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Rhosheen Mthawanji Awarded the MERCK Schistosomiasis Research Grant

Rhosheen Mthawanji has been awarded €30,000 from the MERCK Schistosomiasis research grant to implement a study called “Malacological surveillance for intermediate hosts of schistosomiasis in 10 Districts of Malawi, using communities in the local villages for snail identification and control”. MERCK launched this initiative to catalyze research in the fight against schistosomiasis. Merck is dedicated to accelerating innovation and advancing science for neglected populations. This initiative invited applications from pre-clinical researchers for a fast-tracked funding scheme.

Rhosheen Mthawanji is a research assistant in the Sustainable Plastic Altitudes to benefit Communities and their Environments (SPACES) Project joined MLW in 2017 and later secured her Wellcome Trust-funded MSc fellowship. She completed her master’s degree in Vector Biology with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) in 2018 and has been working on various projects in the Vector Biology group led by Dr. Christopher Mark Jones.

Asked how the grant will support her career growth, Rhosheen responded this way, “the grant will allow me to expand from mosquito vectors to snail vectors which for me is a very important step towards being an all-rounded vector biologist and a vector control specialist”.

Rhosheen’s study is important in gaining an in-depth understanding of the vector host interactions which is crucial in Schistosomiasis control in Malawi.

Rhosheen is ecstatic about this grant, she said, “During my undergraduate days, I always volunteered to be part of my lecturers’ projects, and Schistosomiasis vector control has always been a passion of mine. I am very encouraged and motivated that this project was chosen over 200 other projects and was the only one selected in Africa”.

Rhosheens’ next steps include establishing collaborations and securing Ph.D. funding that will enable her to reach her goal of becoming a vector control specialist.

More information on her grant can be found here: https://www.merckgroup.com/en/sustainability/health-for-all/innovation-for-all/open-innovation-for-global-health/schistosomiasis-research-grant.html

We wish you success, Rhosheen!