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Leidy Yoana Acevedo Gutiérrez 
Home Country: Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Degree:

University of Antioquia, Doctoral Student in Biomedical Basic Sciences emphasis Microbiology and Parasitology. 4th year

Master’s degree in biomedical Basic Sciences emphasis Tropical Medicine, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia, 2015

Bachelor’s degree. Microbiologist, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia, 2009

Supervisor:

Project Title:
Juan David Rodas González

Equines as sentinels of rickettsiosis in the northwestern of Colombia
Description of the Project: Rickettsiosis is a reemerging and neglected zoonotic disease in Colombia of which its distribution is unknown. Studies on the topic have suggested that equines can be used as sentinels of the circulation of rickettsioses, for this reason, the goal of the project is to identify potential risk areas of circulation of tick-borne rickettsiosis in the northwestern region of Colombia using the equines as sentinels, with the purpose of establish preventive and control measures for this kind of disease.
Dunstan Eugine Achwoka 
Home Country: Nairobi, Kenya
Degree:

University of Nairobi Doctoral Student Year 1

• MB ChB, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya

• MSc Global Health Duke University, Durham, USA

Supervisor:

Project Title:
Dr. Julius O. Oyugi

An assessment of Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) Care among People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in Kenya
Description of the Project: This study seeks to characterize the burden of four Noncommunicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes mellitus and cancer) that are responsible for over 80% of morbidity and mortality among PLHIV in Kenya. Additionally, this study will assess integration of NCD care within HIV settings through assessing outcomes of screening of precancerous lesions at a large prevention program in Nairobi, Kenya. The setting will be both PLHIV in care at both general population and key population clinics. The study will utilize retrospective program cohort data. Through this study, we will determine the burden of NCDs among PLHIVs in Kenya – both general and key populations and assess the benefit of NCD integrated care within HIV settings. We seek to obtain lessons to inform implementation considerations for NCD care delivery at ART clinics.
Allison Balasko 
Home Country: Winnipeg, Canada
Degree:

3rd Year PhD Student, University of Manitoba, MD/PhD Program

Honours Degree in Microbiology, University of Manitoba

Supervisor:

Project Title:
Dr. Keith Fowke

Investigating the lymphocyte-activation gene 3 (LAG-3) exhaustion marker and its associated defects in invariant Natural Killer T (iNKT) immune cell function in HIV infection
Description of the Project: HIV is a global health issue, with 36.9 million HIV-infected people in 2018. HIV exhausts the infected person’s immune system to the point where it cannot properly fight infections. Understanding how to reverse this exhaustion is critical in enhancing long-term well-being of HIV-infected people. Previously, our lab has shown that a protein, lymphocyte-activation gene 3 (LAG-3), inhibits immune cells from functioning in HIV infection. Moreover, our lab has shown there is more LAG-3 on immune cells called invariant Natural Killer T (iNKT) cells of HIV-infected people. iNKT cells are essential to a healthy immune response; if iNKT cells do not function properly due to LAG-3, the immune system cannot work optimally. My project will determine if by blocking LAG-3, we will remove its exhaustive effects, allowing iNKT cells to work properly, helping to restore the immune system in HIV-infected people.
Jasmine Frost  
Home Country: Manitoba, Canada
Degree:

University of Manitoba, Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases PhD. Student

M.Sc. in Microbiology- University of Manitoba

B.Sc. in Microbiology- University of Manitoba

Supervisor:

Project Title:
Dr. Alberto Severini

Investigation of mumps outbreak trends in Canada through whole genome sequencing and testing of vaccine cross-reactivity to the current circulating mumps strain
Description of the Project: The Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine was introduced in to Canada’s vaccination program in 1983, and yet mumps has remained endemic with a recent resurgence affecting mostly young vaccinated adults. This project aims to fully investigate the mumps epidemic in Canada to provide critical information that will influence future vaccination and outbreak policy to eliminate endemic mumps from Canada. Whole genome sequencing will be used to determine virus evolution and mutation rate. This data will be paired with epidemiological data such as age, sex, and geographical location to try and identify populations who may be more at risk during a mumps outbreak. Additionally, the current vaccine (genotype A) will be tested for its efficacy to give rise to neutralizing antibodies against the current circulating mumps strain (genotype G).
Sandra Milena Gonzalez Diaz 
Home Country: Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Degree:

Universidad de Antioquia, doctoral student 1st year

Microbiologist, Universidad de Antioquia, 2010

Master in Basic and Biomedical Sciences, Universidad de Antioquia, 2015

Supervisor:

Project Title:
Maria Teresa Rugeles López

Role of Vitamin D in natural resistance to HIV-1 infection: effects on viral transmission during HIV-1 exposure
Description of the Project: Immunomodulatory molecules such as vitamin D could modulate the immune response triggered at mucosal level during the exposure to the HIV-1 reducing the viral transmission. In this regard, we propose to evaluate the functional effect of the VitD in an in vitro model of HIV-1 exposure contributing to understand the resistance phenomenon.
Kathleen Glover 
Home Country: Ghana
Degree:

University of Manitoba. PhD student, 3rd year

MPhil Microbiology- University of Ghana

B.Sc. Medical laboratory Sciences- University of Ghana

Supervisor:

Project Title:
Dr. Kevin Coombs

Comparative study of host cell proteomic changes after Zika virus infection
On Feb 1, 2016, the World Health Organization declared Zika virus a public health threat because it was spreading rapidly in the Americas and was suspected to be causing a high incidence of birth defects in infants born by infected mothers. Gaining more understanding of the host proteins that are essential during Zika virus replication will reveal potential cellular targets that will be useful in development of vaccines as well as rapid diagnostic kit. Thus, the focus of my study is to identify host proteins that are significantly dysregulated during Zika virus infection and determine their role during its replicative cycle.
Colin Graydon 
Home Country: Born in Milton (Ontario), Canada
Degree:

U of Manitoba, PhD student, 2nd year

BSc Microbiology and Immunology at UBC (British Columbia)

Supervisor:

Project Title:
Dr. Keith Fowke

Assessment of the LAG-3 Inhibitory Mechanism on T cell Activation
Description of the Project: HIV infection, like many other persistent infections, causes chronic immune activation, which can lead to a type of immune dysfunction known as functional exhaustion. Exhaustion is characterized by the impaired function of T cells, which are vital immune cells for infection control, and T cell expression of exhaustion markers, which contribute to the functional impairment of these cells. LAG-3 is one such exhaustion marker, but the mechanism it uses to impair T cell function is currently unknown. The aim of my project is to shed light this mechanism, including determining whether LAG-3 interferes with the internal signaling of the cell and/or with the cell’s ability to recognize the infection properly. This information would be crucial to understanding the effects and implications of LAG-3 in HIV and other diseases with chronic immune activation.
Breanne Head 
Home Country: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Degree:

U of Manitoba, Doctoral Student 3rd year

BSc(hons) in Microbiology, University of Manitoba

Master’s degree in Medical Microbiology, University of Manitoba

Supervisor:

Project Title:
Dr. Yoav Keynan

Legionella pneumonia in HIV-infected individuals: Understanding lung inflammation, lung dysfunction and disease
Description of the Project: Pneumonia remains the most common cause of hospital admissions each year among HIV-infected individuals with bacterial pneumonia cited as the most frequent lung infection associated with HIV. Typically, HIV-associated bacterial pneumonias are due to Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenza, Staphylococcus aureus or Mycobacterium tuberculosis. However, in many cases, the infectious culprit is not identified and patients are treated empirically. As such, alternative pneumonia-causing agents, such as Legionella spp., are estimated to be underreported and consequently have been understudied. Thus, this study aims to better understand Legionella pneumonia and how it contributes to lung inflammation, lung dysfunction and disease, with the goal of translating this knowledge to targeted therapy and improved outcomes for people living with HIV co-infections.
Mariana Herrera Díaz 
Home Country: Planeta Rica, Córdoba, Colombia
Degree:

Universidad de Antioquia, doctoral student in Epidemiology, third year

Microbiologist, Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia, 2008

Master in Basic and Biomedical Sciences, Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia, 2014

Supervisor:

Project Title:
Dr. Zulma Rueda

Cytokines / Chemokines and pro-inflammatory gene expression profiles associated with Latent Tuberculosis Infection in prisoners
Description of the Project: Diagnostic tests for Latent Tuberculosis Infection (tuberculin and IGRAs) present difficulties, so new immune substances are screened. In this regard, we propose to determine the plasma cytokines / chemokines profile and pro-inflammatory gene expression of prisoners associated with LTBI and compare it with people with active TB, and people exposed to M. tuberculosis without infection. Detecting differences in the expression of recent converters in the tuberculin test could help to discover an immune signal used as a potential diagnostic biomarker, a protective factor or an indicator of progression to M. tuberculosis infection.
 
Meshack Juma
Home Country: Homa Bay County of Kenya
Degree:

University of Nairobi, Doctoral student

Bsc. Medical Microbiology from JomoKenyatta University and Msc. Medical Microbiology from University of Nairobi (UoN)

Supervisor:

Project Title:
Professor Omu Anzala

Antimicroial susceptibility testing and molecular characterization of Neisseria gonorrheae isolates from patients with genital discharge in Nairobi, Kenya
Description of the Project: The emergence of multidrug resistant gonococcal infection is one of the most important public health problems today. Gonococcal infections have serious effects on reproductive, maternal and neonatal health. Effective antimicrobial therapy forms an essential component in the management of gonococcal infection. However, over recent years, the gonococcus has rapidly acquired resistance to commonly used antibiotics and very few treatment options remain; hence, regular monitoring of antimicrobial resistance is very important. In many East Africa settings syndromic treatment of N. gonorrhoeae has been used in disease management, this raising great concern for the antimicrobial pattern of the bacteria is not properly documented. This study will make contributions to the global goals and address Antimicrobial resistance, which is a threat to the treatment of gonorrhea. .
 
Alvin Kinji Mwabu
Home Country: Meru County, Kenya
Degree:

University of Nairobi, doctoral student 3 years

Msc Medical Microbiology, ITROMID-Kemri campus, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).

Bsc Medical Laboratory Sciences (Bsc MLS), Institute of tropical and Infectious Diseases (ITROMID), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT)

Supervisor:

Project Title:
Prof. Walter Jaoko, Dr. Ndemi John Kiiru, Dr. Christine Bii

Drug resistance and molecular characterization of Staphylococci species: An investigation of causes of cough in Ex—TB and smear negative patients in high TB prevalence counties: the case of Kenya.
Description of the Project: Pulmonary and respiratory diseases are highly prevalent globally. They are the fourth leading cause of morbidity and mortality in humans. Majority of these diseases are of viral etiology but co-infection with secondary bacterial pathogens is on the rise. Staphylococcus species constitute a large family of respiratory tract normal flora. Colonization of this anatomical site is a prerequisite for subsequent acute Staphylococcal respiratory diseases. Moreover, Staphylococcal MDR including CA-MRSA and HA-MRSA is of profound clinical significance. Staphylococcal respiratory diseases coupled with MDR is a serious threat to global health and the fight against respiratory diseases. In this study, I envisage to explore the role of Staph. Species in Ex-TB cases, determine their Antimicrobial susceptibility, examine the resistance genetic relatedness and determine the level/degree of vancomycin resistance as the best alternative regimen for Staphylococcal Multi Drug Resistance .
Monika Marie Kowatsch
Home Country: Winnipeg Manitoba
Degree:

University of Manitoba, Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, doctoral student 3 year

Bachelor of Science from the University of Manitoba in the Department of Microbiology with minors in Biology, Chemistry and German.

Supervisor:

Dr. Keith Fowke

Project Title:

The effect of immune status on HIV risk and disease progression: immune quiescence and immune activation the teetertotter effect of the immune response and HIV.

