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  • SADaCC

    • Prof. Ambroise Wonkam (Principal Investigator and SADaCC Director)

      Prof. Wonkam is a specialist medical geneticist, in the Division of Human Genetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa. After a MD training from the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I (Cameroon), he completed a thesis in Cell Biology in the department of Morphology, University of Geneva (Switzerland) and a PhD in Human Genetics (University of Cape Town, South Africa). Other salient aspects of Prof Wonkam's background include his education as a medical geneticist at a highly reputable genetics department in Geneva (Switzerland). He subsequently practices medical genetics in both European and African contexts. His research interests are reflected in more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, which are in molecular, clinical, educational and ethical aspects of medical and human genetics. His research focuses on: 1) Psychosocial Burden and Genomics modifiers of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD); 2) Genetics of hearing loss, and 3) Ethical and educational Issues in human genetics in Africa. His is member of the steering committee of H3Africa consortium, leading specifically the NIH/NHGRI funded SCD project. He has recently been granted from NIH/NHLBI 3.7m USD, to establish a Sickle Africa Data Coordinating Centre (SADaCC), at the University of Cape Town that will work collaboratively with a sister consortium (Sickle Pan African Network, SPARCo) to develop various studies in Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana. He was awarded the 2003 Denber-Pinard Prize for the best thesis from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, and won the very competitive Clinical Genetics Society International Award for 2014, from the British Society of Genetic Medicine. Prof Wonkam is secretary of the African Society of Human Genetics, Board member of the International Federation of Human Genetics Societies, council member of Human Genome Organization, steering committee's member of the Global Genetic Medicine Collaborative (G2MC).

    • Prof. Nicola Mulder (Co-Investigator)

      Prof. Mulder heads the Computational Biology Division (CBIO) at UCT. She graduated with a BSc degree (cum laude) in Chemistry and Microbiology, and a first class Honours degree in Microbiology, followed by a PhD in Medical Microbiology. She then spent over 8 years at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) in Cambridge, moving into the area of bioinformatics. At the EBI she was a Team Leader, responsible for the development of InterPro and the Gene Ontology Annotation Project. InterPro was one of the most heavily used Bioinformatics resources at the Institute. At UCT, Prof Mulder works in the area of bioinformatics of infectious diseases, including pathogen and host genomics and biological networks, human variation and disease association studies. She heads the CBIO group, which consists of over 30 staff and students. The group provides bioinformatics support and training for postgraduate students and local researchers, and Prof Mulder convenes an Honours programme in Bioinformatics, and organises a South African national bioinformatics training course for postgraduate students. Internationally, Prof Mulder is involved in capacity development in Africa, as leader of a large NIH-funded consortium, H3ABioNet, to build a Pan-African Bioinformatics network for H3Africa. Prof Mulder is also a member of the ELIXIR Scientific Advisory Board, which forms part of a major EU funded European initiative involving all the bioinformatics stakeholders in Europe and many others world-wide, and a founding member of the Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education & Training (GOBLET). She is on the executive committee of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, as well as a number of review and advisory boards.

    • Dr. Victoria Nembaware (Project Manager)
      Dr. Nembaware was officially appointed as the Project Manager for SADaCC in November 2017 and is the outgoing H3Africa training coordinator. She earned her first degree in Chemistry and Microbiology from the University of Cape Town and then graduated Cum Laude for her Hons and MSc degrees from the University of Western Cape (South African Bioinformatics Institute). Vicky was awarded a PhD in Bioinformatics in 2008 from the University of Cape Town. In addition to her didactic training in Bioinformatics and Monitoring and Evaluation, Vicky has research experience in Bioinformatics and in the Public Health field. She also has experience in designing, monitoring and evaluation of projects in the Information Communication Technology field (particularly in mHealth). Vicky has conducted numerous mHealth projects which include a public participatory project in the development of the South African National Strategic Plan on AIDS, TB and HIV (2012-2015). To this end, I developing a mobile phone app in collaboration with members of the H3Africa consortium which is aimed primarily to train researchers how to engage and educate the general public on heredity and health in Africa. I am passionate about evidence based training and mentoring of the next generation of African health researchers.
    • Ms. Gabby Emjedi (Administrator)

      Miss Emjedi is completing her degree in Bachelors Administration with her final financial accounting exam taking place in October 2017. She has broad financial industry background and joined UCT in August 2016. Gabby joined the SADaCC team as the Administrator in September 2017.

