Fogarty HIV-TB training programme for UCT

27 November 2017 | Story Supplied. Photo Supplied.
The core administrative team for the Fogarty HIV-TB Training Program at UCT: Kathryn Wood, Jonny Peter, Graeme Meintjes and Sipho Dlamini.
The core administrative team for the Fogarty HIV-TB Training Program at UCT: Kathryn Wood, Jonny Peter, Graeme Meintjes and Sipho Dlamini.

The Fogarty HIV-associated Tuberculosis Training Program has been established at the University of Cape Town (UCT), in partnership with Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in the United States. The programme is funded by a five-year grant from the Fogarty International Center of the US National Institutes of Health.

As UCT is recognised as a leader in the field of HIV-TB research, this training programme will support the career development of the university’s next generation of research leaders in the field.

“The vision is to establish a multidisciplinary, highly successful trainee cohort who are retained at UCT and function as a collaborative community (during and beyond their Fogarty training),” said UCT programme leader Professor Graeme Meintjes, from the Department of Medicine and a member of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM).

“The training programme aims to sustain the quantity, quality and impact of UCT’s HIV-TB scientific output.”

To this end, 15 fellowships will be awarded over the five years to clinician researchers, basic scientists and epidemiologists, helping each to either obtain a PhD or undertake postdoctoral study towards research independence.

The five research focus areas prioritised for training are:

  • clinical epidemiology and biostatistics
  • advanced epidemiology and modelling
  • pharmacokinetics and pharmacogenomics
  • immunopathogenesis of TB in the setting of HIV co-infection
  • HIV and TB drug hypersensitivity reactions.

Personal individual development plans with annual review will be a strong focus. The programme also includes: visits to the US for certain fellows to obtain specific skills; short courses at UCT; distance learning via web-based courses; a schedule of research seminars for trainees; and an annual symposium.

The programme will also organise an annual seminar for medical students in fifth and sixth year to introduce them to HIV-TB research and to discuss funding and career opportunities in this field.

“The programme will build on existing collaborative links between UCT, JHU and VUMC,” Meintjes added. “UCT and VUMC researchers recently collaborated on the establishment of a multidisciplinary drug hypersensitivity clinical platform in Cape Town, which will facilitate a research collaboration in this field.”

Outcomes of the programme will include:

  • the development of the next generation of HIV-TB research leaders at UCT, particularly increasing the number of clinician researchers undertaking HIV-TB clinical epidemiology and translational science research
  • enhanced UCT capacity to collaborate as an equal partner with institutions in the global north in planning, conducting and analysing studies involving high-level analytical approaches
  • accelerated transformation of the demographic composition of UCT’s research platform (emerging black researchers will be prioritised for the fellowship opportunities)
  • the further development of UCT’s capacity to deliver high-impact contributions to understanding and altering the co-epidemic of HIV and TB.

The programme will be administered by the Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa in the IDM. Led by Meintjes, other UCT members of the coordinating committee are associate professors Jonny Peter and Sipho Dlamini, professors Gary Maartens and Andrew Boulle, and Kathryn Wood. US members of the coordinating committee are professors Richard Chaisson (JHU), David Haas (VUMC) and Tim Sterling (VUMC), and Associate Professor Jonathan Golub (JHU).

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