James Wainana is an MSc student from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Nairobi. He was trained in Bioinformatics, Protein Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at NUI Maynooth. In particular, he learned to perform database searches, BLAST analyses, programming languages, Molecular cloning techniques, transfection of mammalian cells, protein electrophoresis and western blotting. His research is concerned with zoonotic diseases and he began to apply his new bioinformatics skills to the Rickettsiae genome. Mr Wainana also participated in the school outreach programme and interacted with Thomas Dunne, who won the Senior Biology price and the IBM award at the BTYS 2010 for his project on the Plasmodium parasite. Mr Wainana reported on his training in Issue 6 of the CDPC newsletter. Mr Wainana has now finished his MSc project and is currently looking for a PhD position. He has also started to teach E-learning classes in bioinformatics at the Kenya Polytechnic university college Nairobi (Issue 9 of the CDPC newsletter), passing on the skills he obtained through the CDPC training to these students. He also continues to work with Thomas Dunne to prepare teaching material on programming.
In his training evaluation, James wrote: “The training on bioinformatic has enabled me to analyse Rickettsia sequences that I obtained during my MSc research and incorporate this in my thesis. Secondly I have been involved in designing of primers for some of my MSc collegues specifically on the Plasmodium genome.”
Dr Judy Orikiiriza Tatwangire
Dr Tatwangire is Head of the Paediatrics and Child Health Department at Kanombe Military Hospital in Kigali, Rwanda. She is interested in Immune Reconstitution Syndrome in HIV-infected children on retroviral treatment and would like to pursue PhD research on this subject. Dr Tatwangire trained with Dr Derek Doherty’s laboratory in St. James’ Hospital Dublin, where she learned to use flow cytometry to analyse the activation state of lymphocytes. She will be able to employ this for her future research and also for diagnostic purposes. During her time in Ireland, Dr Tatwangire also developed her PhD proposal and managed to forge new collaborations with labs in Sweden and Canada. Now in Rwanda, she continues to collaborate with Derek Doherty’s lab in pursuing her PhD research. With the help of the CDPC, Dr Tatwangire also secured a travel grant to attend the CROI 2010 conference in San Francisco from February 16th to 19th, where she presented her ongoing research. A manuscript she prepared during her training period, has now been published in AIDS journal (Orikiiriza et al., AIDS 2010 Aug 24;24(13):2009-17). Dr Tatwangire continues to interact on a regular basis with the CDPC and was selected as the CDPC alumni representative at the CDPC meeting in Dar es Salaam in May.
In her post-training evaluation, Dr. Tatwangire wrote: (1) “Well I was able to design a good poster for the CROI conference because I attended a lot of workshops with poster presentations. (2) I am currently designing multiple studies in infectious diseases where I will be using flow cytometry like in Malaria, Relapsing fever and TB/HIV. (3) I understand better the flow results I use while treating my patients now. (4) I am a better supervisor to my students and I encourage them too to improve their careers.”
Neema Ndoboka works for the Tanzanian Ministry of Community, Development, Gender and Children. She trained at the Anthropology Department of NUIM to develop her skills on study design, ethnographic methods and Quantitative Analysis. These will help her in the future design of development initiatives for communities in Tanzania.
In her training evaluation, Neema wrote: “I will advise my colleagues to be careful in planning and introducing any development program in a community. The research skills will help me in my future studies and in any research that I may need to conduct.”
Mary Rwegasira works for Concern Tanzania and trained with the Anthropology Department in NUIM. During her training, Ms. Rwegasira developed a research project utilising qualitative and quantitative methods designed to assess the mainstreaming of ‘gender equality’ within Concern Tanzania’s Rights-Based Livelihood Project. Ms. Rwegasira’s assessment project is currently being undertaken in the field. Ms. Rwegasira anticipates that this research will contribute to graduate work she intends to undertake in Dar es Salaam University. Ms Rwegasira’s training represents an important example of knowledge transfer between Irish third level institutions and the NGO sector.
Mary wrote in her training evaluation: “Soon after returning back in Tanzania, I had an opportunity to conduct a gender survey analysis of the Rights-Based Livelihood Program in Concern Tanzania, so I was able to use the theoretical knowledge gained at Maynooth and the survey proposal I developed as a learning process I put to practical use. I wrote a report of this survey of which I shall share with you soon. Also I was able to train my research assistants on the tools to be used in data collection. This justifies that the skills and knowledge gained during training in Ireland will be used on my daily activities and thus broaden my skill and knowledge on research techniques.”
Ting-Ting Shum is an MA student in Anthropology at NUIM. She conducted research for her MA thesis in Tanzania, in collaboration with the University of Dar es Salaam. Ms Shum was trained in ethnographic research methods, data gathering and management and also completed a short Swahili language course. In Tanzania, Ms Shum gathered data for her MA thesis which investigates development initiatives around Malaria control, in particular a national project called the UCC (Under-Five’s Catch Up Campaign) - free distribution of LLINs (Long-Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets) for children under five years of age. Ms Shum is currently writing up her MA thesis and reported on her training experience in Issue 7 of the CDPC newsletter.
