IMPALA’s Maia Lesosky awarded prestigious Newton Advanced Fellowship

News article 8 Nov 2018

Dr Maia Lesosky, Assistant Professor at the University of Cape Town and partner on IMPALA (International Multidisciplinary Programme to Address Lung Health and TB in Africa) has been awarded £92,600 by the Newton Fund. The fellowship will be hosted by LSTM, with Professor Kevin Mortimer as the Co-investigator.

The Fellowships; created by The Academy of Medical Sciences in partnership with the Royal Society; provide established international researchers with an opportunity to develop the research strengths and capabilities of their research group through training, collaboration and reciprocal visits with a partner in the UK. The skills and knowledge gained should lead to changes in the wellbeing of communities and increased economic benefits.

Maia’s application, supported by IMPALA, outlined the need for biostatistics to gain understanding from data and ranges. Complex methods are needed due to the difficulty in understanding how the many possible factors contribute to disease. For example, an individual may have been exposed to air pollution or smoking, they may have a dusty job, there may be an underlying medical condition, and all of this information needs to be used somehow. The somehow is through advanced statistical modelling.

This work will be done in sub-Saharan Africa, which has a high burden of lung diseases, but also has very few statisticians. A major part of this proposal is to train young African biostatisticians in statistical models and collaboration with clinical researchers so more of these important health questions can be answered locally.

Capacity development will be in the form of both 1-on-1 development through direct supervision of postgraduate trainees and provision of biostatistics workshops teaching both biostatistics skills and collaborative consultation. One such workshop will take place at IMPALA’s Annual Partners meeting in Tanzania in June 2019.