BMC awarded NIH grant to train Ugandans in basic research on TB

June 16, 2014

(Boston)--Boston Medical Center (BMC) was recently awarded a five-year, $861,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health's Fogarty International Center to train Ugandans in basic research involving tuberculosis and emerging infectious diseases at Boston University School of Medicine. The award was funded by Fogarty's Global Infectious Disease (GID) Research Training program, and seeks to build research capacity related to infectious diseases that are endemic in developing countries. BMC was one of five institutions to receive funding to enhance infectious disease research training in low- and middle-income countries.

This grant will help to establish an important capacity-building initiative with Makerere University (MU) in Uganda that offers translational research training on immunology, inflammation, pathogenesis, bioinformatics on tuberculosis, emerging viral pathogens and antimicrobial resistance. The initiative will enable five postdoctoral faculty members from Makerere to obtain masters of art's degree in pathology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) that includes two years of basic research training at the school.

The program will provide rigorous training in basic research approaches and methodology comparable to that of U.S. trainees. Once trained in a scientific discipline, the Ugandan trainee may choose a disease focus (TB or other emerging infectious diseases) or remain basic in orientation (immunology, bioinformatics) depending on their interest and the needs of MU.

"The goal of this program is to develop institutional and national capacity at MU to conduct basic sciences research on emerging infectious diseases and TB," explained Jerrold Ellner, MD, professor of infectious diseases at BUSM and Chief of infectious diseases at BMC and principal investigator of the award. Ellner has studied the immunopathogenesis of TB and TB in HIV patients through prior research collaborations in Uganda.

According to Ellner over the last two decades, MU has evolved into one of the principal academic institutions worldwide for collaborative research on TB and emerging infectious diseases. "Although donors have contributed substantial support for clinical research/training, we address an unmet need: training of future faculty in basic sciences research. The program will advance MU to a full self-sufficient partner and leader in diagnostics, treatments, vaccines and understanding the pathogenesis and correlates of protective immunity," he added.

The principal investigator in Uganda is Mose Joloba, MbChB, PhD, chair of the department of microbiology at MU. The scientific director is Caroline Genco, PhD, a professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology at BUSM.
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Boston University Medical Center

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