Ting Ting wrote in her training evaluation: “I intend to pursue anthropology and so, having experience in anthropological fieldwork and all the skills that entails, is invaluable to me.”
Kamugisha Gozibert is a medical sociologist from the University of Dar es Salaam and CDPC partner. He is using his training fellowship in residence at NUIM to complete intensive readings in global health and social theory, and to complete a graduate level module in statistical analysis. Additionally, he is drafting a PhD research prospectus focused on describing, analyzing, and assessing the impact of the restructuring of Tanzania’s health sector following structural adjustment programs in the 1980s and 1990s on clinical interactions and outcomes.
John Kariuki is a laboratory technologist at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He is interested in the medicinal properties of the African sandalwood plant, which is currently being used in Kenyan traditional medicine. In collaboration with CDPC partners in NUIM (Immunology and Anthropology) and Dr Helen Sheridan (School of Pharmacy, TCD) Mr Kariuki devised a research project that (1) chemically analyses the compounds contained in sandalwood extracts and (2) studies the use of the sandalwood plant in traditional Kenyan medicine. Mr Kariuki has now returned to Nairobi and decided to further his studies by pursuing a BSc degree in Biology at the University of Nairobi. He is hoping to put his sandalwood project forward as his final year research project. He continues to collaborate with Helen Sheridan and is supported by Dr Michael Kibe (a CDPC partner) in Nairobi. In addition, we connected Mr Kariuki with Dr Washington Onyango-Ouma, an anthropologist at the University of Nairobi and CDPC associate, for support with the anthropological questions associated to his research.
Dr Joseph Erume
Dr Joseph Erume is a Lecturer in Veterinary Microbiology at the Department of Veterinary Medicine, Makerere University, Uganda. He trained at the Biology Department of NUIM to improve his skills in bioinformatics, research methodology and statistics (SPSS and Minitab). He also received training in flow cytometry and RNA extraction. His interests are in paratuberculosis, bovine TB and other zoonotic infections. These infectious diseases are particularly important not only because of their direct impact on humans as well as animals, but also because of their socioeconomic impact. Dr Erume is now establishing his own research group in Makerere University, Kampala.
Ms Sarah Naulikha
Ms Naulikha has a BSc in Biotechnology from Kenyatta University, Kenya, and has a particular interest in science education. As she was aware of the CDPC’s secondary school outreach programme, she requested training in this area, and became the first CDPC trainee in the area of education and school outreach. Ms Naulikha trained with Mr Joseph Clowry, the CDPC’s education officer, and accompanied him on school visits and workshops. She learned how to prepare teaching materials for workshops on HIV/AIDS and development issues. She was also exposed to project-based learning by interacting with students preparing projects for the Young Scientist and Young Social Innovators Competitions. Finally, she received training in the use of ‘Labquest’ technology for science education and was sponsored by Ibotz, the company who manufacture it, meaning that Ms Naulikha was able to take several ‘Labquest’ sensors with her to Kenya, where she will introduce them to secondary school teachers for use in science classes. Ms Naulikha also received training in Dr Martina Schroeder’s laboratory in mammalian tissue culture and basic protein biochemistry, which will be of use for her MSc in Immunology, which she has now started with CDPC partner Dr John Waitumbi at KEMRI, Kisumu, Kenya.
Ms Jennifer Assimwe
Ms Assimwe holds an MSc degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from Makerere University, where she is currently pursuing research on M. bovis and working as a teaching assistant. Ms Assimwe requested advanced training in molecular cloning techniques and protein biochemistry, which would enable her to teach practical courses in this area at Makerere University and strengthen her research skills. Ms Assimwe received theoretical and practical training in site-directed mutagenesis and molecular cloning, recombinant protein production, SDS-gel electrophoresis and western blotting and mammalian tissue culture in Dr Martina Schroeder’s laboratory, integrated into a small research project on Hepatitis C virus Core protein. Ms Assimwe is currently looking for a PhD position in the area of bovine TB and believes that the CDPC training has increased her chances of securing her desired position in a German lab.
Dr Aza Lyimo
Dr Aza Lyimo is a qualified medical doctor at St. Francis Designated District Hospital, Ifakara, Morogoro, Tanzania. His specialisiation is in the area of gynaecology and he requested training from the CDPC to improve his knowledge in the area of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, as he regularly deals with HIV-infected mothers and newborns. He is interested in pursuing research on HIV, in particular the determinants that prevent disease in long-term non-progressors. Dr Aza Lyimo trained with Dr Derek Doherty at St James’ Hospital, where he pursued a small research project on the role of gd T cells in HIV-infection. He has learned to isolate PBMCs from blood samples and was trained in the use of flow cytometry for diagnostic and research purposes. During the course of his training, Dr Lyimo (in collaboration with Dr Doherty) also developed a PhD proposal, which involves studying the role of gd T cells and NK cells in Tanzanian HIV-exposed newborns. Dr Lyimo hopes to return to Dr Doherty’s lab for a PhD and a grant application on the above-mentioned project has been submitted to the Gates Foundation and the Irish Health Research Board (HRB) to seek funding for this project and Dr Lyimo’s position.
