Prof. Ambroise Wonkam (Principal Investigator and SADaCC Director)
Prof. Wonkam is a specialist medical geneticist, in the Division of Human Genetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa. After a MD training from the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I (Cameroon), he completed a thesis in Cell Biology in the department of Morphology, University of Geneva (Switzerland) and a PhD in Human Genetics (University of Cape Town, South Africa). Other salient aspects of Prof Wonkam's background include his education as a medical geneticist at a highly reputable genetics department in Geneva (Switzerland). He subsequently practices medical genetics in both European and African contexts. His research interests are reflected in more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, which are in molecular, clinical, educational and ethical aspects of medical and human genetics. His research focuses on: 1) Psychosocial Burden and Genomics modifiers of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD); 2) Genetics of hearing loss, and 3) Ethical and educational Issues in human genetics in Africa. His is member of the steering committee of H3Africa consortium, leading specifically the NIH/NHGRI funded SCD project. He has recently been granted from NIH/NHLBI 3.7m USD, to establish a Sickle Africa Data Coordinating Centre (SADaCC), at the University of Cape Town that will work collaboratively with a sister consortium (Sickle Pan African Network, SPARCo) to develop various studies in Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana. He was awarded the 2003 Denber-Pinard Prize for the best thesis from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, and won the very competitive Clinical Genetics Society International Award for 2014, from the British Society of Genetic Medicine. Prof Wonkam is secretary of the African Society of Human Genetics, Board member of the International Federation of Human Genetics Societies, council member of Human Genome Organization, steering committee's member of the Global Genetic Medicine Collaborative (G2MC).
Prof. Nicola Mulder (Co-Investigator)
Prof. Mulder heads the Computational Biology Division (CBIO) at UCT. She graduated with a BSc degree (cum laude) in Chemistry and Microbiology, and a first class Honours degree in Microbiology, followed by a PhD in Medical Microbiology. She then spent over 8 years at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) in Cambridge, moving into the area of bioinformatics. At the EBI she was a Team Leader, responsible for the development of InterPro and the Gene Ontology Annotation Project. InterPro was one of the most heavily used Bioinformatics resources at the Institute. At UCT, Prof Mulder works in the area of bioinformatics of infectious diseases, including pathogen and host genomics and biological networks, human variation and disease association studies. She heads the CBIO group, which consists of over 30 staff and students. The group provides bioinformatics support and training for postgraduate students and local researchers, and Prof Mulder convenes an Honours programme in Bioinformatics, and organises a South African national bioinformatics training course for postgraduate students. Internationally, Prof Mulder is involved in capacity development in Africa, as leader of a large NIH-funded consortium, H3ABioNet, to build a Pan-African Bioinformatics network for H3Africa. Prof Mulder is also a member of the ELIXIR Scientific Advisory Board, which forms part of a major EU funded European initiative involving all the bioinformatics stakeholders in Europe and many others world-wide, and a founding member of the Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education & Training (GOBLET). She is on the executive committee of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, as well as a number of review and advisory boards.
Dr. Victoria Nembaware (Project Manager)Dr. Nembaware was officially appointed as the Project Manager for SADaCC in November 2017 and is the outgoing H3Africa training coordinator. She earned her first degree in Chemistry and Microbiology from the University of Cape Town and then graduated Cum Laude for her Hons and MSc degrees from the University of Western Cape (South African Bioinformatics Institute). Vicky was awarded a PhD in Bioinformatics in 2008 from the University of Cape Town. In addition to her didactic training in Bioinformatics and Monitoring and Evaluation, Vicky has research experience in Bioinformatics and in the Public Health field. She also has experience in designing, monitoring and evaluation of projects in the Information Communication Technology field (particularly in mHealth). Vicky has conducted numerous mHealth projects which include a public participatory project in the development of the South African National Strategic Plan on AIDS, TB and HIV (2012-2015). To this end, I developing a mobile phone app in collaboration with members of the H3Africa consortium which is aimed primarily to train researchers how to engage and educate the general public on heredity and health in Africa. I am passionate about evidence based training and mentoring of the next generation of African health researchers.
Ms. Gabby Emjedi (Administrator)
Miss Emjedi is completing her degree in Bachelors Administration with her final financial accounting exam taking place in October 2017. She has broad financial industry background and joined UCT in August 2016. Gabby joined the SADaCC team as the Administrator in September 2017.