    • Mr. Mario Jonas (Bioinformatician)
      Mr. Jonas started his undergraduate studies in the exact sciences but ended up with an Honors in Biochemistry. His education came full circle when he finished a Masters in Bioinformatics at SANBI, UWC. The multi-disciplinary nature of Bioinformatics has allowed him to address problems and find solutions of very disparate natures. He is passionate about capacity building and hopes to play my part in addressing this challenge. He joined SADaCC at the start of October 2017.
    • Prof. Delva Shamley (Consultant)
      Dr Shamley has worked in academia for 26 years, 13 of which were spent in Oxford, UK. Dr Shamley works in proteomics and genomics of latent effects of adjuvant therapy in breast cancer. In this field her work covers laboratory based research and translation into practice. She has experience and knowledge of many research designs and has run departments and centres for research in the UK and SA. She is currently Director of the Clinical Research Centre at UCT. Clinical Research at UCT is supported by the Clinical Research Centre (CRC) which aims to promote and enhance research capacity locally and across sub-Saharan Africa. This is achieved by a comprehensive team of highly skilled research staff, a research facility consisting of out-patient consulting rooms, 2 research pharmacists and two processing laboratories. Additionally, we have a 24-bed Phase I ward which has met all international standards. The centre runs a full quality management system according to regulatory and ethical requirements and including GCP, GCLP, ISO9001 and ISO14155. Together with centres for drug and medical device development at the University of Cape Town, the CRC provides a seamless process from development to clinical testing and as such acts as an excellent conduit for linking many researchers with industry and other partners. The CRC is unique in South Africa and we are in discussion with other universities to provide training and support for establishing similar centres across the country and indeed in sub-Saharan Africa. In this capacity we support groups in several countries including, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Kenya. In addition, we have hosted teams from, and are in early discussions with, the Cameroon Academy of Sciences and the International Centre of Excellence in Research ICER-Mali. Our role in developing sustainable research capacity is to assist with the establishment of Clinical Trials Units and to provide ongoing training and mentoring of the teams. Hosting the African Global Health Trials Network office within the CRC enhances our ability to achieve this goal. Central to any support we provide is raising awareness of the EDCTP Networks of Excellence, the African Institute of Bioscience and Technology (AiBST), and other relevant centres of excellence in Africa. Dr Shamley brings knowledge of research design, management, governance and ethical oversight.
    • Dr. Emile Chimusa (Bioinformatics Consultant)

      Dr. Chimusa is a statistical geneticist, his expertise is in population structure and genome wide patterns of variation within and between species to address fundamental questions in biology, anthropology, and medicine. He holds a Ph.D. in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, and has extensive experience in designing and applying statistical methods to large genomics data sets in computational biology and statistical genetics. He became a faculty member at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2014, and He currently holds a senior lectureship position at the Division of Human Genetics, Department of Pathology, UCT. Dr. Chimusa had led several projects including (1) a post GWAS method, ancGWAS, an algebraic graph-based approach to deconvolute the interactions between genes and identify significant disease sub-networks underlying the pathogenesis of complex diseases (Chimusa et al., 2016 Bioinformatics); (2) A study of genome-wide, dense SNP (~900K) and copy number polymorphism data of indigenous southern Africans, addressing a strategy to identify the signature of selection in admixed populations (Chimusa et al., 2015 PLoS Genet); (3) PROXYANC, an optimal quadratic programming approach to select the best proxy ancestral populations of multi-way admixed populations and to examine the fine genetic characterization of ancestral components in multi-way admixed populations (Chimusa et al., 2013 PLos One).

