SANTHE Kigali 2018

Monday, 1 October, 2018

SANTHE enjoyed its third consecutive, highly successful, Annual Consortium Meeting at the Kigali Marriott Hotel in Rwanda from the 26th to the 27th of September this year. Over 130 guests from collaborating sites worldwide attended the two-day meeting to participate in a scientific and social programme which included project updates, student oral and poster presentations, interactive sessions, an unforgettable networking opportunity in the form of a gala dinner under the stars, and keynote speaker, Faith Osier, Group Leader/Principal Investigator, Heidelberg University Hospital/Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP), delivering a sensational talk on “Secrets to success in science.” “A critical component of research strengthening, and research impact is to use a people-centred approach,” she said. “Researchers must work with the stakeholders (people and communities) affected by their research from the onset, co-creating scientific projects based on their feedback and insights.”

Adding further value to the meeting, a pre- and post-meeting “Introduction to biostatistical methods with applications to HIV and TB” workshop was held on the 25th and 28th to 30th of September for a group of 40 SANTHE trainees and supervisors.

In addition, several awards were announced:

Amin Hassan, KWTRP.Jaclyn Mann, HPP, UKZN.Sheila Balinda, IAVI-VISTA.
  • Three new Path to Independence grants of $100,000USD each were awarded to; Amin Hassan, a recently graduated SANTHE Post-doctoral trainee from KWTRP in Kilifi, Kenya, Jaclyn Mann, SANTHE Researcher/Supervisor based at the HIV Pathogenesis Programme (HPP) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in Durban, South Africa, and Sheila Balinda, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative – Vaccine Immunology Science and Technology for Africa (IAVI-VISTA) Post-Doctoral Fellow, Nairobi, Kenya.
Funsho Ogunshola, AHRI.
  • “Best Publication 2018” was awarded to Funsho Ogunshola, SANTHE PhD trainee based at the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) in Durban, South Africa, for his publication in “Nature” entitled “Dual HLA B*42:01 and B*81:01-reactive T-cell receptor clonotypes can recognise HIV-1 Gag escape variants.”
Doty Achieng, HPP, UKZN.Leabaneng Tawe, BHP.
  • “Trainee of the Year 2018” was a tie - awarded for the second consecutive year to Doty Achieng, SANTHE PhD trainee, based at HPP, UKZN, and for the first time to Leabaneng Tawe, SANTHE Masters trainee, based at the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP) in Gaborone.
Kaelo Seatla, BHP.Fredrick Omondi, SFU.
  • “Best Oral Presentation 2018” was a tie awarded to Kaelo Seatla, SANTHE PhD trainee, based at BHP, and Fredrick Omondi, Queen Elizabeth II African Commonwealth Scholarship Recipient and SANTHE Masters trainee, based at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Vancouver, Canada.
Ian Oyaro, KWTRP.Jeannine Mukamuyango, RZHRG.Lerato Ndlovu, AHRI.
  • “Best Poster Presentation 2018” was a three-way tie between Ian Oyaro, SANTHE PhD trainee, based at KWTRP, Jeannine Mukamuyango, SANTHE PhD trainee, based at the Rwanda Zambia HIV Research Group (RZHRG) in Kigali, Rwanda, and Lerato Ndlovu, SANTHE PhD trainee, based at AHRI.
Tawanda Mandizvo, AHRI.
  • “Best Abstract 2018”, entitled, “Characterisation of HIV-1 Env clones derived from lymph nodes of individuals on antiretroviral therapy,” was awarded to Tawanda Mandizvo, SANTHE PhD trainee, based at AHRI.