The Mondial Diagnostics Team


Key Players

René Paulussen - Managing Director

René has more than 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology/diagnostics domain, from the laboratory bench to senior management roles. He received his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands. While at the State Institute for Quality Control of Agricultural Products (RIKILT) he also worked part-time at the EU Bureau Communautaire de Reference where he was involved in harmonization of laboratory testing quality management across Europe. At pharmaceutical company Organon he headed the immunochemistry and cell-based assay activities, and held responsibilities for the implementation of a Laboratory Information Management System and for outsourcing of bioanalysis work to (inter)national CROs. Through the latter contacts he made a transition to Phoenix International Life Sciences to head up the ligand-binding assay services department in Montreal, Canada where he is now living for more than 20 years. After a short stint at startup biotech Xanthus Life Sciences, in 2002 René became Chief Operating Officer of Genizon BioSciences, a genetic and pharmacogenomics research company. After Genizon he spent several years in the field of biological sample management before joining Mondial Diagnostics as Managing Director in 2016. Throughout his career René developed extensive experience in R&D management, business planning, budgeting and finance. He combines his expertise in biomarkers, laboratory assays, and quality management with a strong track record of building multidisciplinary teams with a problem-solving attitude.

René is a member of the WHO Diagnostics Technical Advisory Committee for Neglected Tropical Diseases (DTAG). He is also a Director of Tillia Pharma B.V. (Nijmegen, The Netherlands), a company targeting the treatment and diagnosis of tropical skin diseases. Next to his professional activities he is involved with the Pure Art Foundation, a registered Canadian charitable organization bringing shelter, education and first-line healthcare to marginalized communities in the developing world, continues to expand his language skills (Dutch, English, French, German, and Spanish), and enjoys playing Latin percussion.


Erika van den Bogaart - Senior Laboratory Scientist

Erika van den Bogaart obtained an MSc degree in Medicinal Chemistry and Technology from the University of Milan, Italy, and is a licensed pharmacist. During her studies she developed a special interest in tropical infectious diseases, and in 2008, on a fellowship, she joined the Parasitology Group at the Biomedical Research division of the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT-BR) in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where she conducted extensive research in the field of antiprotozoal drug discovery. In 2012, she became a member of the KIT-BR Rapid Diagnostics Group, and began working on the development and evaluation of simple diagnostic tests for infectious diseases. In parallel she pursued her PhD studies on the epidemiological and immunological characterization of visceral leishmaniasis–malaria coinfections, and obtained her doctorate in early 2017 from the University of Amsterdam. She has been involved in multiple national and international research projects focusing on therapeutic and diagnostic solutions for tropical infectious diseases, and supervised several MSc and undergraduate students. At Mondial Diagnostics Erika is responsible for the development of point-of-care diagnostics tests for poverty-related diseases and the application of novel technology platforms for diagnostic assays.


Theresia Abdoel - Senior Development Specialist

Theresia is an experienced research technician specialized in the development and evaluation of diagnostics. She obtained her BASc in microbiology at the Hogeschool Eindhoven in 1998 and since then has gained extensive experience in the development of rapid diagnostics assays such as the lateral flow and latex based agglutination assays. She developed several diagnostic tests, including lateral flow assays for the detection of leptospirosis and brucellosis for human and veterinary use, and has worked on the development of a simple diagnostic tool for simultaneous diagnosis of HIV and syphilis infections in pregnant women. Theresia has extensive knowledge and experience with a variety of laboratory techniques such as ELISA, cell culture, molecular cloning, protein expression and purification, and is well versed in quality management systems and documentation (SOPs). She is also trained as an internal auditor.


Board of Directors

Femke Markus - Chair & Treasurer

Associate Partner at Spring Associates since 2006, a strategy consulting firm focusing on developing growth strategies with a strong focus on going beyond delivering the strategic plan and making strategy happen. Over the past years Femke has specialised in business development in the Pharma, Medtech and NGO sector. Femke combines her corporate business development expertise with experience in the not-for-profit public health arena and continuously seek for opportunities to establish new initiatives that contribute to a better society, especially in low- and middle- income countries. Example project assignments in this area: Interim Director Business Development & Partnerships of the Max Foundation, providing health programs to prevent child mortality in Asia (2016-current), Business development of OneDx, an open innovation hub for rapid diagnostics (2014-2015), Strategic advice Merck KGaA on their Access to Medicine strategy (2011-2015), Chair of the board of the Max Foundation, (2011-2015). Femke has a MSc in Industrial Design at the Technical University of Delft.


Tobias Rinke de Wit - Secretary

Professor Tobias Rinke de Wit (PhD) is a molecular biologist and public health specialist, Director Research of the PharmAccess Group and Joep Lange Institute (JLI). Tobias stimulates multi-disciplinary implementation and evaluation research along the agenda of PharmAccess. Research is mostly in the areas of (diagnosis of) infectious diseases in Africa, healthcare quality improvement, innovative healthcare financing, supported by mobile health technologies. Tobias holds an Academic Chair at the University of Amsterdam and leads, at the Department of Global Health and Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD), a team of scientists, PhD and Master students. At AIGHD he coordinates a large-scale HIV test & treat program in Tanzania. In his position as Principal Investigator at the Department of Global Health of the Amsterdam University Medical Centre Tobias develops the so-called ‘connected diagnostics’ technology for improved quality and financing of healthcare delivery in Africa. Tobias serves as chair of the WHO Global HIV Drug Resistance Network advocacy workgroup. Other focus of his work is on COVID-19 in Africa, in particular digital mobile rapid diagnostics and the effect of African immune activation status on COVID-19 symptomatology. He published over 225 articles in peer-reviewed journals and is serving in the Boards of MondialDx and HealthInc Amsterdam.


