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Getting to Know Our Staff: Dr. Deborah Nyirenda

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NyirendaRecently, Behaviour and Health research group social scientist Deborah Nyirenda attained her PhD in Public Health. Pauline Mlogeni (PM) had a chat with her (DN) to understand her work and the job that she does at MLW.

PM: What is your job title?

DN: I am a postdoctoral social scientist funded by Global Health Bioethics Network.


PM: What do you do in your job?

DN: My job involves four things: social science research, drafting publications, applying for grants and mentoring junior social scientists. I am currently developing a research that aims to generate evidence to strengthen ethical community engagement or public and patients’ involvement in health research conducted in low literacy settings.


PM: When did you start working at MLW?

DN: I joined MLW in 2010 as a Social Scientist. I have attained my Masters Degree and PhD since then.

PM: You recently attained your PhD. Tell us what it is all about and how it will help you to contribute towards MLW’s outcomes.

DN: My PhD examined community engagement in health research in Malawi. My thesis demonstrated how the socio-economic, political and historical contextual features influence the procedures and outcomes of community engagement initiatives. This work is important to MLW and other research institutions in low resource settings because it identified gaps in contemporary community engagement practices to protect community’s interests and promote mutual benefit sharing in health research.


PM: What are your immediate and long-term plans after your PhD?

DN: I plan to set up an associate research group that focuses on research on bioethics and community engagement/public and patients’ involvement in health research.


Congratulations, Deborah!


Lufina Tsirizani-Galileya awarded a PhD scholarship to study Pharmacometrics at the University of Cape Town (UCT)

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TsirizaniLufina Tsirizani-Galileya a Pre-doctoral intern with both the Bacterial and Drug-Resistant Infections and the Malaria Epidemiology groups of MLW has been awarded a PhD scholarship to study Pharmacometrics at University of Cape Town (UCT). She will be based within the division of Clinical Pharmacology at UCT and will be supervised by Associate Professor Paolo Denti, a world-renowned Pharmacometrician.

Lufina will be funded through UCT to work on Pharmacometrics of drugs of infectious diseases in neglected populations. She will explore approaches that will optimize the use of antimalarial, anti-tuberculosis and antiretroviral drugs in children and pregnant women in studies funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council.

Lufina will be trained with one of the best Pharmacometrics groups in the world, which is part of several international collaborations including the modelling groups at the University of Liverpool and Uppsala University. With her training, Lufina will be part of the critical mass needed in the joint COM and MLW efforts to strengthen clinical pharmacology capacity in Malawi.

"I am excited and thankful to be awarded this scholarship. I feel privileged to be accorded the opportunity to do what I love. It is my passion to contribute to drug development and optimize drug therapy in Malawi and the African continent," said Lufina.

Congratulations, Lufina!


Yohane Gadama Awarded Mandela Rhodes Scholarship

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GadamaMLW’s intern in the Mucosal & Vascular Immunology Research Group Yohane Gadama has recently been awarded the Mandela Rhodes scholarship to pursue Neurology clinical specialist training at Tygerberg Hospital (Stellenbosch University) in South Africa.


As a neurology registrar, Yohane will spend the first two years rotating and doing on-calls in general (internal) medicine and the last two years purely focusing on neurological conditions. As a Mandela Rhodes scholar, he will commence his clinical training in Cape Town with a leadership workshop at the beginning of February 2020.


Yohane started applying for the highly sought Mandela Rhodes scholarship in February 2019 while he was still on his MSc Stroke Medicine program at University College London. The applications go through three strict and competitive stages before a final face-to-face interview in Cape Town. Yohane sailed through all these stages to emerge as a Mandela Rhodes scholar.


“Upon completion, I want to become a consultant neurologist and clinical scientist. I am currently involved in the setting up of Malawi's first stroke unit at QECH and defining the care pathways. While in training in South Africa, I will continue contributing to research endeavours within the stroke unit or any other neurological studies,” he said.


Congratulations, Yohane!