of Additive Bayesian Networks. The result of his work can be found under