Training Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine: people we've funded

This list includes current and past grantholders.


Cherry Lim

Epidemiology and health burdens of antimicrobial resistant bacterial infection in South-east Asia and the impact of antibiotic use on patient survival

Drug-resistant infection (DRI) is a global concern. It is estimated that it is accountable for 10 million deaths with a projected total of 100 trillion dollar GDP loss by 2050 if no action is taken. One of the keys to combatting this health crisis is to understand the situation and health burdens of DRI in developing countries where data is scarce.

I will study the epidemiology of DRI in detail and estimate the number of excess deaths due to DRI in South-east Asia. I will also evaluate the impact of appropriate and inappropriate antibiotic use in hospitals in South-east Asia. There is a lack of precise understanding on the consequences of antibiotic underuse, misuse and overuse in hospitals in developing countries. I will use advanced statistical models to systematically evaluate the impact of antibiotic use on patient survival in Thailand and Vietnam. I will then compare those findings with the UK where antibiotic use is better controlled.

My findings will assist the design of an intervention to improve antibiotic use and reduce DRI infection in developing countries.

Asaad Nafees

The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan

MultiTex RCT – multifaceted intervention package for protection against cotton dust exposure among textile workers – a cluster randomised controlled trial

Textile workers are exposed to various harmful substances while working, including cotton dust, which is present in air during the handling or processing of cotton. Previous research has found a link between cotton dust exposure and impaired respiratory health.

I have been implementing the MultiTex pilot study which is designed to improve workers’ knowledge and behaviour regarding hazards at work, and to reduce dust exposure at cotton textile mills using a multifaceted intervention. The preliminary findings from the pilot will improve the design and implementation of a more scientifically robust study. The larger study will comprise of training in preventive measures for protection against respiratory illnesses for administration staff and workers. Workers will be provided free, disposable face masks and cotton dust levels at the textile mill where the study is carried out will also be measured. I will then determine the effectiveness of this intervention on reducing cotton dust levels in the mills and improvement in the respiratory health of workers.

This study will help cotton textile workers and managers reduce the health hazards of cotton dust exposure and also guide researchers from Pakistan and other low-resource countries towards developing relevant strategies for health protection for these workers.

Ruramayi Rukuni

Biomedical Research and Training Institute, Harare

The impact of vertical HIV infection on child and adolescent skeletal development in Harare, Zimbabwe: the IMVASK Study

Increasing numbers of children with HIV are surviving to adulthood due to global roll-out of HIV treatment. However, nearly 50 per cent of children have impaired growth due to HIV, including stunting and delayed puberty. Poor growth directly affects bone development, particularly during adolescence when the pubertal ‘growth-spurt’ occurs, which makes adolescence such a critical period for bone development. The extent to which HIV infection affects the growing skeleton in puberty is unknown. This is important to understand because poor bone growth is a key risk factor for osteoporosis in adulthood and hence a person’s future risk of sustaining a fracture, which can be life-changing and cause pain and disability.

We aim to understand how HIV affects bone growth in children during puberty. We will conduct a study in Harare, Zimbabwe to assess the differences in bone density (the amount of bone mass for a given bone size) between children aged 8-16 years who have HIV and those who do not. We will measure the differences in bone growth in these two groups over the course of a year.

Our findings will determine how HIV affects bone growth and whether children with HIV will require interventions to enhance bone development to try to avoid premature osteoporosis in adulthood.


Dr Sulaiman Ibrahim

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Accelerating malaria elimination efforts in the Sudano-Sahelian region of Africa: elucidation of factors driving transmission and unravelling the molecular basis of insecticide resistance in the major malaria vectors

Malaria remains a major killer in sub-Saharan Africa where it takes the life of a child every two minutes. Between 2000 to 2015, it is estimated that 663 million cases of malaria have been averted through vector control tools and antimalarial medications. Of this reduction, 68 per cent is attributed to the distribution of low-cost insecticide treated bed nets. However, insecticide resistance is threatening the success of vector control with fear of a reversal in the significant gains made. Knowledge of distribution of mosquito vectors, their insecticides resistance status and mechanisms driving the resistance is important to guide the choice of insecticides and management of resistance. Unfortunately, information on malaria vectors from the Sudano-Sahelian regions of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, is grossly lacking.

We intend to establish the composition, distribution and behaviours of the major malaria vectors in the Sudano-Sahelian regions of these countries; establish their insecticides’ resistance profile and identify factors driving the resistance.