    • Ms. Annemie Stewart (Database Design Consultant)
      Ms. Stewart is a Public Health and Epidemiology graduate, with years of experience in data management and analysis. She leads the Data Management Team at the Clinical Research Centre in Cape Town.
    • Prof. Andre Pascal Kengne (Epidemiology Consultant)
      Prof. Kengne is a medical doctor and internist from the School of Medicine of Yaounde in Cameroon; and holds a PhD in medicine from the Sydney University, Australia. He is the current Director of South African Medical Research Council's Non-Communicable Diseases Research Unit, and holds conjoint appointments as Professor at the Department of the Department of Medicine of the University of Cape Town, South Africa. His areas of research include chronic diseases epidemiology and prevention in developing countries, decision making in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He is co-author of over numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and monographs on chronic diseases in Africa and at the global level.
    • Ms. Syntia Munung Nchangwi (Ethics Consultant)
      Ms.Nchangwi is a student at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently exploring issues of governance of global health research consortia, specifically, justice and fairness in genomics research and biobanking consortia in Africa.
  • SPARCO Hub

    • Prof. Julie Makani (Principal Investigator)

      Prof. Makani is Associate Professor in the Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), the main clinical, academic and research centre in Tanzania. Tanzania has recognised sickle cell disease (SCD), as a major public health problem and it has been included as a priority condition in the national strategy for Non-Communicable Diseases in the Ministry of Health.

      With global partnerships, Muhimbili has developed a systematic framework for comprehensive research that is integrated into healthcare, advocacy and education. With prospective surveillance (2004 – 2016) of over 5,000 SCD patients; this is one of the largest single-center, SCD research programs in the world. Scientific themes include clinical and biomedical research (including genomics) and public health [including ethics, social/behavioral science, population health and health policy]. The aim is to use SCD as a model to establish scientific and healthcare solutions in Africa that are locally relevant and globally significant.

      Julie trained in Medicine (Tanzania) and Internal Medicine (UK), and completed her PhD in clinical epidemiology of SCD. She is a consultant physician at the MUHAS University Hospital, MAMC. She was a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow [Training (2003 – 2009) and Intermediate (2012 - 2017)] and Tutu Leadership Fellow (2009). She received the 2011 Royal Society Pfizer Award for her work in using anaemia in SCD as a model of translating genetic research into health benefit. She is a Fellow of Royal College of Physicians of United Kingdom and Tanzania Academy of Sciences.

    • Dr. Furahini Tluway (Project Manager)

      Dr. Tluway is Medical Doctor with 19 years of work experience. She holds a medical degree (MD) and Master of Public Health (MPH) from Muhimbili University College of Allied Sciences (MUHAS), (1996 and 2014 respectfully). She has previously worked as a medical doctor in Tanzania and Zimbabwe in different capacities and at different hospitals/health facilities. Furahini joined Muhimbili Wellcome Programe (MWP) - now Sickle Cell Program (MHP) in August 2014. Currently working for Sickle Cell Programme MUHAS as Programme Coordinator. She also coordinates SPARCO activities at the Consortium level and SickleGenAfrica (Tanzania site).
    • Prof. Solomon Ofori-Acquah (Advisor)

      Dr. Ofori-Acquah is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics at the Universityof Pittsburgh. He is Director of the Center for Translational and International Hematology at the University’s Vascular Medicine Institute. He is Director and Project Leader of a number of NIH and Wellcome Trust research and training programs. His research is focused on the role and mechanism of extracellular heme in the pathobiology of sickle cell disease (SCD). He has developed a mouse model of acute chest syndrome that recapitulates the clinical, biological and pathological features of the condition in humans. His group is using this model to unravel the mechanism of lung injury in acute chest syndrome, and to test candidate drugs for their potential to prevent and treat this lung condition. He developed the concept of extracellular heme crisis in SCD, and defined free heme as a prototypical erythroid danger associated molecular pattern molecule that drives sterile inflammation in this disorder in the absence of infection. His research on chronic effects of heme is focused on the role and mechanism of the Nrf2 pathway in end-organ damage. His global health activities include co-directing a longitudinal observational study of biomarkers of organ damage in a large SCD cohort in Kumasi, Ghana, and as Director of the graduate course in Molecular Mechanisms of Human Genetic Diseases in the University of Ghana’s Wellcome Trust funded DELTAS Africa program.
    • Dr. Raphael Sangeda (Data Manager)