Mr. Mario Jonas (Bioinformatician)Mr. Jonas started his undergraduate studies in the exact sciences but ended up with an Honors in Biochemistry. His education came full circle when he finished a Masters in Bioinformatics at SANBI, UWC. The multi-disciplinary nature of Bioinformatics has allowed him to address problems and find solutions of very disparate natures. He is passionate about capacity building and hopes to play my part in addressing this challenge. He joined SADaCC at the start of October 2017.
Prof. Delva Shamley (Consultant)Dr Shamley has worked in academia for 26 years, 13 of which were spent in Oxford, UK. Dr Shamley works in proteomics and genomics of latent effects of adjuvant therapy in breast cancer. In this field her work covers laboratory based research and translation into practice. She has experience and knowledge of many research designs and has run departments and centres for research in the UK and SA. She is currently Director of the Clinical Research Centre at UCT. Clinical Research at UCT is supported by the Clinical Research Centre (CRC) which aims to promote and enhance research capacity locally and across sub-Saharan Africa. This is achieved by a comprehensive team of highly skilled research staff, a research facility consisting of out-patient consulting rooms, 2 research pharmacists and two processing laboratories. Additionally, we have a 24-bed Phase I ward which has met all international standards. The centre runs a full quality management system according to regulatory and ethical requirements and including GCP, GCLP, ISO9001 and ISO14155. Together with centres for drug and medical device development at the University of Cape Town, the CRC provides a seamless process from development to clinical testing and as such acts as an excellent conduit for linking many researchers with industry and other partners. The CRC is unique in South Africa and we are in discussion with other universities to provide training and support for establishing similar centres across the country and indeed in sub-Saharan Africa. In this capacity we support groups in several countries including, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Kenya. In addition, we have hosted teams from, and are in early discussions with, the Cameroon Academy of Sciences and the International Centre of Excellence in Research ICER-Mali. Our role in developing sustainable research capacity is to assist with the establishment of Clinical Trials Units and to provide ongoing training and mentoring of the teams. Hosting the African Global Health Trials Network office within the CRC enhances our ability to achieve this goal. Central to any support we provide is raising awareness of the EDCTP Networks of Excellence, the African Institute of Bioscience and Technology (AiBST), and other relevant centres of excellence in Africa. Dr Shamley brings knowledge of research design, management, governance and ethical oversight.
Dr. Emile Chimusa (Bioinformatics Consultant)
Dr. Chimusa is a statistical geneticist, his expertise is in population structure and genome wide patterns of variation within and between species to address fundamental questions in biology, anthropology, and medicine. He holds a Ph.D. in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, and has extensive experience in designing and applying statistical methods to large genomics data sets in computational biology and statistical genetics. He became a faculty member at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2014, and He currently holds a senior lectureship position at the Division of Human Genetics, Department of Pathology, UCT. Dr. Chimusa had led several projects including (1) a post GWAS method, ancGWAS, an algebraic graph-based approach to deconvolute the interactions between genes and identify significant disease sub-networks underlying the pathogenesis of complex diseases (Chimusa et al., 2016 Bioinformatics); (2) A study of genome-wide, dense SNP (~900K) and copy number polymorphism data of indigenous southern Africans, addressing a strategy to identify the signature of selection in admixed populations (Chimusa et al., 2015 PLoS Genet); (3) PROXYANC, an optimal quadratic programming approach to select the best proxy ancestral populations of multi-way admixed populations and to examine the fine genetic characterization of ancestral components in multi-way admixed populations (Chimusa et al., 2013 PLos One).
Ms. Annemie Stewart (Database Design Consultant)Ms. Stewart is a Public Health and Epidemiology graduate, with years of experience in data management and analysis. She leads the Data Management Team at the Clinical Research Centre in Cape Town.
Prof. Andre Pascal Kengne (Epidemiology Consultant)Prof. Kengne is a medical doctor and internist from the School of Medicine of Yaounde in Cameroon; and holds a PhD in medicine from the Sydney University, Australia. He is the current Director of South African Medical Research Council's Non-Communicable Diseases Research Unit, and holds conjoint appointments as Professor at the Department of the Department of Medicine of the University of Cape Town, South Africa. His areas of research include chronic diseases epidemiology and prevention in developing countries, decision making in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He is co-author of over numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and monographs on chronic diseases in Africa and at the global level.
Ms. Syntia Munung Nchangwi (Ethics Consultant)Ms.Nchangwi is a student at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently exploring issues of governance of global health research consortia, specifically, justice and fairness in genomics research and biobanking consortia in Africa.
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