West African Partnership move

In January 2011, Dr Assan Jaye is being seconded to Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar.Assan Jaye graduated as a Veterinarian in 1988 from Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria. Following a stimulating but short period of research work in his fi nal clinical year, when he identified a biochemical marker of susceptibility to cattle Trypanosomiasis, he opted for a career in Veterinary/Medical Research. He pursued a PhD in the immunology and molecular biology of trypanosomes at the International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya and at Brunel University in UK from 1989-93. He worked on a molecular and immunological characteristic of an antigen in T. congolense that was of signifi cance in both diagnosis and in pathology, later on identifi ed as cysteine protease precursor that was implicated in modulation of disease during infection. Dr Jaye returned to his home country, The Gambia and joined the MRC unit in 1993 as a Rockefeller Research Training Fellow. He started work on cytotoxic T cell responses in measles and demonstrated both class I and class II-restricted CTL to major measles gene products in recovery from infection. In addition, Dr Jaye took up work on HIV-2 immunology and became the group leader for HIV immunology in 1998 with a focused interest on the mechanisms underlying non-progression in HIV-2 infection. He set up the HLA typing laboratory in The Gambia to support the CTL immunology and genetics work in the HIV, Malaria and TB programmes. Many of his HIV work described differential immune responses between HIV-1 and HIV-2 and that HIV-2 asymptomatic cases exhibit a stronger qualitative responses in adaptive T cell and innate NK cell responses.

In 2008, Dr Jaye became the interim Head of the Viral Diseases Programme to coordinate and direct the research activities in HIV, Hepatitis B and Infant Immunology (measles and vaccine interventions in infants). Following the re-structuring of the research strategy of The Unit in 2009-2010, Dr Jaye was seconded in January 2011 to the University of Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) in Dakar, Senegal to head a West African research collaboration network. In this job remit, he is coordinating research capacity development for a regional platform for HIV intervention research, developing HIV research program for joint laboratory research and clinical trials and facilitating the unit’s collaboration with researchers in Senegal and Guinea Bissau on other infectious diseases such as Malaria, Hepatitis B and TB.