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MLW research intern Kamunkhwala Gausi awarded a PhD scholarship to study pharmacometrics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Kamunkhwala GausiKamunkhwala Gausi, a research intern with the Malaria Epidemiology group, has been awarded a scholarship to study for a PhD in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Cape Town. She will be working under the supervision of Dr Paolo Denti, an internationally known pharmacometrician and will benefit not just from his expertise but also from the expertise of the broader pharmacometrics community of collaborators, including Dr Clifford Banda and Dr Eva Maria Hodel. Her PhD will be based on a project funded by EDCTP.


The division of Clinical Pharmacology is internationally renowned for its research on drugs for malaria, TB, and HIV. The division coordinates the Pharmacokinetic/Pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) component of several clinical trials focusing on malaria and TB/HIV treatment across Africa, and has a particular interest in characterizing drug-drug interactions, and optimizing dosing in neglected populations and establishing PK/PD relationships. With her training, Kamunkwala can contribute to the joint COM and MLW efforts to strengthening clinical trial and clinical pharmacology capacity within Malawi.


“I am delighted and humbled to have received this award. This is a prestigious opportunity to train with some of the best scientists in the field and build skills which I hope to use to make a significant impact in tackling some of diseases and their associated burden in Sub-Saharan Africa. This award not only reflects my own hard work, focus and determination, but also the support and commitment of my supervisor Dr Eva Maria Hodel who invested a lot of time throughout the application process. ” said Kamunkhwala.

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MLW research intern Kamunkhwala Gausi successfully defends her Master’s Thesis in Biostatistics at Chancellor College

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Kamunkhwala GausiKamunkhwala, a WT funded DELTAS sub-Saharan Africa Consortium for Advanced Biostatistics Training (S2ACABT) MSc fellow at Chancellor College has successfully defended her master’s thesis in Bio-statistics.

 

Supervised by Dr Eva Maria Hodel from MLW and LSTM and Prof Kazembe from Chancellor College, Kamunkhwala’s thesis was titled “methodological characterization of QT/QTc in children with severe malaria anaemia receiving arthemether-lumefantrine preceded by quinine”. It focused on the use of pharmacology and statistical modelling techniques to optimize malaria case-management and dosing regimens.


During her MSc thesis project, Kamunkhwala was hosted at MLW by the malaria epidemiology group. Alongside working on her own MSc project, she coordinated and chaired the weekly impact malaria club, supported peers on paper reviews, attended various internal and external short-courses, and managed to secure her PhD fellowship in pharmacometrics at University of Cape Town, as her next step.


Kamunkhwala said, “I am so excited to have been able to achieve this milestone and am grateful for the opportunity to interact with the malaria epidemiology group, which has helped me in enlarging my medical knowledge, and the advancement of my statistical and research skills. This would not have been possible without the support and contribution of my two supervisors who encouraged and guided me tirelessly throughout my thesis.”

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James Chirombo, awarded climate change and health fellowship with Dignitas International

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James ChiromboJames Chirombo, a PhD student in spatial statistics at Lancaster University and member of the malaria epidemiology group was recently awarded a 6-month climate change and health fellowship at Dignitas International (DI) in Zomba. 

 

James, whose PhD work includes statistical modelling of climate interactions with diseases such as malaria, will be conducting a feasibility study for DI to explore the relationship between climate change and health and inform the design of a future pilot initiative in climate change and health.

 

The broad aim of the study is to find the role that DI can play in supporting health systems in Malawi in building climate change and health preparedness capacity and health systems with increased climate resiliency. As well as potentially generating postdoctoral research opportunities for James, the project links well to strategic interests within the malaria epidemiology group and offers an excellent opportunity to explore a potential partnership in this area between DI and MLW.


James said “In collaboration with the international research institute (IRI), I am modelling the relationship between climate and malaria to produce risk maps. The goal is to provide tools for decision making in the control of climate-sensitive diseases”