Prof. Julie Makani (Principal Investigator)
Julie Makani is Associate Professor in the Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), the main clinical, academic and research centre in Tanzania. Tanzania has recognised sickle cell disease (SCD), as a major public health problem and it has been included as a priority condition in the national strategy for Non-Communicable Diseases in the Ministry of Health.
With global partnerships, Muhimbili has developed a systematic framework for comprehensive research that is integrated into healthcare, advocacy and education. With prospective surveillance (2004 – 2016) of over 5,000 SCD patients; this is one of the largest single-center, SCD research programs in the world. Scientific themes include clinical and biomedical research (including genomics) and public health [including ethics, social/behavioral science, population health and health policy]. The aim is to use SCD as a model to establish scientific and healthcare solutions in Africa that are locally relevant and globally significant.
Julie trained in Medicine (Tanzania) and Internal Medicine (UK), and completed her PhD in clinical epidemiology of SCD. She is a consultant physician at the MUHAS University Hospital, MAMC. She was a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow [Training (2003 – 2009) and Intermediate (2012 - 2017)] and Tutu Leadership Fellow (2009). She received the 2011 Royal Society Pfizer Award for her work in using anaemia in SCD as a model of translating genetic research into health benefit. She is a Fellow of Royal College of Physicians of United Kingdom and Tanzania Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Furahini Tluway (Project Manager)Dr. Tluway is Medical Doctor with 19 years of work experience. She holds a medical degree (MD) and Master of Public Health (MPH) from Muhimbili University College of Allied Sciences (MUHAS), (1996 and 2014 respectfully). She has previously worked as a medical doctor in Tanzania and Zimbabwe in different capacities and at different hospitals/health facilities. Furahini joined Muhimbili Wellcome Programe (MWP) - now Sickle Cell Program (MHP) in August 2014. Currently working for Sickle Cell Programme MUHAS as Programme Coordinator. She also coordinates SPARCO activities at the Consortium level and SickleGenAfrica (Tanzania site).
Prof. Solomon Ofori-Acquah (Advisor)Dr. Ofori-Acquah is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics at the Universityof Pittsburgh. He is Director of the Center for Translational and International Hematology at the University’s Vascular Medicine Institute. He is Director and Project Leader of a number of NIH and Wellcome Trust research and training programs. His research is focused on the role and mechanism of extracellular heme in the pathobiology of sickle cell disease (SCD). He has developed a mouse model of acute chest syndrome that recapitulates the clinical, biological and pathological features of the condition in humans. His group is using this model to unravel the mechanism of lung injury in acute chest syndrome, and to test candidate drugs for their potential to prevent and treat this lung condition. He developed the concept of extracellular heme crisis in SCD, and defined free heme as a prototypical erythroid danger associated molecular pattern molecule that drives sterile inflammation in this disorder in the absence of infection. His research on chronic effects of heme is focused on the role and mechanism of the Nrf2 pathway in end-organ damage. His global health activities include co-directing a longitudinal observational study of biomarkers of organ damage in a large SCD cohort in Kumasi, Ghana, and as Director of the graduate course in Molecular Mechanisms of Human Genetic Diseases in the University of Ghana’s Wellcome Trust funded DELTAS Africa program.
Dr. Raphael Sangeda (Data Manager)Dr. Sangeda is a lecturer and Head of the Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology at the MUHAS node. Raphael graduated with a B. Pharm from Dr MGR Medical University, Chennai, India in 1998. In 2005, he obtained his MSc in Medical Microbiology at Jomo Kenyata University of Agriculture and Technology. In 2005 he joined Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, now KU Leuven, in Belgium where he graduated in M. Pharm (2006), MSc. Bioinformatics (2008) and PhD (2013) on the use of Bioinformatics approaches to predict HIV drug resistance. His interest at MWP includes the use of Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) in investigating the ‘Genetic epidemiology of Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Hepatitis B virus and Hepatitis C virus infections in individuals with Sickle Cell Disease.
Ms. Nkwaya E Kipilyango (Finance and Admin Officer)Ms. Kipilyango has Accounting, Finance and Administration experience in Projects and Financial Institutions. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Bookkeeping (Accounting) from University of Dar es Salaam (2007), Graduate CPA (T) 2015 and is finalizing her Masters Degree in Business Administration (Corporate Management). Over the past 10 years she has worked as a Finance Officer, Financial Accountant, Senior Finance and Administration Officer and Finance Manager. Currently she is the Senior Finance and Administration Officer at the Sickle Cell Programme, MUHAS.
Mr. Bakari Mbaga (Admin Assistant)Mr. Mbaga holds a Bachelor of Public Administration (BPA) from Mzumbe University, Tanzania. He is hoping to study for a Masters degree in Human Resource Management (MSc HRM) in the next year in order to further develop his knowledge in administration and management. He has over two years' experience in administrative activities working with various research projects within Muhimbili Wellcome Programme now Sickle Cell Programme since August 2015 and is currently working with the Sickle Cell Programme as an Administrative Officer and Assistant to the Principal Investigator, Professor Makani.
Mr. Frank Makundi (IT specialist)Mr. Makundi is an ICT Specialist with the Sub Saharan Sickle Cell Disease Programme–MUHAS. He has been with the Sickle Cell Programme since 2013, and is currently based in the SPARCO office in Tanzania. He graduated in 2006 with Advanced Diploma in Information Technology from Institute of Finance Management. He works on several areas of ICT these include networking, systems administration particularly extending the reach of information and communications infrastructure to research. He has 10 years ICT and management experience from working at SATCOM Africa, Barclays Bank Tanzania, The Muhimbili-Wellcome Programme (Now Sickle Cell Programme) and MUHAS – New Born Screening Programme.
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