The data from this study will inform the regional malaria control programmes to design and implement evidence-based malaria vector control tools. This will contribute toward the goal of reducing malaria incidence and mortality by more than 90 per cent, in line with World Health Organization projections for 2016-2030.

Dr Khuzwayo Jere

College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Malawi

Characterisation of B-cell subsets and immunoglobulin sequence repertoires in infants immunised with human rotavirus vaccine in Malawi

Diarrhoea is the second most common cause of death in children under the age of five, and rotavirus is the main cause of severe diarrhoea in children globally. Rotavirus vaccination has greatly reduced hospitalisations due to rotavirus in high-income countries but current vaccines are less efficacious in low and middle-income countries where the majority of rotavirus deaths occur. Poor understanding of how rotavirus vaccines induce immunity is a major obstacle to maximising the impact of the current rotavirus vaccines and the development of better vaccination strategies.

In this study, I will investigate how Malawian infants develop protection against rotavirus infections by examining the antibodies they produce after vaccination. New genetic sequencing technologies will be used to understand how groups of immune cells called ‘B-cells’ that produce antibodies respond to rotavirus vaccine. This work will be complemented by traditional immunological methods to determine the types of B cells that are stimulated in vaccinated infants.

The results of this research will inform the design of more effective rotavirus vaccines for use in populations in which current vaccines underperform, and may also help in the development of more effective vaccines for other infections for which similar problems have been identified.

Dr Oscar Mbare

International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Kenya

Understanding the risks and benefits of newly developed irrigation schemes in western Kenya in the context of malaria elimination

Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is growing quickly and it has been recognised that food security can only be achieved by increasing agricultural production. This requires using irrigation to expand crop cultivation to unexploited land areas. Kenya has planned several large-scale irrigation schemes to improve nutrition and people’s socio-economic status and quality of life. Unfortunately, irrigated agriculture may also have adverse health effects, by intensifying of mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria. Irrigation will lead to an increase in potential breeding sites for mosquitoes but whether this will consequently lead to an increase in cases of malaria depends on the interaction of environmental, behavioural and economic factors.

This study will investigate changes in land use, cropping systems and the distribution of water that are suitable for mosquitoes and relate these to potential changes in people’s mosquito prevention behaviour, changes in socio-economic status and nutrition in children of households benefiting from the agricultural production compared with those not benefitting. It will also investigate the diversity and numbers of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes in homes and malaria parasite infection in children.

The study will provide data for policy makers so that they can improve planning of irrigation systems without having a negative effect on health.

David Basile Kamgang Mbouhom

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Assessing the entomological risk of emergence of massive dengue, Zika and chikungunya outbreaks and preparing to improve control of Aedes vectors in Central Africa

Dengue (DENV), Zika (ZIKV) and chikungunya (CHIKV) are mosquito-borne viruses that exist in most tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide. The diseases caused by these viruses are transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquito vectors, mainly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Formerly, in Central Africa DENV, ZIKV and CHIKV were reported only in rural areas, but since the invasion of Central Africa in the 2000s by Aedes albopictus, these diseases have emerged in urban areas in some countries in the region.

We plan to assess the impact of Aedes albopictus on the indigenous species such as Aedes aegypti and the epidemiological role of each species for dengue and Zika transmission. We will compare the geographical distribution and degree of infestation of Aedes aegypti and Ades albopictus, the level of natural infection of these mosquitoes, and the susceptibility to infection from dengue and Zika of both mosquito species. We will also characterise the susceptibility profile and resistance mechanisms to insecticides of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus in Central Africa.

This study will help assess the risk of massive outbreaks and develop strategies to control these diseases in Central Africa.

Dr Adeniyi Olagunju

Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria

Investigating the influence of pregnancy-induced changes in antiretroviral pharmacokinetics together with polymorphisms in drug disposition genes on viral decay dynamics in HIV positive women starting therapy late in pregnancy and postpartum

When HIV drugs are started before or early in pregnancy, mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV can be prevented. This is achieved by adequate suppression of the virus before the birth of the child and when breastfeeding. However, some women do not start taking these drugs early on because they become infected during pregnancy or lactation. This leads to there being detectable virus at the time of delivery, increasing MTCT risks. I recently showed that pregnancy increases the rate at which the body clears some HIV drugs used to prevent MTCT. Other authors have reported similar findings for other HIV drugs. While this may not cause any problem in women with no detectable virus before pregnancy, it may affect the rate at which the HIV virus is cleared from the body in those starting treatment late and may elevate MTCT risks.