      Dr. Sangeda is a lecturer and Head of the Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology at the MUHAS node. Raphael graduated with a B. Pharm from Dr MGR Medical University, Chennai, India in 1998. In 2005, he obtained his MSc in Medical Microbiology at Jomo Kenyata University of Agriculture and Technology. In 2005 he joined Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, now KU Leuven, in Belgium where he graduated in M. Pharm (2006), MSc. Bioinformatics (2008) and PhD (2013) on the use of Bioinformatics approaches to predict HIV drug resistance. His interest at MWP includes the use of Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) in investigating the ‘Genetic epidemiology of Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Hepatitis B virus and Hepatitis C virus infections in individuals with Sickle Cell Disease.
    • Ms. Nkwaya E Kipilyango (Finance and Admin Officer)

      Ms. Kipilyango has Accounting, Finance and Administration experience in Projects and Financial Institutions. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Bookkeeping (Accounting) from University of Dar es Salaam (2007), Graduate CPA (T) 2015 and is finalizing her Masters Degree in Business Administration (Corporate Management). Over the past 10 years she has worked as a Finance Officer, Financial Accountant, Senior Finance and Administration Officer and Finance Manager. Currently she is the Senior Finance and Administration Officer at the Sickle Cell Programme, MUHAS.
    • Mr. Bakari Mbaga (Admin Assistant)

      Mr. Mbaga holds a Bachelor of Public Administration (BPA) from Mzumbe University, Tanzania. He is hoping to study for a Masters degree in Human Resource Management (MSc HRM) in the next year in order to further develop his knowledge in administration and management. He has over two years' experience in administrative activities working with various research projects within Muhimbili Wellcome Programme now Sickle Cell Programme since August 2015 and is currently working with the Sickle Cell Programme as an Administrative Officer and Assistant to the Principal Investigator, Professor Makani.
    • Mr. Frank Makundi (IT specialist)

      Mr. Makundi is an ICT Specialist with the Sub Saharan Sickle Cell Disease Programme–MUHAS. He has been with the Sickle Cell Programme since 2013, and is currently based in the SPARCO office in Tanzania. He graduated in 2006 with Advanced Diploma in Information Technology from Institute of Finance Management. He works on several areas of ICT these include networking, systems administration particularly extending the reach of information and communications infrastructure to research. He has 10 years ICT and management experience from working at SATCOM Africa, Barclays Bank Tanzania, The Muhimbili-Wellcome Programme (Now Sickle Cell Programme) and MUHAS – New Born Screening Programme.