Donald Kalff - Founder

After receiving his PhD degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Donald Kalff spent most of his professional life as manager of Royal Dutch Shell and as member of the Executive Committee of KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines. He is the author of two books and numerous articles on the governance and management of large enterprises and on the competiveness of Europe. His latest book: "The Liberial Enterprise, value creation for society" will appear in the course of 2017. He is the co-founder of AIMM Therapeutics, a biotech company, and the founder of MondialDx. He recently co-founed Tillia Pharma a company that seeks to bring the diagnosis and treatment of tropical skin diseases to a higher level.


Lisette van Lieshout - Board member

Lisette van Lieshout is an associate professor in medical parasitology at the (sub)department of Parasitology of the Leiden University Center for Infectious Diseases (LUCID), Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) in the Netherlands. Lisette has been trained as biomedical researcher and parasitologist. Her research experience is in the application of new diagnostic tools to study the epidemiology of human parasitic infections. She has been involved in a number of different projects in Africa and other regions in the Global South, mostly dealing with diagnosis and epidemiology of stool and urine parasites, in particular for the detection of Schistosoma infections and Soil Transmitted Helminths. She has also been active in the field of travel medicine and the diagnosis of imported parasitic infections in general. She supervised many research students and co-published over 100 papers in international peer-reviewed journals. Besides research, she teaches in medical parasitology and Global Health and she coordinates specialized training courses on laboratory diagnosis of parasitic diseases, both on national and international level. She has been a board member of the Netherlands Society for Parasitology and of the parasitology section of the Dutch Foundation for Quality Assessment in Medical Laboratories..



Dawit Wolday

Professor Dawit Wolday (MD) also holds degrees in medical microbiology (MSc) and immunology (PhD). He is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine at Mekelle University College of Health Sciences, Ethiopia. He has three decades of research experience in infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, STIs and NTDs. Previously, Dr. Wolday served as the Laboratory Director and Program Manager of the Ethio-Netherlands AIDS Research Program (ENARP) based at the former Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute (EHNRI, now re-named Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI)). He was also instrumental in the establishment of the National Laboratory Systems of Ethiopia as well as several African countries. He serves as an editorial board and reviewer of several scientific journals as well as external reviewer of several research funding agencies. He served as Scientific Advisory Boards of WHO and WHO-AFRO, IAEA and Ministry of Health (Ethiopia) in laboratory capacity development as well as Partnership Board and Scientific Advisory Committee of EDCTP and he is currently Scientific and Strategic Advisory Board of the “Research Networks for Health Innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa”. Dr. Dawit has received several research grants and published 100+ scientific manuscripts in peer-reviewed scientific journals, book sections and manuals. He is a Senior EDCTP Research Fellow and the Principal Investigator of two EDCTP funded projects, involving diagnostics for leishmaniasis and COVID-19.


Henk Smits

Henk L. Smits is a molecular biologist specialized in neglected tropical infectious diseases and their management and control in resource-poor communities. Henk worked at NIH in the USA and the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on a variety of topics including genetic regulation of epithelial cell differentiation, the molecular structure of mucous glycoproteins and the development of pyloric ulcers, and the pathogenesis, cellular immunity and diagnosis of viruses involved in cervical cancer. He was one of the principal investigators at the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in Amsterdam, where he specialized in the development and application of point-of-care diagnostics linking fundamental medical research with practical field applications. Henk worked closely with partners in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America to validate and implement point-of-care diagnostics developed at KIT under his supervision. He has an extensive network in the academic, medical, and pharmaceutical communities and headed several projects with multiple international partners, among which large disease prevention studies for brucellosis in Peru and typhoid fever in Indonesia. He published over 125 papers in peer-reviewed journals and contributed to several WHO policy documents.


Paul Klatser

Professor Paul R. Klatser is currently Strategic Lead Preventive Biomarkers at Janssen Prevention Center of J&J in Leiden, The Netherlands, with Prof. Jaap Goudsmit as Global Director of the Center. Before he was heading the Royal Tropical Institute’s (KIT) department of Biomedical Research in Amsterdam with more than 40 professionals. Dr. Klatser has a background in biochemistry/immunology and was actively involved in tuberculosis research and diagnostic product development also together with private companies; he supervises several PhD students. He regularly advises multi-lateral organizations such as WHO on diagnostic issues related to infectious diseases and on laboratory quality management. He is board member of various editorial committees and organizations, both national and international, and has published over 125 papers in international peer-reviewed journals and several book chapters. He is Professor in Development and Evaluation of Diagnostic Tests in Developing Countries at the University of Amsterdam and Professor Extraordinary in Biomedical Research for Development at the Free University of Amsterdam.