Direk is a global research leader who has made enormous contributions to the fields of melioidosis, sepsis, and antimicrobial drug resistance (AMR), while at the same time running and overseeing the even broader work of Microbiology in Bangkok.
Direk has been working on melioidosis for almost two decades, conducting a range of important epidemiological and clinical studies on this devastating disease. Since 2012 he has led the Thailand Melioidosis Network (TMN) and the International Melioidosis Society (IMS, www.melioidosis.info).
Direk has worked on AMR for over ten years, Direk developed the Bacterial Infection in North East Thailand (BINET) network, and conducted epidemiological studies across Thailand and beyond. To facilitate this his team have developed an offline, open-access and easy-to-use application that allows a hospital to perform data analyses on AMR independently. This has seen an ever-increasing level of take up and is becoming a standard tool for AMR data collection in Thailand. From 2018, Direk has been a board member of Surveillance and Epidemiology of Drug-resistant Infections Consortium (SEDRIC). With SEDRIC, Direk showed that the global burden of AMR estimated in previous studies were not comparable because of their different methodological approaches, assumptions, and data used to generate the estimates.
For all his research interests he has combined his research work with a major and highly successful programmes of public and policymaker engagement, leading to significant impact. Examples include the production of an ‘AMR Dictionary’ in multiple languages, and the invention and dissemination of the concept of an ‘antibiotic footprint’ as a tool to communicate to the public the magnitude of antibiotic use in humans, animals and industry.
Many congratulations to Prof Direk on this richly deserved academic distinction!
- Prof Nick Day. Photo: Gerhard Jørén.