  • SPARCO Ghana

    • Prof. Alex Osei -Akoto (Principal Investigator)
    • Mr. Evans Xorse Amuzu (Site Coordinator)
      Evans Xorse Amuzu is Ghana Site Coordinator for the Sickle Pan-African Research Consortium (SPARCO). He is a Health Research Officer with experience in managing hospital-based and community based observational and interventional studies. After his undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences, he worked with the Research and Development Unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) where he developed skills in research and administrative procedures. He also successfully completed a Professional Diploma in Project Design and Management (DPDM) awarded by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) that is being run at KATH in collaboration with the School of Medical Sciences of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (SMS-KNUST) after which he was engaged as a Facilitator and Administrator from 2015. He provides technical assistance to staff of KATH in their research projects and also training of other junior officers in research skills. Evans also has a special interest in Health Informatics and has designed and currently manages the database being used by the Paediatric Oncology Unit to track its patients' attendance. He has also designed e-questionnaires being used to collect data on the pilot Hydroxyurea treatment for Sickle Cell Patients. He has appreciable knowledge in Microsoft Office Suite, Stata, Epi-Info, Redcap, Filemaker Pro, and Open Data Kit software.
    • Prof. Kwaku Ohene-Frempong (Site Advisor)
      Kwaku Ohene-Frempong, M.D., was born in Ghana and came to the United States in 1966 to attend Yale University. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1970. After graduating from the Yale School of Medicine in 1975, he trained in Pediatrics at the New York Hospital - Cornell Medical Center, and in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology (1977-80) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Following a 6-year service at Tulane University Medical Center to develop a Sickle Cell Disease Program in Louisiana, he returned to CHOP in 1986. Dr. Ohene-Frempong has organized and been involved in several research projects through the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at CHOP and is devoting an increasing amount of time to sickle cell disease program development in Africa. In Ghana, he developed the first public health program for screening newborns for sickle cell disease in Africa. With assistance from the government of Brazil, he is working with Ghanaian colleagues to scale up the newborn screening project into a national program. Ghana launched its National Newborn Screening Program for Sickle Cell Disease in November 2010 with Dr. Ohene-Frempong as the Program Coordinator. Dr. Ohene-Frempong is now Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, Senior Scientist and Attending Hematologist, and Director Emeritus of the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He is also President of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Ghana and a founding member of the Global Sickle Cell Disease Network. In 2010, Dr. Ohene-Frempong chaired the Organizing Committee for the 1st Global Congress on Sickle Cell Disease held in Accra, Ghana. In his work in Ghana, he is collaborating with colleagues in the US, UK, Canada, Brazil, and throughout Africa to strengthen both the public health and laboratory aspects of the National Newborn Screening Programme.
    • Dr. Vivian Paintsil
      Dr. Paintsil is a Specialist Paediatrician at the Child Health Directorate of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. She has been taking care of children with sickle cell for the past 13 years. Her work involves clinical care of paediatric sickle cell patients at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital which is a tertiary referral center in Ghana. She is in charge of training at the sickle cell clinic. She has gained extensive experience in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and in clinical research. She was involved in the Newborn Screening for SCD patients in Kumasi. She is currently the Principal Investigator in the longitudinal study 'Organ damage in sickle cell disease study' in which children from birth to 15years are monitored closely and all acute illness documented. We also intend to identify from prospectively-collected and stored samples, candidate and novel genetic and biochemical markers of specific organ dysfunction. Dr Paintsil obtained her B.Sc Human Biology in 1996 from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and then MB. ChB in 1999 also in KNUST. She also has a Diploma in Project Design and Management by the Liverpool School of tropical Medicine in 2008. She completed her fellowship in Paediatric Haematology/Oncology at the Red Cross Childrens Hospital in Cape-Town, South Africa. She is also a fellow of the West African College of Physicians (Paediatrics). She also has a certificate in Health Administration and Management.
    • Mr. Isaac Nyanor (Data Manager)
      Mr. Nyanor holds a Bachelor of Science (Statistics) and a Masters of Public Health (MPH) in Population and Reproductive Health from Ghana. He has been a Research Associate (Data Analyst) with the Research and Development Unit of Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) where he has assisted in both clinical and non-clinical researches in the Hospital. He is a Marker and Assistant facilitator (Data Management) for the Diploma in Project Design and Management Course, a collaboration between KATH, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK. He has worked as Data Analyst for the Pediatric unit of KATH, Students’ Learning Abroad Programme of Barekuma Collaborative Community Development Project (BCCDP), and Partnership for child nutrition in Africa: Improving food consumption patterns and nutrition: Status of school children aged 6 to 14 years to address NCDs in Ghana, Kenya & Zambia (PCN-Africa) Isaac Nyanor was part of the Agogo team who went to Nairobi, Kenya on a phase III, double blind (observer-blind), randomized, controlled multi-center study to evaluate, in infants and children, the efficacy of the RTS,S/AS01E candidate vaccine against malaria disease caused by P. falciparum infection, across diverse malaria transmission settings in Africa. He has experience in using statistical software such as STATA, R, Epi Info, Microsoft Access, Epi data and ODK collect for developing database, capturing, managing and analyzing data. Isaac is passionate about the course of improving peoples’ live through a collaborative effort. His research has focus on community development efforts primary involving research capacity building, data quality, health education and promotion, Child and Maternal Health and early detection and management of chronic diseases such as Hypertension and diabetes.
  • SPARCO Nigeria

    • Prof. Obiageli Nnodu (Principal Investigator)

