This proposal is the third renewal of our Global Infectious Disease training grant (D43 TW005884) entitled, Training and Research in Severe Malarial Anemia (SMA). Our International Malaria Training and Research Program (IMTRP) was established in 2002 (PD/PI, D. Perkins). During the current funding cycle, trainees were highly prolific in generating peer-reviewed manuscripts and presenting at international meetings. Based on current scientific training needs identified in Kenya, we will focus on thematic target areas: (1) genomics/bioinformatics (2) drug/vaccine discovery and (3) biostatistics and epidemiological/mathematical modeling. The strategic training approach is based on success by past and current trainees who identified genetic pathways that mediate development of SMA, thereby, providing the foundation for discovery of novel treatment options. Engagement of trainees in targeted focus areas that support improved therapeutic options comes at an opportune time since treatment and management of SMA has been met with very limited success. The next phase of activities will continue long-standing partnerships between the University of New Mexico (UNM) and our Kenyan collaborators (Kenyatta and Maseno Universities and Kenya Medical Research Institute), and a new academic site (Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology). We have also included our collaborative partners from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), along with the newly established West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP), University of Ghana. Formation of WACCBIP is based on two recent capacity-building grants ($15.9M) awarded to a former PhD trainee in the IMTRP. Since the training mission for WACCBIP includes mentoring Kenyan scientists, we will provide joint training and synergize our activities. Moving forward, we propose training for current doctoral students (2) and MSc students (2) who will transition to PhD studies. Through cost-sharing with WACCBIP, we will also jointly train additional doctoral candidates (4-6), and two postdoctoral fellows per year (10 total). Long- term training (12 mos.) will be offered for specialized training at UNM and/or LANL for one postdoctoral fellow/year, and for medium-term training (6 to 9 mos.) of two to three scientists/year. We will also train junior faculty (1-2) in each year of the grant and offer competitively awarded re-entry grants to support transitioning to independent investigator status (1 per year). Short-term, in-depth training in the focus areas will also be offered through annual workshops in Kenya. The overall training paradigm will foster sustained establishment of independent researchers in Kenya. Expansion of our highly successful training program in the next phase is based on over $120M in annual funding for the multidisciplinary team assembled. Collectively, the training platform will also provide the technology transfer and capacity-building required for establishing a critical mass of Kenyan scientists to address the challenging public health problems facing their society.

Public Health Relevance

In the proposed continuation of our research training program (years 16-21), we have assembled a multidisciplinary team of investigators from the US, Kenya, and Ghana to provide mentoring in thematic target areas (1) genomics and bioinformatics (2) drug and vaccine discovery and (3) biostatistics and epidemiological/mathematical modeling. These thematic areas were strategically selected so that our long-, medium, and short-term training plans for endemic area scientists can address current scientific needs and have the greatest impact on long-term capacity building in Kenya for the prevention and management of their public health challenges.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Fogarty International Center (FIC)
International Research Training Grants (D43)
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Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
Program Officer
Sina, Barbara J
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University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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