Common Fund's Global Health program supports biomedical research and training in low and middle-income countries across three continents and focuses on a wide range of chronic, non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, maternal-child health, mental health, emergency medicine, and low birth weights; as well as on infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. The program includes three primary initiatives:
- Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI)
- Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa)
- Household Air Pollution Investigation Network (HAPIN)
Program Highlights H3Africa
H3Africa was recently approved for a second five years of funding beginning in fiscal year 2017 to expand upon the accomplishments of the first stage, which began in 2012. Unique aspects of H3Africa stage 2 include an Administrative Coordinating Center and a Bioinformatics Research Training Program. Read more about how African researchers are overcoming logistical and financial barriers to understand the genetics of disease.
H3Africa BioNet (click icon above) is a Pan African Bioinformatics network comprising 32 Bioinformatics research groups which will support H3Africa researchers and their projects while developing Bioinformatics capacity within Africa.
Program Highlights HAPIN
Thomas Clasen from Emory University received the only award from the Household Air Pollution (HAP) Health Outcomes Trial. The HAP Health Outcomes Trial sought applications from institutions/organizations to conduct a clinical trial across three or more Low and Middle Income Country settings to test improved stove and fuel interventions on health outcomes in exposed populations and to establish a biomarker center for the development and validation of clinical, physiological, chemical, biochemical and/or microbiological markers of exposure and pathophysiological responses to household air pollution. Read an NIH press release describing the trial.
The Implementation Science Network (ISN) recently funded three proposals supporting research, evaluation and Implementation Science approaches for adoption and sustained use of clean cooking technologies in Low and Middle Income Countries. More information on the ISN and the funded proposals.
Program Highlights MEPI
NIH commits $36M to train junior faculty in Africa
“Research must play an integral part in generating sustainable, quality health care in sub-Saharan Africa, which is the ultimate goal,” said NIH Director, Dr. Francis S. Collins. “It is critical that we increase research capacity so Africans can carry out locally relevant investigations themselves, and develop the necessary expertise in areas such as bioethics, informatics, environmental science, and genomics. That will empower their participation in international collaborations.” Read the full news article.
NIH-supported Component of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI): Research Career Development of African Junior Faculty will extend the activities supported under the original MEPI program by providing research training and mentored research opportunities for junior faculty in MEPI-supported African institutions. The goal is to increase the number of faculty with research expertise in order to build the next generation of African researchers. Read more about the plans for MEPI's future.
NIH Director’s Blog-“H3Africa: Fostering Collaboration”
NEW! Congratulations to Drs. Osafo and Raji, co-principal investigators in the H3Africa’s Kidney Disease Research Network who will soon graduate from the Master’s Degree Program in Human Genetics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Charlotte Osafo from Ghana, and Yemi Raji from Nigeria. Both were accepted into the program a year ago, aimed to receive formal training in genomics or molecular biology. Read more https://directorsblog.nih.gov/2017/03/23/h3africa-fostering-international-collaboration/
African-specific genome-wide association study DNA microarray will be available soon for all interested researchers
Many single nucleotide polymorphisms on currently available commercial arrays are uninformative in African populations because they have historically been understudied and underrepresented in genetics-focused research. H3Africa has developed a pan-African genotyping array that will contain significantly more African representation than any other array, including at least 8 populations that have not previously been sequenced, and thus will provide a substantial improvement in sensitivity for African genome wide association studies. Anticipated to be available in early 2017. Read news stories on the H3Africa chip.
Mauritian President supports African Genomic Research
The 9th H3Africa Consortium Meeting was held Oct. 27-31, 2016 in Pointe aux Piments, Mauritius, Africa. These meetings are an opportunity for African scientists to get together and present their latest research, form new collaborations, take training courses, and share knowledge for the benefit of the broader African research community. This meeting was especially notable because the President of Mauritius, Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (third from the right, front row) attended and gave an opening address. President Gurib-Fakim is a scientist herself and spoke about how H3Africa can empower the youth with the necessary tools and new knowledge to help the continent leapfrog its developmental challenges. Read more on President Gurib-Fakim’s address and view the meeting agenda.