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  • Pauline Byakika-Kibwika, winner of the HIVRT alumni scholarship to attend the HIV Drug Therapy Congress, Glasgow, 2018.



    HIV Research Trust alumni were asked to complete a survey describing how their HIVRT scholarship had impacted their professional and academic lives allowing Trustees to better understand how it affected patient outcomes in the scholar’s home setting. The Trustees assessed all survey responses and selected Pauline to receive the above award. Her story is summarised below.

    In 2010 Pauline attended a placement at Mahidol University, Thailand to obtain clinical pharmacology analytical skills to assist her in completing her PhD. Pauline’s PhD work contributed to the current knowledge on treatment of malaria in HIV-infected patients who are also receiving antiretroviral treatment. This work has been utilised and referenced by the World Health Organization in the current policy on treatment of malaria in HIV-infected individuals.

    After completion of her PhD, she was promoted to Associate Professor and currently heads the Infectious Diseases Unit at the Department of Medicine of Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda where they care for those who are affected with HIV and opportunistic infections - more than 200 HIV-infected inpatients and over 300 outpatients are seen each month.

    Pauline is also the Director of the Research Directorate at Makerere where her responsibilities include reviewing and guiding the research framework at the Department of Medicine and supervising Masters and PhD students’ research projects.
  • Deogratius Ssemwanga
    Country Uganda
    Job Title Scientific Officer
    Date of Scholarship March-May 2010
    Host Country Cape Town, South Africa
    Scholarship Training in Single Genome Amplification Assay, University of Cape Town

     

    TRAINING IN SINGLE GENOME AMPLIFICATION ASSAY

    I had an opportunity to attend training sponsored by The HIV Research Trust at the University of Cape Town. Our research looks at HIV-1 inter/intra subtype dual/mixed infection; prevalence in HIV-1 infected Ugandans and its relationship to disease stage and progression. The molecular assays used include Heteroduplex Mobility Assay (HMA), cloning, DNA sequencing, Single Genome Amplification (SGA) and phylogenetic analysis.

    The SGA was not set up in our lab at the time of the grant application. We therefore requested for funding to have this technique learnt at the University of Cape Town and later transfer the technology to our lab to continue with surveillance of dual infections in our cohorts.

    This SGA has been learnt and we have set up the technique in our labs in Entebbe. This assay generates several full-length HIV-1 envelope gene sequences. These sequences are then analysed by the various phylogenetic tools to confirm HIV-1 dual infections.

    Way forward
    We are currently using the assay in our lab to analyse further the dually/triply infected individuals and their singly infected partners. This is being done by analyzing the available prospective blood samples to determine if the singly infected individuals acquire new infections from their dually infected partners. To determine the contribution of dual/mixed infection to recombination, we are analysing prospective samples from dually/triply infected individuals.

    Acknowledgement
    I gratefully acknowledge the HIV Research Trust for encouraging career development for young up-coming Scientists. This funding has greatly contributed to my quick completion and submission of my PhD thesis later this year. To the HIV Trust I am very grateful for the training opportunity.



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    2018 Timeline

    • Online application for 2019 scholarships open September 2018
    • 2019 scholarships announced late December 2018

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    The scholarships are for health care professionals in early/mid-career who are located in resource-limited settings from low-income and lower-middle-income countries working in the field of HIV infection. Read more to see if you are eligible.