Two back-to-back events were held between 12-19th November 2011 at the University of Cape Town and which were part-sponsored by CIDRI. The first was the 3rd Symposium of Infectious Diseases in Africa (IDA): Measurement of Immune Responses and the second event was the 4th African Flow Cytometry Workshop: Detection of Antigen-Specific T Cells using Intracytoplasmic Cytokine Staining (ICS). The IDA symposium was also part-funded through an NIH R13 grant (AI 084562-02, PI’s Guido Ferrari and Clive Gray. Subcontract at Duke University).
Students form 11 African countries were selected based on abstract submissions along with a short narrative of how the meetings would help their careers. A Scientific Committee reviewed each submitted abstract and the students were selected based on the highest abstract score for HIV, TB or malaria. Table 1 shows the students who were selected, with one from a SACORE country (Malawi). Note that we did not receive applications from Zambia and Zimbabwe. There were a total of 67 applications and students from each disease category were selected: 4 in HIV, 5 students in TB and 4 students in malaria. We also invited two students to return who were part of the 2nd IDA Symposium, held in Johannesburg in 2009, and who showed great promise. These students chaired sessions during the IDA symposium and served as facilitators during the ICS workshop. Our aim was to provide some form of continuity between events and to foster growth of new Faculty from within Africa.
Table 1: Students selected to attend the IDA Symposium and ICS workshop
|SURNAME||NAME||COUNTRY AND INSTITUTION|
|HIV||Bunjun||Rubina||South Africa, UCT|
|Fainguem||Nadine||Cameroon Chantal Biya International Ref Centre for Research on HIV/AIDS|
|Jambo||Kondwani*||Malawi Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme|
|TB||Biraro||Irene Andia||Uganda Makerere University|
|Abate||Ebba||Ethiopia University of Gondar|
|Kone||Bourahima||Mali HIV/TB Research and Training Centre|
|Mpina||Maxmillian||Tanzania Ifakara Health Institute|
|MALARIA||Odera||Michael||Kenya Egerton University|
|Ibitokou||Samad||Benin Abomey-Calavi University|
|Nyakundi||Ruth||Kenya Institute of Primate Research|
|Megnekou||Rosette||Cameroon University of Yaounde|
|2009 Returns||Sanou||Guillaume||Burkina Faso Centre National de Rechercheet de Formation sur le Paludisme|
|Mekonnen||Teferi||Ethiopia, Armauer Hansen Research Institute|
The aims of the IDA symposium were the following a) To provide young African investigators with the most recent data on the pathogenesis of HIV, TB, and Malaria and its implications for vaccine development; b) To allow young investigators the opportunity to discuss their own research projects with experts in the different fields; c) To foster collaborations and enable an African network of scientists, where region-specific problems can be addressed in the future and d) To link the knowledge acquired through the symposium to technical expertise required to generate the data.
To achieve these aims, we assembled a comprehensive Faculty for both the IDA symposia and ICS workshop shown in Table 2:
Table 2: Faculty attending the IDA symposium and ICS workshop
|Name||Area of Expertise||Affiliation|
|Clive Gray||T cell immunology in HIV||Division of Immunology, IDM, UCT|
|Guido Ferrari||T cell and ADCC responses in HIV vaccines||Department of Experimental Surgery, Duke University|
|Michael Betts||Cellular responses to viral infections and vaccines||Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania|
|Mario Roederer||New technologies in cellular immunology||Flow Cytometry Core Section, Vaccine Research Center, NIH|
|Cellular responses in HIV and TB||Division of Medical Virology, IDM, UCT|
|Tom Scriba||Cellular and molecular responses to TB and TB vaccines||South African TB Vaccine Initiative, IDM, UCT|
|Steve De Rosa||Cellular responses to HIV vaccines||Virology division, University of Washington|
|Gaelle Breton||Dendritic cells||Ralph Steinman laboratory, Cellular Physiology and Immunology, Rockefellar University|
|Rick Koup||Cellular responses to viral and bacterial infections and to vaccines||Immunology Laboratory, Vaccine Research Center, NIH|
|Steve Perfetto||Flow cytometry specialist||Flow Cytometry Core Section, Vaccine Research Center, NIH|
|Tony Moody||B cell responses to viral infections||Duke University Medical Center|
|Simon Draper||Cellular responses to malaria and malaria vaccines||University of Oxford|
|Martin Ota||Cellular immunologist to TB||MRC, The Gambia|
|Jo-Ann Passmore||Mucosal immunology in HIV||Division of Medical Virology, IDM, UCT|
|Chidi Nweneka||HIV Vaccines and vaccine Policy in Africa.||Director, African AIDS Vaccine Programme, Uganda|
The first afternoon of the IDA symposium consisted of overviews of the immune system and how the field examines cellular immunity. The Saturday session focused on lessons learned from vaccine trials in the field for malaria, TB and HIV and was then followed by the first session of “meet the experts”. This was where each student was assigned a Faculty member to ask informal scientific questions over coffee. The aim was to provide an informal environment and to facilitate student-Faculty interchange. The afternoon session then consisted of six student presentations followed by the first grant writing exercise session. In this session, students were split into HIV, TB and malaria groups and the task was to formulate an innovative research question, hypothesis and methodology. The Sunday session began with mucosal immunity, TB and HIV vaccine immune responses and was then followed by the remaining seven student presentations. The symposium ended with the second session of the grant writing session, where each group presented their proposal with how they would compile an RO1 grant application.