Description of the Project: Despite advances in treatment and prevention options HIV infection rates remain high with 1.8 million new infections occurring yearly. Immune activation, or inflammation, is a known risk factor for HIV, conversely, decreased baseline inflammation or Immune Quiescence (IQ) has been associated with decreased risk of HIV seroconversion. My research project will focus on both sides of the inflammation vs immune quiescence question; (1) in collaboration with Sunshine House (a community-based organization in Winnipeg Manitoba) we will determine the effect of long-term solvent use on inflammation and HIV risk, and (2) with our community partners in Nairobi Kenya we will assess the ability of anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aspirin to induce an immune quiescence state and potentially protect from HIV infection. These findings will help determine the role of solvent use in HIV risk and assess the feasibility of implementations of preventing inflammation to prevent infection.
Maureen Kugo Chepchirchir
Home Country: University of Nairobi, Doctoral student
Degree:

U of Manitoba Doctoral Student 3rd year

Supervisor:

Dr. Terry Blake Ball

Project Title:

Differentiating Toll-Like Receptor (TLR) 7 and TLR8 responses in lymphocyte population contained in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and their effect on HIV replication invitro.

Description of the Project: In 2014 about 36.9 million people were living with HIV/AIDS worldwide and there were approximately 2.0 million new HIV infections. The design of a vaccine that can prevent HIV infection remains a global priority. Susceptibility to HIV has been shown to depend on the inflammation level and availability of target cells mainly CD4+ T cells that express CCR5 and a4ß7 genital mucosa while in human peripheral blood, CD4+ T cells expressing CCR6+ are most permissive to HIV infection. However, the mechanism leading to immune activation in HIV infections remain poorly understood. This study aims to assess the effect of toll like receptor 7 and 8 stimulation of innate T lymphocytes, on immune activation and HIV infection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).
Zipporah Machuki
Home Country: Kenya
Degree:

U of Manitoba Doctoral Student 3rd year

Supervisor:

Dr. Terry Blake Ball

Project Title:

Differentiating Toll-Like Receptor (TLR) 7 and TLR8 responses in lymphocyte population contained in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and their effect on HIV replication invitro.

Description of the Project: In 2014 about 36.9 million people were living with HIV/AIDS worldwide and there were approximately 2.0 million new HIV infections. The design of a vaccine that can prevent HIV infection remains a global priority. Susceptibility to HIV has been shown to depend on the inflammation level and availability of target cells mainly CD4+ T cells that express CCR5 and a4ß7 genital mucosa while in human peripheral blood, CD4+ T cells expressing CCR6+ are most permissive to HIV infection. However, the mechanism leading to immune activation in HIV infections remain poorly understood. This study aims to assess the effect of toll like receptor 7 and 8 stimulation of innate T lymphocytes, on immune activation and HIV infection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).
Jehidys Montiel Ramos
Home Country: Colombia
Degree:

University of Antioquia, first year student of the Doctoral in Epidemiology

MSc. Biomedical Basics Sciences, University of Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia

B.A. Microbiologist, School of Microbiology, University of Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia

Supervisor:

Dr. Alberto Tobón Castaño

Project Title:

Prevalence and risk factors of asymptomatic Plasmodium spp. infections in two different endemic malaria regions in Antioquia, (Colombia), 2017

Description of the Project: Malaria is a global public health problem. One of the main challenges for successful control programs is the detection of asymptomatic infections, which represent silent reservoirs of the parasite. For the other hand, these kind infections increase the risk of developing chronic anemia and have been associated with increased inflammation and chronic endothelial activation, whose long-term consequences are unknown. Given the importance of asymptomatic infections in maintaining transmission of the parasite, potential adverse effects on carriers, the lack of knowledge about the epidemiology, individual factors, and socioeconomic context associated with asymptomatic infections in Colombia and particularly in the department of Antioquia, the findings of this study provide useful information for the design and implementation of control measures according to the profiles of each endemic area.
Johanna M. Vanegas M
Home Country: Medellín, Colombia
Degree:

University of Antioquia, doctoral student 4 year, Epidemiology

Microbiologist, master in Microbiology. University of Antioquia

Supervisor:

Judy Natalia Jiménez Quiceno, MSc, PhD

Project Title:

Colonization and development of infections due to multidrug- resistant bacteria in a cohort of patients in hemodialysis

Description of the Project: Multidrug-resistant bacteria have emerged as important causes of healthcare-associated infections. Hemodialysis patients are a group particularly affected by these microorganisms, with colonization and infection rates often exceeding those seen in persons with other types of healthcare exposure. My thesis aims to analyze the effect of colonization by multidrug-resistant bacteria (S. aureus and betalactamase-producing Gram-negative bacteria) in the development of bacteremia in hemodialysis patients.
Florence Mutua
Home Country: Kenya
Degree:

University of Manitoba, Doctoral student 2nd year

MSc in Medical Microbiology, University of Nairobi

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB), University of Nairobi

Supervisor:

Dr. Blake Ball

Project Title:

The effect of concurrent HIV infection on interferon signaling and transcript signatures in tuberculosis

Description of the Project: Tuberculosis is currently ranked alongside HIV as a leading cause of death by a single infectious agent. TB presents as a spectrum with latent TB at one end and active TB at the other; HIV being a potent factor in reactivation of LTBI to active TB. Interferons have multiple roles in infectious diseases including antiviral and immunomodulation roles. In Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection type II interferons play a protective role while that of type I IFNs remains incompletely understood. This study therefore aims to assess interferon signaling in TB, the effect concurrent HIV infection has on this signaling and associate these with cytokine responses to define a potential prediction factor for disease progression.
Lucy Wangari Mwangi
Home Country: Nairobi, Kenya
Degree:

University of Nairobi; PhD. Student

MSc. Tropical and Infectious Diseases, University of Nairobi Kenya

BSc. Medical Laboratory Science, Kenyatta University Kenya

Supervisor:

Dr. Keith Fowke and Dr. Julius Oyugi, PhD

Project Title:

Limiting HIV Target Cells in the Female Genital Tract by Inducing Immune Quiescence

Description of the Project: HIV/AIDS is still a big global challenge, disproportionately affecting Sub-Saharan Africa and especially women. Increased immune activation is a risk factor for HIV-1 infection; with abundant production of pro-inflammatory cytokines promoting viral replication in infected cells. We have also learnt that a higher risk of sero-conversion is associated with increased immune activation prior to HIV exposure. However, Highly Exposed Seronegative (HESN) individuals are seen to have a unique immune quiescence (IQ) phenotype and despite HIV exposure remain uninfected; they show a lower base level immune activation than other people and few HIV target cells in the female genital tract. This study aims to answer the question of whether anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin and hydroxychloroquine, can decrease T cell immune activation among a HIV negative population thereby induce this IQ phenotype; with the goal to develop a new avenue to prevent HIV infection.
Dr Lilian N Njagi
Home Country: Kenya
Degree:

U of Nairobi, doctoral student 1st year

Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (DTM&H), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) with Makerere University and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical School

Master of Science in Tropical and Infectious Diseases (MSc TID), University of Nairobi

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB), University of Nairobi

Supervisor:

Dr. Julius Oyugi, PhD

Project Title:

Isoniazid for latent TB infection in people living with HIV: Novel strategies for treatment monitoring.

Description of the Project: Tuberculosis (TB) is still a major public health challenge of global interest. Latent TB infection (LTBI) is the greatest contributor to active TB. Achieving control of TB must therefore entail innovation in LTBI management. We aim to validate novel methods of LTBI treatment monitoring amongst PLHIV, specifically therapeutic drug monitoring of isoniazid (INH) using hair samples, and response monitoring using change in interferon gamma secretion in response to peptides encoded by genes upregulated during the LTBI phase.
Andrew Plesniarski
Home Country: Winnipeg. Manitoba, Canada
Degree:

University of Manitoba, PhD 2nd year

BSc Honours in Biochemistry from the University of Winnipeg in 2015

Transitioned from Masters in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases to PhD at the University of Manitoba in 2017.

Supervisor:

Dr. Ruey-Chyi Su and Dr. T. Blake Ball

Project Title:

The effect of oxytocin on the inflammatory profile of epithelial cells from the female genital tract and HIV susceptibility.