In this study I will find out whether the changes in drug exposure caused by pregnancy or genetic factors have any effect on the rate at which the HIV virus is removed from the body. HIV positive pregnant or recently postpartum women will be recruited from four Nigerian hospitals and followed up until breastfeeding ends.

Yegnasew Teferi

Imperial College London

Identification of immune mechanisms and genes associated with the high rate of relapse in patients with visceral leishmaniasis and HIV co-infections

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in Ethiopia is caused by a parasite, Leishmania donovani. VL is worsened when the patients are co-infected with HIV and the recurrence of VL in these co-infected patients is higher than those who have VL infection only. This results in an increase in mortality among this patient group. However, little is known about the high rate of VL relapse in co-infected patients.

I propose to study the natural history of VL and HIV co-infections, identifying key immunological and genetic signature accounting for the recurrence of VL in these patients. To test this, I will follow VL and VL/HIV patients from Gondar Hospital and analyse their socio-demographic and clinical information. I also propose to identify immunological mechanisms and perform genetic analysis in different immune cells.

The results from this study will improve our understanding so that we can identify the genetic signature that accounts for the frequent relapse of VL. This might help to design a new treatment and vaccine.


Edwine Barasa

KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya

How can universal health coverage benefit the poor? Examining the equity and pro-poorness of health financing reforms in Kenya

Edwine is a health economist and health systems researcher with a special interest in examining pathways towards universal health coverage (UHC). During this Fellowship he aims to explore how UHC efforts in Kenya can best be designed to offer financial risk protection for all while ensuring equity in access to services and the inclusion of the poor.

Dr Bismarck Dinko

University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ghana

Immunobiology of sexual stage antigens of Plasmodium falciparum parasites

Bismarck is a parasite biologist with an interest in host-parasite interactions and immunity to parasitic infections. During this Fellowship he aims to determine which groups of stevor genes are commonly expressed in P. falciparum gametocytes in sick children, and to produce antigens from them. These antigens will then be used to test the plasma of children with strong responses and establish whether these are the children with few or no gametocytes. He will work closely with Dr Britta Urban at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Dr Colin Sutherland at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Bismarck’s work has the potential to identify targets of anti-gametocyte immunity which could be important in transmission-blocking vaccine development.

Dr Mutsawashe Bwakura-Dangarembizi

University of Zimbabwe

Long-term clinical and nutritional outcomes of HIV-infected children surviving inpatient management of severe acute malnutrition

Mutsa is a paediatrician whose research focuses on the outcomes of children with malnutrition. Her Fellowship aims to follow up children discharged from hospital following management of severe acute malnutrition to determine their clinical and nutritional outcomes and what factors at discharge predict long-term morbidity, mortality and nutritional relapse. The aim of this work is to help identify children at risk and provide targeted interventions to improve their long-term outcomes. Determination of body composition will also provide data on the predeterminants for subsequent adult metabolic disease.

Dr Edi Constant

Centre Suisse De Recherches Scientifiques, Ivory Coast

Identifying, understanding and exploiting insecticide cross-resistance for control of the primary malaria vector Anopheles gambiae in West Africa

Edi is a medical entomologist interested in molecular biology and understanding of complex phenomena in arthropods, including agricultural pests and disease vectors. His research project aims to combat insecticide resistance in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae by developing a mechanistic understanding of organophosphate resistance, its relationship with pyrethroid resistance, and how negative cross-resistance between the insecticide classes can be exploited.

Dr Emmanuel Elanga N’Dille

Centre Pasteur Du Cameroun, Cameroon

Impact of insecticide resistance on mosquito sialomes and its effect on vectorial capacity of the main African malaria vectors

Emmanuel is a medical entomologist with an interest in the impact of insecticide resistance on malaria control. During this Fellowship he aims to investigate the impact of insecticide resistance on the sialomes of natural populations of African malaria vectors, assess how these sialome changes impact the Anopheles vectorial capacity, and investigate the impact of the sialome changes on sporozoite migration in the salivary glands. Emmanuel will be working closely with Dr Parfait Awono, OCEAC, Cameroon, and Dr Charles Wondji of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. The expected results will provide relevant information on patterns of malaria transmission in the context of insecticide resistance.

John Essandoh

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Landscape genetics in the control of Anopheles gambiae

John is a medical entomologist with a particular interest in understanding the ecological and genetic basis of resistance to insecticides currently in use. His current study seeks to provide information such as the size of populations, their connectivity and movements of resistant loci in Anopheles gambiae. This information is critical for predicting how niche shifts may occur in response to anthropogenic changes such as urbanisation or insecticidal pressure, and also for designing effective preventive measures in the field to combat malaria.

