Susana has a multidisciplinary background, combining degrees and experience in biochemistry, neurosciences, health policy and international development, and field epidemiology in tropical diseases.
Following undergraduate studies in Portugal, Susana undertook her PhD in neuroscience (at NYU Medical Centre, New York, awarded in 2003). She began her career on tropical diseases as a malaria molecular parasitologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), with a EMBL fellowship. While based in London, she did malaria research in top African research centres: Kenya Medical Research Institute - Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KEMRI-WT, Kilifi, Kenya); Medical Research Council - The Gambia Unit; and the Joint Malaria Programme (based at KCMC - Moshi, Tanzania).
In 2007 she joined Malaria Consortium in Mozambique, as a monitoring and evaluation and public health specialist, providing technical support to the National Malaria Control Program.
Susana then moved to Angola as the scientific coordinator of a recently created health research centre (CISA Project), where she led a team of approximately 70 scientific and field staff.
In 2012 she re-joined academia and moved to Timor-Leste to work on the control of soil transmitted helminths and other tropical diseases, and to Canberra in 2015, as a senior research fellow at ANU, with her research funded by the NHMRC and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Susana has joined the Kirby Institute at UNSW in 2018, where she leads the Neglected Tropical Diseases research group, that uses intervention studies to generate evidence that can inform health policy changes for more effective and sustainable disease control strategies. Her research is funded by the NHMRC Her research is funded by the NHMRC (CIA in a CTCS and Partnership grant, CI in a CRE and CTCS grants), Fred Hollows Foundation, Bridges to Development and Mentor Initiative. She leads a team of 11 staff and students, and is a NHMRC Leadership Investigator Grant recipient.