Meet the Team
Dr. Anusha SeneviratneFounder
Anusha is a Lecturer in Human and Environmental Health Studies at Royal Holloway University of London. She holds a BSc and MRes in Biomedical Sciences, and a PhD in Vascular Immunology from Imperial College London, where she spent researched atherosclerotic vascular disease, and published several peer-reviewed papers in world-leading cardiovascular journals. Her current research interests focus on how environmental factors such as pollution, infectious disease and medicinal plants affect atherosclerosis and inflammation in the human body. She contributed to a report on Non-Communicable Diseases for the World Health Organization and the São Paulo Declaration on Planetary Health. She volunteers with the Foundation of Goodness, supporting school education, and coaching upcoming Table Tennis players using her experience as a former England under-11 champion. She is a member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Butterfly Conservation in the UK, and is passionate about Planetary Health, decolonizing knowledge, climate justice, Nature, and Conservation. She also enjoys wildlife photography and sustainable crafting such as crochet and sewing.
Hugh Shirley is a medical student at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. He received a BS in Biochemistry from Northeastern University, where he led RAISE, a student research group dedicates to using chemistry and engineering to tackle planetary health issues, and was a founding member of NUGHI, a group that organizes global health conferences to create opportunities for collaboration and learning between students and global health experts from around the world. He is a Research Associate at the African Center for Community Engagement in Health (ACCIH) and is on the advisory board for the NEU Africa Global Initiative. Hugh is passionate about climate change and its impacts on health impacts on global populations.
Joelita is a specialist in Assistance Policy Management at the University Center of Lins (UNILINS); She is an Educommunicator and coordinates the Núcleo Regional Lins (ABPEducom) – Brazilian Association of Researchers and Professionals in Educommunication, a veteran student of Educom.Saúde.SP Project of the Health Department of the State of São Paulo, a member of Brazilian Planetary Health Club, a 2023 Planetary Health Campus Ambassador (PHCAs) of the Planetary Health Alliance (PHA) based at the Harvard T.H; member of the coordinators group of Planetary Health Youths Ambassador (Program of the Planetary Health Brazil Study Group, linked to the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of São Paulo GSP-IEA-USP); Member of the co-ordinators group of the Planetary Health Youths Club (Programme of the Girawa Student Network). She volunteers in her city, supporting projects to promote community health and of the environment. She likes to motivate people to take good care of human life and the environment and enjoys walks on the beach with her children.
Collins is currently pursuing a Master of Science Degree in Environmental & Biosystems Engineering at the University of Nairobi, Kenya after graduating from the same institution with a BSc degree. For his MSc Research Project, Collins is working on Evaporative Cooling Systems to in a bid to help address the issue of Post-Harvest Food Losses especially of vegetables & fruits and milk, which has been listed by the United Nations and other organizations as among the major contributors to Climate Change. Collins is a member of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya (IEK) and has been volunteering with the University of Nairobi’s Rotaract Club, Spice Warriors Kenya and Rescue Earth CBO; all with a common aim of making the Earth a safer and better place to live in. He is an Environment enthusiast, pushing for action to counter the Triple Planetary Crisis (Climate Change, Pollution and Biodiversity Loss). Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is another area of interest to him.
Vanessa is an Integrative health professional and artist with a multidisciplinary approach. Dancer, Registered dietitian and Wellness mentor, she likes to motivate people for change. Member of the Brazilian College of Lifestyle Medicine, she’s a PhD student in Food Science at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and professor of Nutrition Science at the post-graduation course in preventive and Lifestyle medicine. Passionate about nature and life, she’s a Planetary Health Campus ambassador at PHA- Harvard and mentor Jr at the Brazilian program coordinated by the Planetary Health Study Group at IEA-USP. She’s member of the Southeast Brazilian Planetary Health Club and Integrates the Clinicians for Planetary Health (C4PH) network at PHA. Executive secretariat at the transdisciplinary mentoring research network MRN as well as co-coordinator at the Arts, culture and Indigenous Knowledge Systems action team both at ACOPPHE (Africa Community of Planetary Partners for Health and Environment).
