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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.
  • Suzaan Marais
    Country South Africa
    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.



    • 11th Jan 2021: Applications Open
    • 7th March 2021: Applications Close
    • April 2021: Scholarships announced



    If you are interested in applying for a scholarship find out more below:



    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.