Dr Ghulam Rahim Awab

Nangarhar University, Afghanistan

Bridging the critical policy-practice gap in radical treatment of vivax malaria in Afghanistan

Awab is a public health doctor based at Nangarhar University, Afghanistan. His main priority is to improve malaria management in Afghanistan based on locally conducted research. During this Fellowship he aims to assess the safety and uptake of point-of-care G6PD testing and linked primaquine administration for vivax malaria at several levels of the healthcare system. Awab will conduct the work in collaboration with colleagues based in Thailand and Australia (on clinical trial management, genetics and pharmacology) and Kenya (on health systems). The work promises to close the gap between policy and practice for vivax malaria across Afghanistan and other locations.

Dr Samson Kiware

Ifakara Health Institute, Tanzania

Data-driven models to assess impacts of integrated vector management strategies on mosquito-borne diseases

Samson is a research scientist with a special interest in developing informatics systems and mathematical models based on infectious diseases, especially malaria. During this Fellowship, he aims to develop and support informatics systems for collating and standardising entomological and environmental datasets, and create effective interfaces that enable multiple researchers to more effectively collaborate, share, and synthesise data using standardised formats across multiple studies and sites. His main focus is on developing mathematical models that can be used to evaluate impacts and cost-effectiveness of integrated interventions against malaria vectors extendable to other mosquito-borne diseases - a potential decision tool for national malaria control programmes.

Dr Thumbi Mwangi

Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)

Applying epidemiological techniques to improve visibility and control of neglected zoonotic diseases: the case of rabies elimination in Kenya

Thumbi is a veterinarian with an interest in infectious disease epidemiology with a focus on transmission and control of zoonotic diseases. His aim during this Fellowship is to conduct operational research on rabies elimination in Kenya, including estimating the dual burden of rabies in humans and animals, understanding the demographic and ecological factors that underlie patterns of rabies transmission, and developing and assessing strategies for rabies control and eventual elimination. He will work closely with Professor Sarah Cleaveland and Dr Katie Hampson, University of Glasgow, Dr Kariuki Njenga, KEMRI, and Dr Guy Palmer, Washington State University.

Dr Eleanor Ochodo

Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Developing a framework for design of clinical trials to measure the impact of TB diagnostic tests on patient outcomes

Eleanor is a senior researcher and lecturer based at the Centre for Evidence-based Health Care at Stellenbosch University. Her research interests revolve around evidence-based medicine with a focus on diagnostic tests and markers, specifically their accuracy, impact and how their results can be translated into policy and practice. During this Fellowship she will evaluate designs of clinical trials for measuring the impact of diagnostic tests for tuberculosis (TB) on patient-important outcomes and develop a framework that will guide researchers in designing suitable trials for TB diagnostic tests.

Dorothy Oluoch

KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya

How can we achieve quality neonatal care? An ethnography of sick newborn care in Kenyan hospitals

Dorothy is a research officer based at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme. Her research aims to explore the experiences and roles of parents and informal caregivers in caring for hospitalised sick newborns. The study will also investigate approaches through which quality of care and neonatal outcomes could be improved through strategies that formally engage parents and informal caregivers in caring for sick newborns. Dorothy will undertake a DPhil at the Open University, supervised by Dr Caroline Jones and Professor Mike English.

Dr Davide Rasella

Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ), Brazil

Impact of a conditional cash transfer programme on HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in Brazil, and forecast of effectiveness scenarios

Davide is a social epidemiologist with a research focus on the effects of poverty-reduction interventions on health outcomes. His Fellowship aims to evaluate the impact of social determinants of health and of the world’s largest conditional cash transfer programme on morbidity and mortality from tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in Brazil. He will use data from a retrospective virtual cohort of 100 million people for a period of nine years to obtain detailed subpopulation-specific impact estimates. Based on this evaluation he will forecast future effectiveness scenarios according to the evolution of social determinants and to the different implementations of poverty-reduction interventions.


Dr Abdirahman Abdi

KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya

Identifying new intervention and diagnostic targets through characterisation and functional analysis of the Plasmodium falciparum extracellular secretome

Abdi is a molecular malariologist with a special interest in parasite-host interactions. During this Fellowship he aims to describe for the first time the RNA and protein composition of the molecules secreted by Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite responsible for the most severe form of malaria. Abdi will be working closely with Dr Julian Rayner and Dr Jyoti Choudhary of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. This work has strong potential importance in understanding parasite biology and parasite-host interactions. It may also lead to the identification of new targets for vaccines and diagnostics.

