The epidemics of tuberculosis (TB) and human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV) infection converge with the greatest intensity in Sub-Saharan Africa where both the incidence and the prevalence of TB increased as the HIV epidemic swept through the continent. In Africa today, TB may affect up to 30% of co-infected persons and is the leading cause of death among HIV seropositive persons. Although proper treatment of both infections may limit morbidity and mortality of the co-infection, treatment may not alter the underlying dynamics of the HIV and TB epidemics, so new approaches are needed that target transmission and prevent infection in the first place. The overall goal of the proposed training program is to build sustainable capacity at Makerere University in molecular and computational epidemiology by training Ugandan scientists in these new and emerging methods so that they may be applied to study the complex and interacting transmission dynamics of HIV and M. tuberculosis in Kampala. The program will achieve its goal by training 2 pre-doctoral students in molecular or computational epidemiology, 2 post-doctoral trainees, and 5 non-degree trainees in technical skills relating to computational epidemiology and bioinformatics. To supplement this training based at UGA, the program will put on a series of short courses in Uganda relating to network sciences and their application in Epidemiology, molecular biology and bioinformatics. The proposed training program builds on the 25 year collaboration between the Ugandans and the PD and extends the five-year collaboration between Makerere University and the University of Georgia on HIV and TB. The training will be embedded and integrated into ongoing, research projects designed to examine transmission patterns of M. tuberculosis within social networks in the context of a mature HIV epidemic. The program will be directed by Dr. Christopher Whalen, at UGA, with a co-director Dr. Moses Joloba at Makerere University.

Public Health Relevance

Although great strides have been made to limit and control HIV and tuberculosis, these diseases still cause millions of deaths per year in Sub-Saharan Africa. This training program takes a public health perspective and plans to train Ugandan scientists in the fields of molecular and computational epidemiology. With these modern tools at their disposal, they will be able to develop new approaches that block transmission and prevent infection in the first place.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Fogarty International Center (FIC)
International Research Training Grants (D43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Bansal, Geetha Parthasarathy
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University of Georgia
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
United States
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Houben, Rein M G J; Menzies, Nicolas A; Sumner, Tom et al. (2016) Feasibility of achieving the 2025 WHO global tuberculosis targets in South Africa, China, and India: a combined analysis of 11 mathematical models. Lancet Glob Health 4:e806-e815
Whalen, Christopher C (2016) The Replacement Principle of Tuberculosis. Why Prevention Matters. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 194:400-1