Immediately following the IDA Symposium from the Monday-Friday, was the ICS workshop. Throughout the workshop, daily “homework” was set for students to complete – either by working in groups or alone. The “homework” was established to a) challenge students to think about the days events and b) evaluate who the top students were. Similar to prior events, we established a prize for the top student.
The top student for the 2011 IDA symposium and ICS workshop was awarded to Kondwani Jambo from the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme, Malawi (part of SACORE).
Student and faculty of the 3rd IDA Symposium and 4th ICS Workshop, Cape Town, South Africa
CIDRI at the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University are middle-income partners of the Southern Africa Centre for Research Excellence (SACORE) based in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. CIDRI at UCT has employed two tutors to assist students awarded PhD scholarships through SACORE, with clinical and bioinformatics research and to provide guidance in relevant research areas. We recently convened a Clinical Research Methods Workshop with CIDRI and the University of Stellenbosch, inviting 12 students from the SACORE countries and 12 from South Africa. Faculty was augmented by Dr Mike Proschan and Dr Lori Dodd of the Biostatistics Research Branch at NIAID, Bethesda, MD and Dr Dodd co-convened the workshop.
Students were invited to submit research proposals and 24 were selected for the workshop. 13 Faculty members were also invited to assist the students. The first part of the programme each day consisted of didactic lectures from clinicians and statisticians after which students and faculty leaders were divided into Protocol Development Groups to focus on the individual research proposals. After an intensive 3 and a half days, the students all presented their revised research proposals to the whole group. Comments from students and faculty were very positive with suggestions for a longer workshop in the future. The need for the involvement of statisticians was widely supported.
This joint meeting was held from 12th to 14th March 2011 at the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine at the Faculty of Health Science at the University of Cape Town.
We were fortunate that 3 members of the CIDRI International Scientific Advisory Board were able to attend the meeting and deliver plenary presentations. Professor Keith Klugman from Emory University, USA and the WITS consortium, is the chairperson of the ISAB and he presented his research on “Synergistic lethality of bacterial infections in influenza”, while Professor Harriet Mayanja-Kizza from Makerere University in Uganda spoke about “High tuberculosis morbidity and mortality in Uganda despite global control efforts; Which way forward?”. Dr Laura Via from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH in USA summarized her research on “Quantifying Disease Response: Imaging in TB”.
Twelve representatives from the Imperial College Wellcome Centre in London also attended, including the outgoing and current Directors of this centre, Professor Geoff Pasvol and Professor Mike Levin, respectively. Professor Gordon Brown, a CIDRI Committee member based at the University of Aberdeen, also delivered a plenary presentation.
We were also privileged to have three delegates from the Wellcome Trust: Dr Jimmy Whitworth, Professor Danny Altmann and Dr Michael Chew.
Professor Valerie Mizrahi, Director of the IDM, welcomed all the delegates and after introductions to CIDRI, Imperial College Wellcome Centre and the Wellcome Trust from Professor Robert J Wilkinson, Professor Geoff Pasvol and Dr Jimmy Whitworth, plenary sessions were followed by presentations from Wellcome Trust Fellows based at UCT, Uganda and Peru. CIDRI fellows who have had their awards for longer than 9 months also presented their “in-progress” research projects.
This extensive combination of research experience resulted in an excellent meeting that was appreciated by all the delegates and hopefully will lead to further collaborations.
Informal discussions over dinners at the IDM and the Jonkershuis restaurant on the Groot Constantia estate were also greatly enjoyed.
A CIDRI report detailing the all CIDRI activities from June 2008 to February 2011 was compiled ahead of the meeting and copies presented to all the delegates.
An ISAB committee meeting was held on Tuesday 15th March 2011 and approval of CIDRI activities to date as well as recommendations for future planning, were detailed in an ISAB report.
Many thanks for sponsorship contributions from Whitehead Scientific and The Scientific Group.