Mr John Villiers
Mr Villiers is an MA student in anthropology and development. Under the supervision of Abdullahi El-Tom (NUIM), and in consultation with CDPC partners at Makerere University (Anne Katahoire) and at Kanombe Military Hospital in Kigali, Rwanda (Judy Tatwangire), John has been undertaking ethnographic research in Burundi on the development of a local food supplement for child malnutrition working with CDPC partner organisation Concern. This work has taken him to remote areas of Burundi, NGO headquarter offices and colonial archives, among others. The research will contribute to the completion of an MA thesis on food security, malnutrition, and health in east Africa.
Ms Sylvia Wanzala
Ms Sylvia Wanzala is an MSc student at Makerere University, where she is working on Drug susceptibility patterns of Mycobacterium bovis and M. smegmatis. She has started her training in Dr Martina Schroeder’s laboratory, where she is trained in advanced molecular cloning techniques, protein biochemistry (recombinant protein production, SDS-gel electrophoresis, western blotting) and mammalian tissue culture. Ms Wanzala also receives training on ELISA technique and flow cytometry in Dr Bernhard Mahon’s lab and we will link her to Irish researchers working on bovine and human TB. Ms Wanzala also attends lectures and workshops in Immunology, Epidemiology and Bioinformatics at NUI Maynooth.
Mr Stephen Gikuru
Mr Gikuru is a PhD student and lecturer at Egerton University, Kenya. His research is concerned with hormones and prostaglandin signalling in human Schistosomiasis. To this end, he requires training in advanced bioinformatics. Mr Gikuru is currently attending lectures and workshops in Bioinformatics at NUIM and receives one-on-one mentoring by Dr David Fitzpatrick, a bioinformatician in the Department of Biology at NUIM. Mr Gikuru has also started to train in Prof Padraic Fallon’s lab in St James’ Hospital, an internationally renowned lab for Schistosome research.
Mr Titus Lugendo
Mr Lugendo holds an MA degree in social science from the University of Dar es Salaam. Most recently, his work has focused on AIDS education in rural Tanzania. He is presently director of TANOPHA, the Tanzanian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS. Additionally, he has consulted with UNICEF, UNAIDS, TACAIDS, and other NGOs addressing HIV in Tanzania. Mr Lugendo’s training at NUIM focuses on ethnographic research methodologies and social theory related to health and development in Africa and elsewhere. He attends tutorials with Dr. Thomas Strong, a course on survey design under the direction of CDPC- partner Catherine Comiskey at Trinity College, and a seminar on the history of anthropology with Dr. Pauline Garvey. He is developing work to analyse the higher HIV prevalence rate in the Mbeya region of Tanzania. Mr Lugendo was recommended to CDPC through CDPC trainee Mary Rwegisera of Concern Tanzania.
Ms Nanyonjo Madina
Ms Madina is presently undertaking an MA course in Public Administration and Management at Makerere University. She holds a BA degree in Sociology and Political Science from Makerere and was recommended to the CDPC training by CDPC partner Charles Rwabakwuli. Ms Madina is presently pursuing research on the topic: “Women’s Representation and Capacity to Influence Decisions in Local Governments: The Case of Kampala District.” At NUIM, she has attended tutorials on anthropology, development, and Africa with Thomas Strong, a course on survey design under the direction of CDPC-partner Catherine Comiskey at Trinity College, and a seminar on the history of anthropology with Dr. Pauline Garvey.
Mr Joseph Michael Abila
Joseph Michael Abila is an Economist, with Bachelor degree in Economics and, Masters degree in Economics and Management from Makerere University. His major fields of specialization include: International Trade; Macroeconomics; Public Sector Economics; Program and Project Management. While in Maynooth, he has attended tutorials on anthropology, development, and Africa with Thomas Strong, a course on survey design under the direction of CDPC-partner Catherine Comiskey at Trinity College, and a seminar on the history of anthropology with Dr. Pauline Garvey.
Ms Phoebe Kajubi
Ms Kajubi holds MA and BA degrees in education from Makerere University in Kampala, and has received training certificates from the University of California, San Francisco’s Center for AIDS Prevention Studies.
She is presently working on a PhD proposal under the supervision of Anne Katahoire of Makerere University. Her present research concerns the social context of children living with HIV in Uganda. At NUIM, she is pursuing independent work on readings in the anthropology of childhood while completing her PhD proposal.