Women supporting the COVID-19 response in the Pacific

This International Day for Women and Girls in Science the Centre would like to recognise the work of those supporting COVID-19 response activities in the Pacific region.


Jean MoselenJean Moselen

Jean Moselen is a Research Assistant and Medical Scientist based at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Influenza at the Doherty Institute. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jean has worked in partnership with The Pacific Community (SPC), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security and other essential partners to strengthen laboratory facilities and surveillance networks and implement molecular (PCR) diagnostics in the Pacific Region, including Kiribati.

In addition to providing advice on equipment, consumables and reagents required to perform PCR diagnostics, Jean developed tailored guides and remote training sessions for in-country counterparts. Building capacity for PCR testing and facilities has enabled Kiribati to improve SARS CoV-2 detection and surveillance during the pandemic response and has ultimately improved health outcomes in the Pacific Region.

“The power of increased PCR diagnostic capacity has enabled Kiribati and the Pacific region to move towards a future with improved health outcomes.”


Dr Anne WattDr Anne Watt

Dr Anne Watt is a Genomic Epidemiologist working in the International Genomics Team at the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory at the Doherty Institute, Melbourne.

Working in partnership with Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security, Dr Watt has supported the COVID-19 response in Pacific Island Countries through integrated analysis of genomic and epidemiological data to understand emerging outbreaks, identify patterns of transmission, and monitor emergence and spread of new lineages and variants of concern.

Whole genome sequencing provides essential insight into the COVID-19 situation across the Pacific region, allowing for timely and tailored public health responses.

“I am grateful to be working in an area that can provide support to our counterparts across the region during this time and working towards increasing in-country capacity to understand and use genomic data for public health.”