Dr Antonio Bernabe-Ortiz

Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Peru

Field test of two alternative methods for diabetes: a pilot study to expand screening at the population level

Antonio has a particular interest in non-communicable disease epidemiology, especially in obesity, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. His Fellowship focuses on the development and validation of several screening tools to detect type 2 diabetes. By developing blood-test-free new approaches for early subclinical identification of autonomic dysfunction, Antonio believes it is possible to create an algorithm to detect glucose metabolism disorders in early stages of the disease. This is particularly valid in resource-constrained settings, where many of the existing tests are expensive, requiring well-trained personnel and active patient participation. Data generated will be useful for creating appropriate interventions in this context.

Augustine Choko

Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme, Malawi

PArtner-provided HIV Self-Testing and Linkage (PASTAL) in antenatal care clinics: methodology and delivery of an adaptive cluster-randomised trial in Blantyre, Malawi

Augustine is a statistical epidemiologist with an interest in statistical methods and public health trials. During his Fellowship he aims to develop the statistical methodology to allow adaptive-trial concepts to be applied to clustered units of randomisation (cluster-randomised trials). He then aims to apply these methodologies in a phase-two trial, comparing multiple different approaches (such as low-to-high fixed financial incentives, lottery prize draws, home visits) aimed at encouraging male partners of pregnant women to test for HIV and subsequently link into HIV care or prevention (voluntary male medical circumcision). Adaptive trial designs can provide timely and efficient comparisons of multiple interventions in a single study.

Kanny Diallo

Center for Vaccine Development, Mali

Epidemiology and ecology of Neisseria species in the African meningitis belt before and after vaccine implementation

Kanny is a biochemist with research interests in host-pathogen interactions and diagnostics in bacterial diseases. Her work at the Center for Vaccine Development, Mali, has focused on studying the epidemiology of meningococcus carriage in the African meningitis belt, with the MenAfriCar Consortium. During her Fellowship Kanny aims to apply molecular biology techniques to study the changes in epidemiology and ecology of the Neisseria species following vaccination against the dominant meningitis-causing strain, serogroup A Neisseria meningitidis. She also intends to study the genetic determinants of Neisseria meningitidis virulence. Kanny will undertake a DPhil at the University of Oxford and will be supervised by Professor Martin Maiden and Professor Samba Sow.

Dr Anthony Etyang

KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya

Determining the causal role of malaria in elevating blood pressure and pulse wave velocity in Kenyan children and adults

Anthony is a consultant physician and epidemiologist interested in exploring the childhood antecedents of adult chronic disease. His Fellowship research aims to determine whether repeated inflammation due to malaria episodes in childhood could lead to elevated cardiovascular risk as an adult. He intends to use a rich set of epidemiological and clinical data available at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya, with controls derived from Nairobi, Kenya. Anthony hopes that this research will both help explain the emerging cardiovascular disease epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa and enable planning of public health activities.

Dr Mosa Moshabela

University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

The impact of medical pluralism on the cascade of care for people living with HIV/AIDS in rural South Africa

Mosa is a clinical specialist in family medicine and primary health care, and a health systems and policy researcher, with a focus on HIV care and services in resource-poor settings. His Fellowship is a continuation of his doctoral research, which suggested that the use of multiple sources of health care, or medical pluralism, results in delayed access to care among HIV patients in rural settings. Mosa hopes to link community surveillance with HIV clinic data at the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies to test this hypothesis prospectively using longitudinal surveillance data methods. If true, then reorientation of health services may be necessary.

Dr Charles Sande

KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya

Identification of the factors associated with the development of severe RSV disease in infants

Charles is interested in host- and virus-specific factors that underlie the risk of severe primary Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) disease in infancy. In this project, he will investigate the relationship between functional CD4 and CD8 T-cell diversity and clinical outcome. His studies will also aim to determine whether there are patterns of the host response to primary RSV infection, detectable in the transcriptome, that underlie the varying clinical outcomes of infection. Identifying transcriptional biomarkers of disease and finding signatures associated with cellular and antibody responses will provide important insights into host mechanisms that are implicated in pathogenesis and immunity.


Dr Vincent Adung’a

International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Kenya

Expression profiling of African trypanosomes in human and primate hosts: identification of biomarkers for diagnosis, drug target identification and dissection of virulence pathways

Vincent is a molecular parasitologist interested in developing novel and/or improved control strategies for neglected tropical diseases. His Fellowship involves determining the gene expression profile of African trypanosomes - the parasite responsible for sleeping sickness in humans - during various stages of infection in human and non-human primate hosts. The disease evolves through clinically distinct stages, namely early/stage 1 and late/stage 2. Vincent’s work aims to identify and validate biomolecules that can be used in diagnosis and staging of the disease, molecular processes responsible for pathogenesis, and novel drug targets for chemotherapeutic control.