Mikhail is a research technician in the Cardiovascular Sciences department of the National Heart & Lung Institute (NHLI)-Imperial College London, obtaining his BSc in Biomedical Sciences from Kingston University London. He is currently active in the research of atherosclerosis, where the group focuses on the role of antibodies in the progression or protection in this devastating condition, with the aim of utilising these antibodies as potential future biomarkers, imaging agents for detection and therapeutic drugs for plaque/lesion treatment. He has contributed to the publication of several papers in scientific journals. Mikhail’s passion has long been in planetary health, ecology, conservation and pollution which has been prompted by recurrent visits to his parent’s homeland of the Philippines where he noticed the reduction of ecological diversity, increased plastic pollution, natural habitat destruction and increased healthcare issues with the local population.
Manuella Fantauzzi Franco
Manuella is a Master’s student in Public Health at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil. She is also a Physical Therapist and received her BSc degree from the Federal University of Minas Gerais. Her line of research is in Environmental Epidemiology in which she verifies the environmental damage to human health and, in her master’s project, she is carrying out a study to observe the spatial distribution of osteoporosis in Brazil and the possible association of air pollution with bone quality of population groups. She is also a member of the Southeast Planetary Health Club of Brazil, collaborating with the sustainable and socio-educational activities developed by the group. Manuella loves being outdoors, she is passionate about nature and studies related to climate change and environmental health.
Vanessa dos Santos Siviero graduated in Journalism at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) specialising in Communications at ESPM University and Marketing at IBGEN University. She is currently a student of an Academic Master’s Degree in Health Management and IT at Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre (UFCSPA). She is also a member of the Planetary Health Ambassadors of the Planetary Health Studies Group at the University of São Paulo (USP). Professionally, Vanessa is director and partner at Bluma Hub, a company that operates in the digital marketing area in Brazil.
Hesh is a Geo-environmental Consultant working within the geosciences division at RSK Group. He graduated University College London with an MSc in Geology and continues his development to become a Chartered Geologist. Hesh has been involved in numerous development projects, finding and implementing solutions for various contamination issues throughout the UK. Having an affinity for the natural world since he was young, he joined Girawa to play his part in the future of both the minds of the next generation and the planet he will leave behind.
Thales C. C. A. Bandeira
Thales is a resident in Neurology from University of Heidelberg. He was a Representative of Brazil at the BRICS international medical congress ’’Global fight against hypertension’’ in 2015. He graduated from the State Medical University of Saint Petersburg I.I.Pavlov in 2016, Russia. He spent four years researching in the area of pathoneurophysiology on accessing short and long-term memory from 2013-2016, and did three years of research in the field of morphology by the Federal University of Sao Paulo in conjunction with the State Medical University of Saint Petersburg I.I.Pavlov in 2015. He has worked as a Medical Resident at the Department of Spinal Cord Injury from Uniklinikum Heidelberg since 2019, has been a member of the German Society of Neurology since 2020 and a member of the commission Network of the Junge Neurologie Group (JuNos) since 2022.
Léna is a Master’s student in Global Health at the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences of Maastricht University in the Netherlands. She is also a European Public Health professional and received her BSc degree in which she focused on risks of arboviral disease spread in light in Europe of the changing climate. Her line of research is in Planetary Health in an urban context, in which she explores the environmental damage and risk to human health and, in her master’s project, she is researching the inclusion and implementation of nature-based solutions as social projects addressing loneliness. Lena is passionate about the outdoors and exploring ways to balance environmental, human and animal health through building more resilient and sustainable ways of life.
Donovan Humphrey Franco
Donovan is Bachelor (Bachelor of Science) and Licensee in Biological Sciences from the Institute of Biosciences (IB) of the University of São Paulo (USP), where he develops his research. He is a certified Advanced environmental monitor by the USP Coastal Ecosystems Project, specializing in the Global Climate Change Trail model. He works in the area of University Extension through the structuring of networks linking Universities, Conservation Units and the surrounding public schools, with the objective of training teachers and their students in themes related to conservation and sustainability. He is a teaches students, with a focus on improving public education and environmental awareness. He is member of the Study Group on Planetary Health of the Institute for Advanced Studies. Co-founder and active member of the Clube Brasileiro de Saúde Planetária and Clube Sudeste de Saúde Planetária. Mentor, active member and collaborator of the Sustentarea UFG Project (Federal University of Goiás). Ambassador and Jr. Mentor (Member of the Coordination) of the Planetary Health Ambassadors Program (2023) of Planetary Health Brazil.