Call for Applications: KEMRI PhD Studentship 2023

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Last Updated on March 23, 2023

KEMRI PhD Studentship 2023

Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) is a State Corporation established through the Science and Technology (Amendment) Act of 1979, which has since been amended to Science, Technology and Innovation Act 2013. The 1979 Act established KEMRI as a National body responsible for carrying out health research in Kenya.

  1. PhD Project 1 Studentship
  2. PhD Project 2 Studentship

PhD Project 1 Studentship

PhD Project 1. Towards a One Health diagnostics and dashboard for infectious diseases in Kisumu County, western Kenya

This PhD research project will concentrate on multiplex diagnostic technologies that can identify DNA of important pathogens in wastewater as well as in domestic animals in Kisumu County, western Kenya. A sampling framework will be developed (spatial & temporal), that takes into account water movements, rainfall patterns, disease seasonality and other factors.

The objectives of this studentship:

  • Write a review paper on wastewater epidemiology in Africa (with an emphasis on Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, Tanzania and La Réunion).
  • Collect data in semi-real time of pathogens in wastewater in Kisumu County with an emphasis on typhoid and other bacterial pathogens of public health importance such as Klebsiella spp, Vibrio cholera, Shigella spp, Staphylococcus spp, Schistosoma and Brucella, using established gold standard molecular assays.
  • Collect data in semi-real time of pathogens in domestic animals in Kisumu County.
  • Assess domestic animal and water data in context of simultaneous pathogen identification in humans through the Department of Health (DoH)/PharmAccess DIDIDA network of health facilities.
  • Integrate data into digital time/geo-dashboards to inform pertinent policy makers at DoH, Department of Agriculture (DoA) and water authorities to enable monitoring for potential disease outbreaks.
  • Field evaluation of (a) specific RDT(s) as developed by University of Glasgow with emphasis on wastewater and zoonotic diseases (such as Q-fever, brucellosis, leptospirosis, anthrax, rift valley fever, rabies, Ebola, avian influenza).
  • Contribute to the development of a surveillance system to monitor antimicrobial resistance in wastewater.
  • Computational analysis of the obtained sequence data throughout the project (comparative genomics, genome epidemiology)

Eligibility

  • A master’s degree in Biotechnology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Medical Laboratory Sciences, Bioinformatics or a related field.
  • Minimum two (2) years’ experience working in a research laboratory.
  • Excellent working knowledge of molecular diagnostic tests used in patient management of important childhood diseases and/or surveillance.
  • Good communication, data analysis and scientific writing skills
  • Good understanding of digital linkage of diagnostic tests and connected diagnostics.
  • Willingness to commit 100% time and effort to the PhD.
  • Willingness to stay in Kisumu and field sites for the duration of the PhD.
  • Working knowledge of Kiswahili will be an added advantage.
  • Previous work experience and publications in the PhD research topic will be an added advantage

PhD Project 2 Studentship

PhD Project 2. Better rapid diagnostic tests for common causes of febrile illness in African children

This PhD research project will involve development and evaluation of a highly sensitive, low cost and easy-to-use DNA-based test for malaria and other common pathogens such as typhoid and non-typhoidal fever that can be performed at the point of care or at the community level on a finger prick blood sample. Test results will be digitalized through mobile devices including clinical decision support software and data will be stored and curated for synchronization with existing databases such as DHIS2. These tests will be evaluated in a digital health ecosystem in Kisumu, western Kenya with technical support from DIDIDA-consortium members, the University of Glasgow and Pharm Access Foundation.

The objectives of this studentship:

  • Write a review paper on available diagnostics for common childhood pathogens focusing on portability, cost, sensitivity/specificity, digitization of results through mobile phone/tablet technology and linkage to existing platforms such as DHIS2.
  • Understand the genomic diversity of the different pathogens targeted, and how to identify conserved regions (University of Glasgow, LSTM).
  • Work with University of Glasgow and LSTM on designing a Malaria Plus test.
  • Evaluate initial test prototypes with stored blood samples of known etiology to assess sensitivity/specificity, improvement over existing Gold Standard diagnostic tests, optimal storage conditions and other relevant parameters.
  • Field implementation and evaluation of feasibility, acceptability, users experience, turnaround-time and costs.

Eligibility

  • A master’s degree in Biotechnology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Medical Laboratory Sciences, Bioinformatics or a related field.
  • Minimum two (2) years’ experience working in a research laboratory.
  • Excellent working knowledge of molecular diagnostic tests used in patient management of important childhood diseases and/or surveillance.
  • Good communication, data analysis and scientific writing skills
  • Good understanding of digital linkage of diagnostic tests and connected diagnostics.
  • Willingness to commit 100% time and effort to the PhD.
  • Willingness to stay in Kisumu and field sites for the duration of the PhD.
  • Working knowledge of Kiswahili will be an added advantage.
  • Previous work experience and publications in the PhD research topic will be an added advantage

Method of Application

Applications should include the following documents,

  • Letter of application specifying the project the candidate wishes to undertake, and mapping clearly how they meet the eligibility criteria.
  • A 1-page letter of motivation and future plans after the PhD.
  • A complete C.V listing academic qualifications, competencies and relevant experience.
  • Copies of academic certificates and transcripts.
  • Two reference letters from current or past (not older than 3 years) mentor/supervisors.

CLICK HERE TO APPLY


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