Dr Federico Costa

Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil

Multifactorial determinants for urban leptospirosis in Brazil

Federico is an ecologist and epidemiologist interested in developing research programmes and community-level interventions that address the zoonotic diseases which have emerged in marginalised slum settlements. He is conducting an interdisciplinary evaluation of disease hosts, pathogens, and environmental determinants of urban poverty in order to understand the intensity of leptospirosis epidemics. Federico’s goal is to determine the environmental and host-pathogen genetic factors that influence both spatiotemporal variations in rates of leptospire shedding, and their relationship with leptospirosis progression and transmission.

Kebede Deribe

Addis Ababa University

Epidemiological mapping of podoconiosis in Ethiopia

Kebede is a public health professional with a research focus on neglected tropical diseases. His Fellowship focuses on mapping podoconiosis, a form of elephantiasis arising in barefoot subsistence farmers who are in long-term contact with irritant red clay soil of volcanic origins. By applying new techniques and technologies of mapping, he aims to determine the spatial distribution and the disease burden of podoconiosis. Kebede will identify the environmental limits of podoconiosis, develop a spatial risk map and determine an optimal mapping approach to estimate the disease burden in other countries suspected to be podoconiosis-endemic. He hopes to generate useful information for the elimination of podoconiosis.

Dr Nicodem Govella

Ifakara Health Institute, Tanzania

Understanding the potential for malaria vector behavioural adaptations

Across Africa and beyond, mosquitoes are observed to increasingly bite more outdoors in early evening or at dawn. However, the mechanisms driving these changes are still not clearly understood. Nicodem will investigate whether these behavioural changes are consequences of evolutionary changes occurring within vector populations in response to nets, or simply a manifestation of pre-existing phenotypic plasticity. These two possibilities have different implications for control. Poor understanding of the underlying behavioural mechanisms may lead to vector control failure in the long term.

Dr Mamadou Kaba

University of Cape Town, South Africa

The infant stool microbiota and its association with wheezing illness in young South African children

Mamadou is a senior medical research officer within the Division of Medical Microbiology in the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences at the University of Cape Town. His research interests include the molecular epidemiology of infectious diseases and the study of the human microbiome in healthy and disease conditions. He is conducting a prospective longitudinal study on how the composition of the gastrointestinal microbial communities influences the development of respiratory diseases in 300 children, using advanced sequencing techniques. This study will contribute novel information to the understanding of the determinants and evolution of wheezing illness in young children in low- and middle-income countries. In addition, this study could influence interventions to enhance child health. Mamadou hopes to extend his research question beyond the microbial profiling by studying the functions provided by microbes for maintaining infant health.

Dr Harriet Mpairwe

Uganda Virus Research Institute, Uganda

Study on parasitic infections and asthma in Uganda

Harriet is a clinician and epidemiologist based at the MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS. She is interested in investigating the causes of the increasing prevalence of asthma and other chronic inflammatory diseases, particularly in low-income countries. Her work during this Fellowship aims to investigate the risk factors associated with asthma in childhood, with emphasis on chronic immune-modulating infections such as worms and malaria. Understanding this could contribute to the development of an inexpensive, safe and effective intervention for the prevention and management of asthma.

Dr Cyrille Ndo

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Investigating the impact of insecticide resistance and the immune system on Plasmodium falciparum development in the major malaria vector Anopheles funestus in Cameroon

Cyrille is a molecular entomologist conducting research activities both at the Malaria Research Laboratory, OCEAC, Cameroon, and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. The goals of his Fellowship are: to assess whether insecticide resistance alters or enhances Anopheles funestus vectorial capacity; to identify key immune genes controlling Plasmodium falciparum development in Anopheles funestus; and to study the genetic variability of main immune genes in natural Anopheles funestus populations, in order to detect potential signatures of selection.

George Okello

KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya

The influence of global malaria indicators on primary healthcare policy and practice in rural Kenya

George is a research officer based at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya. His research aims to understand how malaria indicators, developed at the global level, are designed and created at the local levels and how these indicators influence malaria control goals and priorities, indicator production processes, and service delivery. The study will also investigate how the recent devolution of healthcare in Kenya is shaping the indicator-production landscape. George will undertake a DPhil at the Open University, supervised by Dr Caroline Jones, Dr Sassy Molyneux and Dr Rene Gerrets.

