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New Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards Boosting Unit Scientific Programmes

Postdoctoral Fellowship grantees Dr. Anxious Niwaha, Dr. Anne Kapaata and Dr. Agnes Ssali

The MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit through the Training and Capacity Building section has awarded three Postdoctoral Fellowships to recently completed PhD scientists who will use the funds and platform to build on ideas generated during their PhD journeys.

Building research capacity continues to be a core objective of the Unit in achieving its overall vision of building on the past research achievements and new opportunities, to contribute to the control of infectious diseases like HIV, and of non-communicable diseases in Uganda, the region and the world.

Dr. Anne Kapaata, Dr. Agnes Ssali and Dr. Anxious Niwaha, the latest grantees of Postdoctoral Fellowship opportunities are set to conduct studies aimed at positing new, key recommendations for the Unit’s PGPI, Social Aspects of Health, and Non-Communicable Diseases Programmes.

According to Dr. Anne, this fellowship on “HIV-1 T/F transmission signatures among HIV-1 subtypes A, D and A1/D recombinants from Uganda” offers extra financial resources to support her acquisition of more skills to analyse bio-informatics, an opportunity that never existed while pursuing her PhD.  She says;

‘With this fellowship I want to learn more bioinformatics skills, analyse the entire HIV genome and find special features across the genome that makes the HIV unique and transmissible from one person to another’…...Dr. Anne Kapaata

Dr. Agnes says that the study on “Improving informed consent for clinical vaccine trials in pregnant women in Uganda,” is a great opportunity to come up with more localized consent forms capturing the input of local communities to ensure that the informed consent process is safe for the patient and the health care provider. She says;

‘I am going to dig deeper into the consenting process of pregnant women and the entire community involved in the clinical trials to know if they understand the content on the consent forms. As a follow up on my PhD study, we will jointly develop consent tools with key stakeholders’……... Dr. Agnes Ssali

According to Dr. Anxious, a deeper analysis of the “Uganda Cohort study to Investigate Developmentally Programmed Reduction in Metabolic Capacity and Elasticity” during this fellowship offers a platform for understanding the risk factors that increase the chance of developing diabetes among young people in Africa. He says;

‘When compared to high income countries, metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes in Uganda and other Sub-Saharan countries are often found in individuals who are leaner and younger. I am interested in how the environment in which a person grows influences their metabolic health.’……... Dr. Anxious Niwaha

The Unit has a strong track record in research training through internships, Masters projects and PhD studies and supporting transition for the best candidates between career stages. It has supported more than 80 PhDs to completion and over 45 are still in the pipeline. The main focus of the fellowship is addressing the gap of research leaders in Africa through targeted postdoctoral support.

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