      Prof. Obiageli Nnodu is the Associate Professor of Haemato-Oncology, Ag., Director for Centre for Sickle Cell Disease Research & Training, University of Abuja (CESRTA), and a Consultant Haematologist at University of Abuja Teaching Hospital. She is a Chevening Scholar with 29 years experience in the field of haematology and blood transfusion and recipient of several international fellowships at Imperial College of Medicine, London; Karolinska Institute & Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden; University Hospital, Lund, Sweden and the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland. She is a founding member of Sickle CHARTA, the Haemoglobinopathies Working Group of the Nigerian Society for Haematology and Blood Transfusion, the Sickle Cell Support Society of Nigeria (SCSSN), and The Nigerian SCD Network. In these capacities, she helped articulate a strategy for the control of sickle cell disease in Nigeria and worked with others to build a platform for multidisciplinary multi-institutional collaborative research in SCD. She also helped organize a highly successful international conference on SCD in June 2015 with a post conference UK-Nigeria Sickle Cell Disease Research Workshop in collaboration with the British High Commission, the University of Abuja and its affiliate hospitals and advocated for the establishment of CESRTA. She has served on various technical committees for the government on NCDs and completed a number national assignment related to sickle cell disease. As Vice Chairman of the SCSSN, she coordinates all in country activities of the Network including the training of media program persons and community health extension workers on SCD. She is Chair of Advocacy for Sickle Pan African Network (SPAN), a member of European Haematology Association, Union for International Cancer Control, African Organisation for Research & Training in Cancer and the Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians & Scientists. Dr Nnodu possesses significant strategic planning and capacity building skills. She has coordinated a number of multi-institutional and community based research projects including the DFID Funded DeLPHE Project. Her research focus is on the genetic determinants of co-morbidities associated with haemoglobin S and the control of SCD at community level.
    • Dr. Chizobam Nwankwo (Project Manager)

      Dr Nwankwo is a consultant Haematologist and lecturer. She graduated from Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Nigeria MBBS in 2000. She was the pioneer haematology resident at National Hospital Abuja and became a fellow of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria –FMCPath (Haematology) in 2014. Her main interest is in sickle cell disease, blood transfusion and medical education. She had training in apheresis at Kings College Hospital London through the Visitor training program by the American Society of Haematology. Dr Nwankwo has taught severally at the update course for primary for Faculty of Pathology organized by the National Postgraduate Medical Collegeof Nigeria.
    • Prof. Oyekanmi Nash (Data Coordinator)

      Prof Nash is the Director of the Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics Department, at NABDA. He is also the coordinator of the Initiative for Translational Research on Tropical and Emerging Infectious Diseases at the NABDA-Southwest Biotechnology Center of Excellence at the University of Ibadan. He is an A/Prof to the Biological Sciences Department, Nigerian Defense Academy, Kaduna. Before returning to Nigeria in 2006, he was a research associate at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York where he worked on the evolution of HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase for Molecular Biology applications. As a postdoctoral fellow with the Canadian Protein Engineering Center of Excellence (PENCE), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, he worked on the engineering of the first "Mannosynthase." A/Prof Nash is also the Program Director of the West African Biotechnology Workshops Series (WABWS), which has recently metamorphosed into the Center for Bioscience and Biotechnology Innovation (CBBI). He is a Planning Committee member and Africa Regional Director for the International Consortium on Anti-Virals (ICAV).
    • Prof. Samuel Asala (Research)

      Prof Asala is a Professor of Anatomy (Neuroscience and Forensic Anthropology). With 38 years of University teaching, research and administrative experience in Nigeria, United Kingdom, Japan, Zimbabwe and South Africa, he was the Foundation Dean of the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences and later Provost of the College of Health Sciences, University of Abuja. He was also the founding President of the Neuroscience Society of Nigeria, a subsidiary of the Society of Neuroscientists of Africa (SONA). His research experience grew from the University of Sheffield where he obtained his PhD degree in Neuroanatomy in 1984 through the Institute for Medical and Dental Engineering, Tokyo Medical and Dental University where he undertook postdoctoral research in biocybernetics in 1988 to the Universities of Zimbabwe and the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg where he was a major contributor to the establishment of the Forensic Anthropology Research Units. He was a member of the medical curriculum development committees at the University of Zimbabwe and the University of the Witwatersrand. As an Associate Professor, he was the Head of the Division of Morphological Anatomy at the University of the Witwatersrand up to 2001. As Professor of Anatomy, he became the President and Fellow of the Anatomical Society of Nigeria and pioneered anatomy teaching and curriculum development in two Nigerian Universities. He was a member of the National Universities Commission expert committee that set the Minimum academic standard for medical education in Nigeria in 2004. He was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Anatomical Sciences and a member of the Medical Ethics Society of Nigeria. In 2012, he was presented with the prestigious Development in Nigeria Merit Award (DINMA) by People State Resource Magazine in recognition of his contribution to the training of medical and allied medical personnel in Nigeria. As Provost, he provided significant support for the development of Sickle Cell research efforts and ultimate establishment of the Centre for Sickle Cell Disease Research and Training (CESRTA) in University of Abuja. He has been and still is a supervisor of Masters and Doctorate projects across several medical science disciplines.
    • Prof. Olopade Olufunmilayo (Site Advisor)