Dr Rini Poespoprodjo

Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia

Reducing malaria morbidity and mortality in early life in an area co-endemic for falciparum and vivax malaria

Rini is a paediatrician and researcher based at the Timika Research Facility, Papua, Indonesia. Her research focuses on finding the best strategy to improve maternal and child health in Papua. This Fellowship has enabled her to carry out a research project to define the effectiveness of intermittent screening and treatment for malaria with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (a form of artemisinin combination therapy) for the control of malaria in the first year of life.

Dr Le Van Tan

Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Vietnam

Genetic and antigenic evolution and phylogeography of enterovirus 71 associated with hand, foot and mouth disease in Vietnam over a three-year period (2013-15)

Tan is a molecular virologist whose current research interests include emerging viral infections, particularly those affecting the central nervous system such as enterovirus 71 and hand, foot and mouth disease. His Fellowship focuses on the evolutionary biology and phylogeography of enterovirus 71 in Vietnam. This work is being undertaken in collaboration with local hospitals in Vietnam and with Professor Edward Holmes at the University of Sydney, Professor Bryan Grenfell at Princeton University and Professor Laurent Kaiser at the University of Geneva.

Dr Christina Thobakgale

University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Natural killer cell mediated recognition of HIV-1 and adaption to KIR and HLA

Christina is an immunologist whose research focuses on understanding cellular and viral factors that influence disease progression in HIV-infected individuals. Her current focus is on innate immune responses, particularly mechanisms of natural killer (NK) cell dysfunction during HIV infection and their impact on the ability of NK cells to control disease. Her Fellowship supports investigations of the consequences of NK cell mediated viral escape in the control of HIV infections. Identification of mechanisms that underlie NK cell mediated protection in HIV infection is important as they have the potential to demonstrate the rationale for harnessing NK cells for therapeutic interventions.


Dr Rousseau Djouaka

International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Benin

Investigating patterns of pyrethroid and DDT resistance in Anopheles funestus populations in Benin: a study of the distribution and resistance mechanisms, and an investigation of novel resistance-management strategies

During this Fellowship, Rousseau’s aims are: to better understand the role of Anopheles funestus in the transmission of malaria in Benin; to explore the mechanisms of insecticide resistance developed by this vector; and to suggest alternative resistance-management strategies to overcome recorded resistance mechanisms. Collaborators involved in research implementation are Dr Manuele Tamò (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture), Dr Charles Wondji and Professor Janet Hemingway (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine), and Dr Vincent Corbel and Dr Cedric Pennetier (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, France).

Iqbal Elyazar

Eijkman-Oxford Clinical Research Unit, Indonesia

Human mobility in the Indonesian archipelago and risk of malaria importation into the receptive malaria-free zones

Iqbal aims to develop a quantitative framework for human mobility and assess the feasibility of eliminating malaria in Indonesia. The work will prioritise three areas: using mobile phone data to explore the patterns of human movement across the archipelago; determining the likely sources, risks and number of imported malaria cases; and mapping the operational feasibility of and constraints on malaria elimination. This research will be essential for comprehensively improving the national evidence-based malaria control strategies to reach the pre-elimination stage by 2020 and to be free of malaria in 2030.

Dr Diane Gray

University of Cape Town, South Africa

Early-life determinants of infant lung function and chronic respiratory illness in children

Diane is a paediatrician interested in the impact early-life factors have on normal lung growth and chronic respiratory illness in children, particularly those living in areas with a high burden of respiratory disease. Her Fellowship is enabling her to use state-of-the-art infant lung function techniques to assess early-life determinants of respiratory health in a high-burden community setting. She hopes that her work, which also helps to develop research capacity in this area, will lead to clinical research outcomes that have a positive impact upon the respiratory health of vulnerable children.

Symon Kariuki

KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya

The prevalence of, and relationship between, acute seizures and behavioural disorders in children in rural Kenya

Symon is a clinical neuroscience researcher with an interest in the burden, causes and consequences of epileptic seizures in the context of epilepsy and acute infections of the central nervous system. He is based at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, and will undertake a DPhil at the University of Oxford, where he will be supervised by Professors Charles Newton, Kevin Marsh and Alan Stein. Symon’s Fellowship aims to estimate population-based cumulative prevalence and identify risk factors of acute seizures and behavioural disorders in children living in Kilifi, and to understand the relationship between these two conditions.

