Research Director, Institut de recherche pour le développement, Prezode
Benjamin Roche is a research director, specialist in the interaction between biodiversity and infectious diseases, and scientific advisor to the CEO of the French research institute for sustainable development (IRD). He is also involved in the construction and implementation of the PREZODE Initiative (Preventing Zoonotic Disease Emergence).
His research focuses on understanding what key inter-disciplinary insights can be gleaned from bringing together the fields of evolutionary ecology and public health, especially through data analysis, mathematical modeling and phylodynamic approach. He studies how host and pathogen diversities may affect zoonotic diseases emergence and propagation, and how integrated prevention strategies can reduce this risk. He also works on the interactions between ecological and societal processes in pathogen spread, especially human behavior. Beyond infectious disease epidemiology, he studies the impact of pathogen community structure on cancer incidence and severity. He develops theoretical models relying on experimental data to understand how "adaptive therapy" can be applied to chemotherapy treatment to delay the emergence of drug resistance.
In addition to his research activities, he collaborates with numerous national and international health authorities to oversee the development of decision support tools (advising two governments during the COVID-19 crisis for public health policy support) as well as developing and implementing prevention programs against new pandemic at an international level, such as the PREZODE initiative. While deeply rooted in fundamental research, his projects also offer translational opportunities that are investigated to improve public health strategies, especially in low-income countries