|Job Title||Senior Research Officer|
|Date of Scholarship||May-July 2011|
|Host Country||London, UK|
|Scholarship||Investigating the presence of small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples of patients with tuberculous meningitis (TBM)|
During my visit to the National Institute for Mycobacterial Research (NIMR) in London, I acquired skills to perform Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) sRNA extraction, amplification and PCR from cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples of patients with tuberculous meningitis. After RNA isolation, human RNA was depleted from samples employing a capture hybridization method. This was followed by an in vitro transcription-based RNA amplification procedure. Quantitive RT-PCR was subsequently performed using commercially available and/or in-house designed probes and primers for M.tb RNA. Concentrations of ribosomal RNAs, sRNAs as well as messenger RNAs were measured. Detection of sRNAs at levels comparable to ribosomal RNA confirms their potential as sensitive biomarkers and provides the first evidence of the presence of M.tb sRNAs in bacilli from humans with tuberculosis.
With my gained knowledge of RNA analysis techniques, myself and other scientists at the University of Cape Town and the NIMR continue to explore the presence and significance of M.tb sRNAs in patients with tuberculosis. The results of our experiments have also contributed substantially to the success of my Wellcome trust Research Training Fellowship application and will contribute largely to my PhD.
I would like to thank the HIV Research Trust sincerely for its role in advancing my research career.