Dr Elizabeth Kimani-Murage

African Population and Health Research Center, Kenya

Effectiveness of personalised home-based nutritional counselling on infant feeding practices in urban informal settlements, Nairobi, Kenya

Elizabeth is an associate research scientist at the African Population and Health Research Center. Her study aims to determine the effectiveness of personalised home-based nutritional counselling on infant feeding practices and, consequently, on health and nutritional outcomes of infants in urban slums in Nairobi, Kenya. Pregnant women are recruited during pregnancy and counselled by community health workers on breastfeeding, infant feeding and their own nutrition, then followed up with their children to investigate the effect of the counselling on infant nutrition and health outcomes. Elizabeth’s collaborators include Professor Nyovani Madise at the University of Southampton and Dr Paula Griffiths at Loughborough University.

Dr Grant Theron

University of Cape Town, South Africa

Bacterial and host determinants of infectiousness in patients with drug-sensitive, multi- and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis

Drug-resistant tuberculosis is an emerging public health crisis. Grant’s research aims to unlock what causes patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis to become ‘super-spreaders’ of disease. These are a small minority of patients who are responsible for 80 per cent of person-to-person transmission. Grant is using a novel cough aerosol sampling technology to classify patients in terms of their infectiousness. He will then contrast different clinical, bacteriological and behavioural factors according to the cough aerosol status of patients. The project will inform our understanding of the pathobiology of infectiousness, leading to the development of targeted interventions designed to disrupt the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Dr Bich Chau Tran Nguyen

Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Vietnam

Human-to-mosquito transmission of dengue viruses and Wolbachia-mediated interference of vector competence

Chau is a molecular biologist with an interest in dengue. She is based at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam. During this Fellowship, she is working on the natural history of dengue transmission from humans to mosquitoes, and assessing vector competence among wild-type and Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti of Vietnamese genetic background. Her aim is to establish the best Wolbachia strain to limit the replication of dengue virus in mosquitoes, which may be beneficial in controlling the spread of dengue.

Dr Francisco Villafuerte

Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Peru

Role of the soluble erythropoietin receptor in the development of high-altitude excessive erythrocytosis and chronic mountain sickness in the Andes

Francisco is a physiologist with an interest in chronic mountain sickness and other high-altitude pathologies. His research is focused on the mechanisms, consequences and treatment of excessive erythrocytosis (EE), the hallmark of chronic mountain sickness. Why some high-altitude residents develop EE despite having similar blood erythropoietin concentration is still unclear. Francisco’s Fellowship aims to characterise the role of the soluble erythropoietin receptor (sEpoR) in the development of high-altitude EE. Given that sEpoR competes directly for erythropoietin with its membrane counterpart, changes in circulating sEpoR could modulate erythropoietin sensitivity and therefore a play a physiological role in the control of erythropoiesis.

Dr George Warimwe

International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya

Development of effective Rift Valley fever vaccines for use in sheep and humans

George is a veterinary surgeon with an interest in translational clinical research. His Fellowship supports his work on replication-deficient viral-vectored recombinant vaccines against Rift Valley fever, a mosquito-borne viral zoonosis that causes substantial morbidity and mortality in both livestock and humans in Africa and parts of the Middle East. This work will potentially lead to the development of a Rift Valley fever vaccine that can be deployed in both humans and livestock.


Dr Suzaan Marais

University of Cape Town, South Africa

Host and bacillary factors in the pathogenesis of tuberculous meningitis

Suzaan is a neurologist with clinical interests in HIV-associated neurological diseases. She is based in the laboratory of Professor Robert J Wilkinson at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine. She is currently investigating immunopathogenic mechanisms of tuberculous meningitis immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome, a common and frequently fatal condition in high HIV/TB co-infection settings. It is anticipated that a better understanding of this syndrome will direct future prevention and treatment studies aimed at improving outcomes in patients with HIV-associated tuberculous meningitis.

Dr Thuong Nguyen

Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Vietnam

Influence of host genetics and Mycobacterium tuberculosis strain variation on macrophage function and TB clinical outcome

Thuong is a geneticist with research interests in human genetics and macrophage function in tuberculosis. During her Fellowship, she is studying the interactions of macrophage and Mycobacterium tuberculosis under the impact of genetic variants of both human host and bacterial pathogens. This will contribute to our understanding of the pathogenesis of tuberculosis, particularly the development from localised pulmonary to disseminated disease. Thuong is based at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam, working with Dr Sarah Dunstan and Dr Maxine Caws and collaborating with Professor Thomas Hawn at the University of Washington.

Other grant holders