Institution Registered at: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
PhD Title: Infectious and Tropical Diseases
Study Description: My research focuses on genomic surveillance and interactions between malaria and influenza pathogens in Sierra Leonean children. Sierra Leone has one of the world’s highest malaria burdens. The disease threatens the entire population, and it is one of the leading causes of death and illness among children under the age of five (WHO, 2016). To that end, an effective public health response requires proper integration of malaria and influenza control measures. However, information on the dynamics of co-infection with these two lethal diseases is limited. To the best of my knowledge, no studies have investigated the interactions between the two diseases, particularly in high malaria endemic settings such as Sierra Leone.
Thus, my research will investigate the biological mechanisms underlying host response to malaria and influenza co-infections in Sierra Leonean children. Using recombinant malaria and influenza antigens, I hope to use the Luminex Bead-Based Assay to screen patients for both influenza and malaria exposure. Samples that tested positive for both infections would be subjected to highly molecular assays like RT PCR to determine the presence of pathogen nuclear material. Nucleic acids from PCR-positive samples will be subjected to whole-genome sequencing, to identify the strains of the malaria parasite and the influenza virus. Data from these assays would be compared to clinical profiles of patients to look for links between co-infections and treatment outcomes, disease progression, and anti-malaria drug resistance.
Prof Alfred Amambua-Ngwa
Profile: I am a public health researcher and molecular biologist. In 2015, I was trained as part of the first rapid response laboratory team in Sierra Leone, and I worked on EBOLA diagnostics during the outbreak. I’ve been working with the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on the EBOVAC project in Sierra Leone, which began as a clinical trial since 2015. I have used Hematology, Chemistry, ELIZA, Luminex, and Parasitological surveys. My research has focused on infectious disease diagnosis using molecular detection techniques over the last year.
The TALENT Fellowship allows me to expand my research skills and knowledge in order to fully investigate infectious disease co-infections, using immunological and molecular platforms.
LinkedIn: Mattu Kroma | LinkedIn