Description of the Project: Oxytocin is a neuropeptide hormone produced during both labour and sex that has been shown to reduce inflammation in epithelia from both the gut and the skin. Inflammation has been implicated as a key driver of susceptibility to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, particularly during sexual transmission. This study seeks to characterize the effect that oxytocin has on epithelia from the female genital tract (FGT), as well as its impact on susceptibility to infection with HIV in both ex vivo peripheral blood mononucleocyte (PBMC) and in vivo humanized mouse models. To test this hypothesis epithelial cells from the FGT will be challenged with Poly(I:C)/LyoVec in the presence or absence of oxytocin, and R5- and X4-tropic HIV strains will be used to infect PBMCs and humanized mice through spinoculation and intravaginal challenge, respectively, in the presence or absence of oxytocin. The expected results from this study are that oxytocin will reduce inflammation in epithelial cells from the FGT, and reduce susceptibility to infection with HIV in both the ex vivo and in vivo infection models.
Kenneth Omollo
Home Country: Kenya
Degree:

University of Nairobi, Doctoral Student

Msc. Medical Microbiology, University of Nairobi

Bsc. Biomedical Technology, University of Nairobi

Supervisor:
Dr. Julius Oyugi, Dr. Keith Fowke
Project Title:
The impact of hormonal contraception on the susceptibility to HIV infection among women from Nairobi, Kenya
Description of the Project: Endogenous sex hormones, estradiol and progesterone, are known to regulate the mucosal immune system in the female genital tract throughout the menstrual cycle. These hormones play a role in mucosal defense and susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections such as HIV. There is scientific debate that use of the progesterone-based contraceptive Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (DMPA) may increase the risk of HIV acquisition in women. However, the biological mechanisms that underlie these observations are yet to be fully elucidated. My study is exploring the impact of exogenous sex hormones on the activation of T cells and innate cytokines in the blood and female genital tract as a possible mechanism by which contraceptives may increase one’s risk of HIV infection.
Ana Ossa
Home Country: Colombia
Degree:

University of Antioquia, doctoral student in biomedical basics sciences with emphasis in immunology

Specializing in Clinical Microbiology, Institución Universitaria Colegio Mayor de Antioquia, Colombia

Microbiologist, University of Antioquia, Colombia

Supervisor:
Dr. Wildeman Zapata Builes
Project Title:
Immunogenetic factors limiting HIV-1 transmission in men who have sex with men from Medellín, Colombia
Description of the Project: The prevalence of HIV infection in Colombia is about 0.53%; even though HIV-1 could affect to everybody, there are populations with high risk of infection, such as men who have sex with men (MSM), who are more severely affected by HIV than any other group; this situation shows the need to develop new approaches to fight against HIV in this population. However, there are MSM and other people who remain uninfected despite their exposure to the virus, called HIV-1-exposed seronegative individuals (HESN) who make evident the existence of natural resistance mechanisms against HIV infection. Therefore, with this project we want to determine the immunogenetic factors limiting HIV-1 transmission in MSM from Medellín-Colombia to contribute with the understanding of the HIV-1 pathogenesis and it might lead to the development of new therapeutic strategies for this elusive disease.
Erika Andrea Rodriguez
Home Country: Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia
Degree:

University of Antioquia, doctoral student in Biology 3rd year

Microbiologist, Universidad de Antioquia, 2009

Master in Biology, Universidad de Antioquia, 2014

Supervisor:
Judy Natalia Jiménez Quiceno, MSc, PhD
Project Title:
Study of bacterial communities and antibiotic resistance genes in a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Medellin, Colombia
Description of the Project: The wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) are considered one reservoir of antimicrobial resistance. Colombia is regarded as an endemic region for some mechanisms of resistance, and this problem has been evidence in Colombian's hospitals. However, there is a limitation in current knowledge about bacteria resistance in the environment and the community. This study aims to determine the behavior of bacterial resistance to antibiotics of clinical importance in a WWTP in Medellin, Colombia.
Juan Aicardo Segura Caro
Home Country: Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Degree:

Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, Doctoral student, 4th year

MSc.Biotechnology, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Animal Scientist, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Supervisor:
Dra. Lina Andrea Gutiérrez Builes
Project Title:
Diversity of the family Ixodidae ticks in two livestock subregions of Antioquia: Natural infection, Integrative Taxonomy and analysis of intestinal microbiota and salivary glands
Description of the Project: Tick-borne diseases are a public health problem in the world. The aims of the project: Identify tick species of the family Ixodidae in two livestock areas of Antioquia, Colombia, South America. Detect the presence of zoonotic microorganisms of the genera Anaplasma, Babesia, Borrelia, Coxiella, Ehrlichia and Rickettsia. And the description of the bacterial communities in salivary glands and intestine with the analysis of deep diversity. This information will allow us to understand their vectorial capacity, the associated microorganisms, their interactions and the presence of pathogens of zoonotic importance. Information that is key in the implementation of prevention, surveillance and control programs to benefit to human and animal health.
Dr. Manoj Kumar Pati
Home Country: India
Degree:

University of Antwerp, Belgium Doctoral Student, 1st Year (Admission in Process)

Resident Fellowship in International Health Programme, Department of Health Policy, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium

Masters of Public Health in Health Systems Management, SRM University, Chennai, India; Bachelor of Homeopathy Medicine and Surgery, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, India; Bachelor of Science, Zoology Major, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, India

Supervisor:
Dr. Krishnamurthy Jayanna, Dr. Prashanth N, Dr. Edwin Wouters
Project Title:
How to redesign primary healthcare for improving continuum of care for select noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in urban India? A realist evaluation approach
Description of the Project: I am trying to understand how and under what conditions a set of interventions aimed for improving continuum of care at an urban primary health centre would bring improvement (or not) in prevention, management and quality of care for select NCDs (diabetes and hypertension) in Mysuru city, India. Keeping the WHO Innovative Care for Chronic Conditions (WHO ICCC) framework as an initial theoretical framework, organisation of NCD care in urban primary health centres (UPHCs) will be studied in Mysuru city. Given the context, a realist evaluation will be undertaken to understand the mechanisms in which designed interventions would work or not. I will also take this opportunity to examine conditions necessary for UPHCs to implement WHO Package of Essential Interventions for NCDs at primary care in LMICs (WHO PEN) with regards to diabetes and hypertension.
Robert Rutayisire
Home Country: Born in Rwanda
Degree:

University of NAIROBI, Doctoral student.

BSc in Biomedical Laboratory Sciences

, MMLS in Clinical chemistry

Supervisor:
Dr. Julius Oyugi
Project Title:
Altered cardiovascular risk factors: the association with HIV infection and ART drugs
Description of the Project: In sub-Saharan Africa, the epidemiological transition toward emerging NCDs linked with lifestyle risk factors raises major concerns to developing countries that need to find the right balance in resource allocation to health programs. This study will explore the impact of antiretroviral therapy on biomarkers of cardiovascular diseases and identify factors associated with these increasing risk profiles, particularly concerning the type and duration of (ART).
Abu Bakar Siddik
Home Country: Bangladesh
Degree:

University of Manitoba, PhD student

B. Sc and Master’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. I have also completed my second Master’s degree from the University of Skovde, Sweden.

Supervisor:
Dr. Ruey Su and Dr. Blake Ball
Project Title:
Impact of Fatty acids in regulating inflammation at the vaginal mucosa by sensitizing cervico-vaginal epithelial cells
Description of the Project: Epithelial cell layers at the vaginal mucosa need to show tolerance response against commensal microbiome to maintain the symbiosis relation. Different factors presence at the vaginal mucosa such as, metabolites, microbiome, hormones, mucus, cytokines/chemokines etc. always influence host epithelial cells. Among all of these factors, the role of SCFAs and long chain fatty acid in shaping the microenvironment of vaginal mucosa has less studied. So the overall goal of my project is to identify how fatty acids at the vaginal mucosa are involved in the cross-talk between microbes and host cells to maintain the symbiosis relation.
Jenniffer Puerta Suárez
Home Country: Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Degree:

