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Dr Marlous Grijsen

Dr Marlous Grijsen

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This mother is holding her six-year-old daughter who is suffering from kerion celsi, an inflammatory type of tinea capitis caused by a T-cell-mediated hypersensitivity reaction to the causative dermatophyte. Kerion celsi is often misdiagnosed and confused with a bacterial infection leading to unnecessary and inappropriate surgical interventions.

Marlous Grijsen


Marlous Grijsen is a global health dermatologist, trained in the Netherlands and Tanzania, and a postdoc research fellow based at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia, since 2019. She holds a PhD in Medicine from the University of Amsterdam.

Her research to date focusses on the epidemiology, immunopathogenesis, diagnosis and management of endemic neglected tropical skin diseases in rural impoverished communities in Indonesia. Dr Grijsen is a lead Investigator of an ongoing phase 2 randomized trial evaluating metformin as adjunctive therapy in multibacillary leprosy, funded by the Leprosy Research Initiative and the Turing Foundation. Dr Grijsen leads a field study to assess the burden of neglected tropical skin diseases on the Island of Sumba in eastern Indonesia. She has also established teledermatology services for remote health clinics in Sumba, using a model for low-cost smart phone teledermatology, that may permit broader access to specialized dermatological care. She has a special interest in adopting participatory action research and community engagement to reduce the stigma that is often associated with skin diseases in local communities.

Skin diseases comprise one of the largest disease burdens worldwide affecting between 30-70% of the global population. In Indonesia, skin-related problems are a major public health concern, and include common and neglected tropical skin diseases, such as leprosy, lymphatic filariasis, scabies, headlice, mycetoma and yaws. Despite the profound impact on quality of life, skin diseases receive little attention, especially in poor, remote and under-resourced populations.

This young man has recently been diagnosed with multibacillary leprosy. He has already developed visible deformities, indicating diagnostic delay. For many years, he was told, he was suffering from a fungal skin infection. Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease, caused by Mycobacterium leprae, affecting the skin and peripheral nerves. Indonesia continues to have the third highest number of leprosy cases in the world.

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