23 September 2020
Dr Alfred Amambua-Ngwa, Associate Professor at the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM, has been awarded an EDCTP Senior Fellowship Plus 2019.
This award includes a grant worth 749,000 Euros for Dr Amambua-Ngwa’s research project, titled Plasmodium falciparum tolerance to antimalarial drugs in West Africa: Molecular Determinants and Evolutionary Dynamics (Emerging Genomic Selection and Antimalarial Tolerance in Africa – EGSAT).
The project will focus on determining the genetic causes of reduced efficacy of antimalarial drugs and test new drugs for potency in killing drug resistant malaria parasites. It will involve collaboration between the MRCG at LSHTM in The Gambia, the Institut Pasteur Dakar (IPD) in Senegal, the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) in Ghana, and the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) in Nigeria. The programme will provide a platform for developing new drugs and for training African Scientists in cell biology and genetics of drug resistance.
The fellowship allows direct funding to a Postdoctoral fellow and 2 MSc trainees based at NIMR, Nigeria. At MRCG at LSHTM, it will support the continuous mentorship of 3 Postdoctoral fellows through the supervision of 3 MSc students. The collaboration with IPD and WACCBIP will also facilitate research exchange visits for currently registered MSc and PhD students under the co-supervision of Dr Ngwa.
Reacting to the news of his award, Dr Amambua-Ngwa said “I am delighted at the opportunity to share my knowhow and accompany younger African scientists to achieve their career ambitions, as we build local expertise to shift the center of advanced global health research to Africa. The MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM has advanced research operations and facilities and will serve as a hub for training local and West African aspiring scientists in molecular research on malaria drug resistance and other Global Health diseases”.
Prof. Umberto D’Alessandro, Unit Director, said “I am particularly happy that Dr Amambua-Ngwa has secured the EDCTP Senior Fellowship. This is an extremely prestigious and competitive grant and reflects both Alfred’s growth as a world-class independent researcher and the Unit’s efforts to support African scientists towards independence. Over the last 5 years, Alfred has built a vibrant research group of young and enthusiastic African scientists, thanks to the several research grants he has been able to secure from a variety of funders. Research activities will focus on antimalarial drug resistance, a major public health problem, and will involve several West African collaborators, expanding the Unit’s regional activities. I wish Alfred and his team success”.
Dr Alfred Amambua-Ngwa joined the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM in 2006, focusing on malaria cell biology and population genetics. With 70 publications to his credit, he was the first African scientist to hold the prestigious MRC Career Development Award and is co-Principal investigator in several research and capacity building programs in cell biology, genomics and bioinformatics of infectious pathogens. He is a member of the African Societies of Biochemistry, Antimicrobial Resistance and Human Genetics.