The West Africa Regional School on Immunology (ImmunoGambia) of Infectious Diseases Course at MRC Unit The Gambia

The first regional School of Immunology of Infectious Diseases sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation (VWF) and International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS) took place at MRC Unit The Gambia (MRCG) from 21 to 25 November 2016. With the on-going efforts to organise regional schools of immunology in the four corners of Africa, while courses in South, East and North have already taken place, ImmunoGambia 2016 is the first to be held in West Africa.

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ImmunoGambia 2016 course attendants

In attendance were 45 scientists and clinicians working in the field of tropical medicine, global health and infectious diseases. The course focused on the immunology of malaria, tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Ebola with a practical introduction to flow cytometry. The 45 participants were from 10 different West African countries (including 12 from the MRCG) and Germany, with international faculty experts from Africa, Europe and Canada.

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Scientific poster presentations during the ImmunoGambia 2016 course

The course featured presentations of immunology related to specific diseases, such as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV from the faculty and also selected abstracts from participants. Participants took part in various sessions, including group discussions, presentations, scientific poster presentations and meet-the-experts focused on malaria, helminths, schistosomiasis, HIV and vaccine development. These interactive discussions were aimed to foster learning, scientific exchange and networking with fellow participants and faculty members. There were 2 poster sessions where students presented their work in a 2-3 minute description. 3 poster prizes were awarded by the faculty committee.

A practical introduction to multi-colour flow cytometry was also provided, organised by Jainaba Njie Jobe from MRCG. This included a presentation on flow cytometry followed by 2 laboratory sessions for interested participants facilitated by Dr Morgane Griesbeck from Becton Dickinson.

The course was organised by Dr Jayne Sutherland (MRCG) and Professor Dieter Kabelitz (University of Kiel) was considered a great success by all participants.