LSTM partners recognised in the MRC African Research Leader Awards

News article 7 Nov 2019
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LSTM is the UK partner institution for two of the four recipients of 2019’s African Research Leader Awards from the UKRI's Medical Research Council (MRC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

Described as rising stars and future leaders in their fields of research, Dr Eleanor Ochodo of Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and Dr Kondwani Jambo of the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome (MLW) Clinical Research Programme, Malawi, will receive funding for four-five years to pursue research which is designed to address priority health problems of people in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

The scheme is awarded annually and aims to strengthen research leadership across sub-Saharan Africa by attracting and retaining exceptionally talented individuals who will lead high-quality programmes of research on key global health issues relevant to the area. Those awarded as part of the scheme need to be supported by an enthusiastic local research environment and by a strong link with a UK partner.

LSTM’s Director, Professor David Lalloo said: “These awards highlight LSTM’s commitment to strengthen research excellence in sub-Saharan Africa by supporting and encouraging talented individuals. I am delighted for both Kondwani and Eleanor that they have been recognised as the research leaders that they are, and I am confident that we will see even greater achievements in the future.”

Dr Ochodo, working with LSTM’s Professor Paul Garner in Liverpool and Professor Feiko ter Kuile at LSTM in Kenya, will formally develop an integrative approach that optimises translation of evidence into policy through evidence synthesis and national adaptation of global guidelines using HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria as examples and build capacity to conduct and use evidence synthesis in formal policy making processes. This award will also enable her to strengthen south to south research collaborations in evidence synthesis between Stellenbosch University in South Africa and the Kenya Medical Research Institute and establish a research group and hub in evidence synthesis and research translation in Kenya linked to the Stellenbosch program led by Professor Taryn Young.

Dr Ochodo said: “I am honoured and excited to be given a platform to advance the science, methods and capacity of evidence-synthesis and research translation in Africa”

Dr Jambo, working with LSTM’s Professor Daniela Ferreira, hopes to contribute to the development of new vaccines or vaccination strategies to maximise the health benefits of pneumococcal disease control in low-income countries, where current vaccinations, that have dramatically reduced the burden of diseases such as pneumonia and meningitis in Europe and North America, have not had the same impact. In settings like Malawi, the pneumococcus remains prevalent in the community, particularly among HIV-infected adults on antiretroviral therapy (ART). This award will enable him to investigate the local nasal immune environment in samples from HIV-infected adults on ART compared to those of HIV-uninfected adults.

Dr Jambo said: “I am honoured and pleased to receive this prestigious award, and I thank God for His Grace. This award will allow me to address a significant public health problem and will help in fulfilling my vision of inspiring the next generation of African biomedical and clinical scientists.”

You can find more about the scheme here.