Research areas

  • B680-public-health
  • B680-epidemiology
  • B780-tropical-medicine

Research expertise


Marleen Boelaert is an epidemiologist who graduated as a medical doctor from the KULeuven in 1985. She worked with Médecins Sans Frontières in several African countries between 1986 and 1994. She joined the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium in 1994. Her PhD research evaluated the role of Latent Class Analysis in diagnostic accuracy studies when there is no gold standard, a common problem in parasitic diseases. Her research concentrates on the control of tropical infectious diseases, mainly leishmaniasis and sleeping sickness. Her team evaluated a.o. the clinical benefit of rapid diagnostic tests for kala-azar and the effectiveness of insecticide-treated bednets for kala-azar control.

Current research topics are:

  • Visceral leishmaniasis elimination strategies in the Indian subcontinent
  • Alternative approaches to population screening of sleeping sickness in the context of elimination
  • Syndromatic approach to the clinical management of Neglected Tropical Diseases (
  • Socio-economic dimensions of Neglected Tropical Diseases

Teaching expertise


- Teaching epidemiology and statistics in the Master of Public Health (since 1994) and Diploma Course (1994-2008) 

- Teaching research methods at the Institute for Development Policy-University Antwerp (1999-2008)

- Director of the MPH- Disease Control (1998-2011)

- Director of the Short Course on Control of Tropical Diseases (since 1998)

- Director of  the Course "Evaluation des tests diagnostiques" at Institut Pasteur, Paris, France

- Co-developer of the Short Course on Research Methods taught at University of Kinshasa, D.R.Congo, with Prof. P. Lutumba

- Co-developer of the Short Course on Tropical & Infectious Diseases taught at BPKIHS, Nepal, with Prof S. Rijal

- Holder of the degree "Aggregation for Teaching Medicine" obtained at KULeuven in 1994

Services expertise


- Head of the Unit Epidemiology and Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases (since 2002)

- Head of the Department of Public Health (2011-2015)

- Promotor of two programs for capacity strenghtening through institutional partnership, one with INRB, Kinshasa in DR Congo, and one with BPKIHS, Dharan, Nepal 

- Associate editor of PLOS NTD.

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