We propose to establish an international Research Training Program shared between The Ohio State University Health Sciences Center and Institutes of Higher Learning in East Africa. The long-term goal of this program is to establish sustainable research and training capacity for foodborne pathogen research and training in eastern African academic institutes (Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia;University of Nairobi, Kenya and Sokoine University, Tanzania). Foodborne and waterborne diseases such as invasive salmonellosis, animal-borne tuberculosis, viral food/waterborne pathogenand Shiga-toxin producing E. coli are major public health issues with a high morbidity and mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, the research training capacities in the region are extremely weak. This program will build on existing pilot collaborative research efforts in foodborne pathogen research, particularly salmonellosis and antimicrobial resistance and based on a regional consoritum and workshop recently conducted in Eastern Africa with OSU and all partner institutes. The specific mission of this program is to train the future trainers (non-PhD holding faculty members at the institutes and laboratory support staff) using multi-disciplinary approaches such as molecular epidemiology, immunology and disease modeling. The ultimate goal is to develop a critical mass of scientists capable of effectively conducting research and training on foodborne pathogens towards prevention and control. This research training program will be conducted using vivo Tracks: Track 1 is a sandwich format pre-doctoral training for 4 PhD and 2 MSc. Trainees will have access to multitudes of opportunities at OSU leveraged with well-funded research areas including rotavirus, salmonellosis, tuberculosis and E. coli 0157:H7. Track 2 will involve a short-term training that will target laboratory technologists and will be conducted at a reputable central training and laboratory facility: Int'l Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Ethiopia and Kenya. This research training program also will introduce a culture of intra-regional collaboration among scientists within the three eastern African countries as well as inter-disciplinary collaboration among stakeholders including veterinarians, physicians and environmental health scientists to effectively address major foodborne pathogen issues.
Foodborne pathogens are major public health concerns worldwide. Currently, more than 75% of newly emerging infectious diseases is known to be zoonotic and many are foodborne in nature. This research training program will target three countries in east Africa to develop their research and training capacity in this very important area.
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