Universidad de Antioquia, doctoral student 2nd year

Microbiologist, Universidad de Antioquia, 2013

Master in biology, Universidad de Antioquia, 2016

Supervisor:
Dr. Walter Darío Cardona Maya
Project Title:
Prevalence of prostatitis symptoms in Antioquia, Colombia: description of factors associated with an enigmatic disease
Description of the Project: Prostatitis affects one third of men in reproductive age, their main cause being bacterial infections. For its treatment, broad-spectrum antibiotics are used, this therapy generally fails and promotes the spread of multiresistant microorganisms. In addition, it has been postulated that chronic infections of the prostate may favor the onset of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer. Our objective is to determine the prevalence and describe the factors associated with the onset of prostatitis symptoms in men of the Antioquia, Colombia.
 
Mallika Tharakan
Home Country: Mysore, Karnataka, India
Degree:

Kuvempu University, Karnataka, India, PhD Student

Bachelor’s Degree, Mass Communication, Mount Carmel College, Bangalore, India

Post Graduate Diploma, Human Resource Management, St. Joseph’s College of Business Administration, Bangalore, India

Master’s Degree, Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, India

Supervisor:
Dr. Shajy Isac
Project Title:
Changing engagement of women in agriculture and its association with consumption patterns and nutrient intake in rural Karnataka
Description of The Project: For an estimated 72% of the 1.1 billion people who live in rural India, agriculture is a way of life. Agriculture in India defines familial tradition, social relations and gender roles. Female in the agricultural sector, whether through traditional means or industrial, for subsistence or as an agricultural labourer, represents a momentous demographic group. In rural India, the percentage of women who depend on agriculture for their livelihood is as high as 84%. With globalization and liberalization, the agricultural economy has experienced shifts and changes and so has the nature of involvement of women in agriculture. Modernization and mechanization has brought many paradoxical situations for the poor household women. Though there have been several studies to understand the changing patterns of the agrarian economy and women’s participation in agriculture, studies have not been really undertaken to explore the link between women’s participation and their nutrient intake. My research is aimed at understanding the current pattern of women’s engagement in agricultural sector in rural India; examining the changing patterns in the engagement of women over a period of time; and exploring how shifts in engagement patterns has influenced or resulted in changes in consumption models and nutrient uptake among these women.
 
Thérèse Umuhoza
Home Country: Rwanda
Degree:

PhD tropical and infectious diseases program

Bachelor’s Degree, Mass Communication, Mount Carmel College, Bangalore, India

Supervisor:
Prof. Bulimo Wallace and Dr. Oyugi Julius
Project Title:
A retrospective investigation of acute viral respiratory infections, epidemiology, clinical characteristics and associated factors in Kenya (2007-2012)
Description of The Project: Acute respiratory infections of viral origin are recognized the top leading cause of morbidity and mortality in young children, mostly in developing countries. Recent studies indicated that other age groups are affected as well. My project focus on understanding the epidemiology of infections caused by respiratory viruses named respiratory syncytial virus, human parainfluenza and adenoviruses in a Kenyan population.
 
Gloria Vázquez Grande
Home Country: Spain
Degree:

University of Manitoba, PhD student 5years

MD, specialty - Critical Care; MSc in the department of Medicine at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Supervisor:
Dr. Kumar
Project Title:
Effect of antibiotic sequence on bacterial clearance in a rat model of peritonitis-induced septic shock
Description of The Project: Using a rat model of septic shock, I want to find out whether the sequence in which we give antibiotics in combination can affect efficacy (bacterial kill). I am using a synergistic combination of antibiotics, where one of them has a post antibiotic effect - stops bacteria from reproducing for a certain period of time after it’s given - and the other agent only works while the bacteria are duplicating. If we find out that there is better bacterial kill with a certain sequence, we can probably optimize the treatment of septic shock with a simple intervention.

Canadian Institute of Health Research
Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Canadian Institute of Health Research
Canadian Institute of Health Research
Canadian Institute of Health Research
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