Els Torreele directs the access and accountability activities of the Open Society Public Health Program.
Torreele graduated as a bioengineer and obtained a PhD in applied biological sciences from the Free University Brussels. As an R&D coordinator at the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology, she worked on policy issues related to biomedical research agenda-setting, patenting of (public) research findings, and the commercialization of biotechnology research. Torreele joined the Médecins Sans Frontières Access to Essential Medicines Campaign in its pioneering years as chair of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Working Group, a think tank for new ideas to foster needs-driven R&D on treatments for diseases affecting developing countries. A key outcome of this group was the creation in 2003 of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, a nonprofit drug development organization of which she was a founding member.
Torreele joined Open Society in 2009 to lead their access to medicines and innovation work, advancing health and human rights with a focus on transparency and supporting civil society voices in the national, regional, and global policy making that shapes access to medicines and biomedical innovation.