      Prof. Olufunmilayo is the Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics, Dean for Global Health, and Director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health at the University of Chicago. Professor Olopade develops innovative strategies for comprehensive cancer risk assessment and prevention based on evolving understanding of genetic and nongenetic factors in individual patients, with a focus on women of African ancestry across the Diaspora. She has received numerous honors and awards, including honorary degrees from North Central, Dominican, Bowdoin, and Princeton Universities; MacArthur Foundation Fellowship; Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist and Exceptional Mentor Award; American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship; Officer of the Order of the Niger Award; and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom from Want Award. She is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians, National Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, and currently serves on the board of directorsfor Susan G. Komen, Cancer IQ, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and MacArthur Foundation.
  • SPARCO Tanzania

    • Dr. Emmanuel Balandya (Principal Investigator)

      Dr. Balandya is a physician-scientist with medical, doctoral and post-doctoral training. He obtained his MD at the University of Dar-es-salaam in Tanzania in 2005. Since 2007, he has been faculty at the School of Medicine, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Tanzania. He was awarded the prestigious NIH AITRP-Fogarty Fellowship in 2008 to purse Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) studies at Dartmouth College in the United States and graduated in 2012. He subsequently joined the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School as a post-doctoral research fellow between 2012-2014. With a Fogarty Global Health Fellowship supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Fogarty and the University of California Global Health Institute (UCGHI) he returned to MUHAS and focused his research on the role played by T and B lymphocytes in the immunity of children with sickle cell anemia in Tanzania.

      Dr. Balandya has a solid background in immunology, vaccinology and advanced biomedical physiology, and has contributed in the fields of mucosal immunology, primary HIV transmission, HIV vaccine development and immunity in sickle cell anemia.

      He is currently the Tanzanian PI for SPARCO and Acting Director, Directorate of Postgraduate studies at MUHAS.

    • Dr. Clara Chamba (Project Manager)

      Dr. Chamba is a Medical Specialist in Haematology and Blood Transfusion working as the Clinical coordinator for the Sickle Cell Programme at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences. She is the Tanzania site coordinator for the Sickle Pan African Research Consortium.
    • Dr. Abel Makubi (Standards of care)

      Dr. Makubi is a Senior Lecturer in Medicine, Specialist Physician and Hematologist/Cardiologist
    • Dr. Magdalena Lyimo (Skills development)

      Dr. Lyimo, a physician and biomedical scientist, is the current head of the department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences. The department is the host of an undergraduate degree program for medical laboratory sciences and two clinical based post-graduate programs in Haematology and Blood Transfusion. Dr. Lyimo is working towards building capacity and strengthening diagnostic services and laboratory medicine in Tanzania. Her research interests are in HIV immunology and transfusion medicine. She has worked closely with the National Blood Transfusion Service and has been involved in the development of guidelines and policy for the Ministry of Health in Tanzania.
    • Mr. Eliah Mwandambo (Data Coordinator)

      Mr. Mwandambo is the Data coordinator at the Sickle Cell Programme (SCP) under the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS). Before joining the current job, he worked as systems administrator and head of IT section at Teofilo Kisanji University for eight years from 2009 to 2017. He holds Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of Dar es salaam in Tanzania , also a member of eLearning Research Group (eLRG) at the University of Dar es Salaam. He has published one journal article in the area of artificial neural networks.
    • Prof. Lucio Luzzatto (Site Advisor)

      Haematologist, Geneticist, Cancer Research
    • Dr. Jill Kent (Programme Advisor)

      Having started my career in biomedical research (developmental molecular genetics) I now support researchers to undertake research and translate research outputs into real world impacts. Support includes grant funding, communication, partnerships with industry, technology transfer, career development, grant management and capacity building. I have experience from The Wellcome Trust and Cranfield University, UK. Currently I am working to support development of research management capacity in Tanzania.