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Research Staff

Overview

Prof. Corne Van Walbeek
Principal Investigator and Professor, School of Economics, University of Cape Town

Corné is currently a Professor at the School of Economics at UCT. His research interests are primarily in the economics of tobacco control, and in particular how changes in the excise tax on tobacco products can affect cigarette consumption. Within this field, his research has focused on the estimation of price elasticities of demand, how excise tax increases impact the poor, changes in smoking by different demographic groups over time, and the industry’s reaction to changes in the tobacco excise tax.

Dr. Hana Ross
Principal Research Officer and SALDRU Affiliate

Hana received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has over seventeen years’ experience in conducting research on the economics of tobacco control and in management of research projects in low- and middle-income countries. Her current research projects focus on the economic impact of tobacco control interventions in Africa, South East Asia, and in the European Union. She is also interested in the economic impact of risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases such as obesity, lack of physical activity, and alcohol consumption.

Nicole Vellios
Research Officer

Nicole holds a Masters of Social Science in Economics (specialising in Economic Development) from UCT. She joined the project as a Masters student in 2011, and after graduating, joined the project full-time. Her Masters level thesis focused on the determinants of smoking initiation in South Africa using the first wave of the National Income Dynamics Study. Her current research interests include the impact of tobacco taxation on public health, the illicit trade of tobacco products, and the determinants of smoking initiation.

Vanessa Darasamo
Data Clearing House Co-ordinator and PhD student

Vanessa Darsamo holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Demography from the University of Swaziland and completed a Masters Degree in Development Economics from the University of Cape Town. Vanessa studied the societal costs of methamphetamine use in the Western Cape province in partial fulfilment of the degree in Development Economics. Vanessa is the project coordinator in the Tobacco and Alcohol Data Clearinghouse, which is concerned with collection and dissemination of tobacco and alcohol-related data. Previously, Vanessa worked with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on HIV costing studies with International Research Exchange Board (IREX) on a media strengthening project.

Zunda Chisha
Research Officer and Masters student

Zunda is a Zambian Masters student with an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Zambia. He spent four years working in the area of malaria control with a focus on surveillance systems in low transmission areas. Currently, he is working part-time with the ETCP project as a Research Officer. He is also working on completing his Masters’ thesis which is focused on inequality in smoking prevalence and its impact on various outcomes in Namibia. His areas of interest include the public health impact of tobacco taxation, understanding the illicit trade of tobacco and the translation of these into policy.

Bertha Bangara
Research Officer

Bertha is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Bertha received a BSocSc. Degree in Economics from the University of Malawi, an MSc in International and Development Economics from the Australian National University and a PhD in Economics from the University of Cape Town. Bertha's research interests are primarily in International Macroeconomics and Economics of Tobacco Control. Her current research will focus on the effects of taxation of tobacco related products and earmarking of tobacco taxes, evaluation of the effectiveness of various tobacco policy interventions and also the effectiveness of taxing the production side of tobacco.

Julie Berthet Valdois
Research Officer

Julie holds a Masters of Research in International Economics and Development from Paris-Dauphine University. She is currently a PhD economics candidate at the University of Cape Town. She spent five years working in the area of Monitoring and Evaluation for health and education projects in Africa. Currently, she is working part-time with the ETCP project as a Research Officer. Her research interests include economics of education, health economics and the economics of tobacco control.

Sam Filby
Research Officer

Sam Filby is a research officer at the Economics of Tobacco Control Project and manages the websites for the ETCP and Knowledge Hub. She is also a lecturer in the School of Economics. Sam holds a Masters in economics, specializing in economic development from the University of Cape Town. Her dissertation focussed on barriers to FCTC implementation in South Africa, particularly on the economic aspects of the treaty. Sam joined the ETCP as a research assistant in 2016 during her Masters studies. Her current research focuses on the analysing the impact of the FCTC on price and tax measures adopted in countries around the world and the economics of tobacco control more broadly.

Ernest Ngeh Tingum
Research Officer

Ernest Ngeh Tingum is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. He received a PhD in Economics from the University of Dar es Salaam. During his PhD, he was a researcher with the “Tobacco Control Analysis and Intervention Evaluation in China and Tanzania” team at the Department of Economics. From 2012 to 2015, he was the Lead Specialist for WageIndicator Foundation in Amsterdam and between 2015 and 2016, he was a research fellow at the School of Public Policy, Central European University (CEU), Hungary. He has also worked as an independent consultant with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on issues of youth and women employment in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. His current research focuses on tobacco taxation and its interface with industry reactions and responses, effectiveness of tobacco control policies, illicit trade of tobacco products, labour market issues and collective bargaining in the African labour market.

Laura Rossouw
Research Officer

Laura Rossouw is a research officer at the Economics of Tobacco Control Project and is the project manager of the Knowledge Hub. She holds a PhD in Economics from Stellenbosch University (SU), South Africa. Prior to joining the ETCP, Laura worked at Research on Socio-Economic Policy (ReSEP) based at the Economics Department of SU. The group focuses on issues of poverty, income distribution, social mobility, economic development and social policy. Laura's research interests include the economics of tobacco control, economic evaluations of health interventions, the economic impact of tobacco and alcohol use, demand-side factors related to health, and maternal, infant and child health.

Kirsten van der Zee
Research Officer

Kirsten is a Research Officer for the Economics of Tobacco Control Project. She holds a Masters specialising in Applied Economics from the University of Cape Town, where her Masters thesis analyses minimum wages in the South African agricultural sector. She has research experience in development economics with a focus on labour economics, minimum wages, and poverty and inequality analysis. Her current research focuses on the collection of cigarette price data in Africa and tobacco taxation policy in South Africa.