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. 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.
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.
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).
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)
Prof. Solomon Ofori-Acquah (Advisor)
Dr. Raphael Sangeda (Data Manager)
Ms. Nkwaya E Kipilyango (Finance and Admin Officer)
Mr. Bakari Mbaga (Admin Assistant)
Mr. Frank Makundi (IT specialist)
Prof. Obiageli Nnodu (Principal Investigator)
Dr. Chizobam Nwankwo (Project Manager)
Prof. Oyekanmi Nash (Data Coordinator)
Prof. Samuel Asala (Research)
Prof. Olopade Olufunmilayo (Site Advisor)
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. Abel Makubi (Standards of care)
Dr. Magdalena Lyimo (Skills development)
Mr. Eliah Mwandambo (Data Coordinator)
Prof. Lucio Luzzatto (Site Advisor)
Dr. Jill Kent (Programme Advisor)