Cambridge-Africa Core Team
Dr Caroline Trotter - Academic Director
Caroline was appointed Academic Director for Cambridge-Africa in October 2018, succeeding Professor David Dunne (the founding Director in 2008). She is a Principal Research Associate in Epidemiology at the University of Cambridge and an honorary epidemiologist at Public Health England. Her research examines the potential and actual impact of immunisation using a range of methods from classic epidemiology to mathematical modelling and health economics. Her work has been used to inform national and (as a consultant to the World Health Organisation) international vaccine policy. Much of Caroline's research is focussed on meningococcal disease and carriage in the UK and Africa, working with African partners, including the African Meningococcal Carriage Consortium (MenAfriCar). She has been involved in a range of projects in the African meningitis belt, both to quantify the impact of MenAfriVac (an affordable group A meningococcal conjugate vaccine), and to investigate both short (epidemic response) and long-term (preventive vaccination) options for the control of epidemic meningitis. She also has current projects on the impact of vaccination against group B streptococcus and rabies. She is also a fellow of Hughes Hall in Cambridge. Read more about Caroline’s vaccine work at http://www.iph.cam.ac.uk/public-health-policy/case-studies/shaping-vaccination-guidelines.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0) 1223 765631
Dr Amit Bhasin - Programme Manager
Amit joined the Cambridge-Africa team in May 2019 having previously worked for 16 years at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) where he managed a varied portfolio of capacity strengthening programmes and multi-center clinical trials in Sub-Saharan Africa. His links with Africa go back to 1997 when he conducted field studies as part of his post-doctoral fellowship with colleagues at the Malaria Research and Training Centre, Bamako, Mali.
Amit joined LSHTM as part of the management team of the Gates Malaria Partnership. This partnership worked in 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and focused on conducting field-based research directed towards improved malaria control but closely linked to training and capacity strengthening activities. Amit initially managed the infrastructure programme before taking the lead on the development of a successful PhD and Post-doctoral programme that trained and supported over 40 researchers. More recently, Amit managed a Welcome Trust Strategic award with a broader capacity strengthening remit in that it aimed to strengthen capacity of PhD programmes, research management systems and career development support for researchers within its five African partner institutions. Activities undertaken to achieve this included the development of a baseline needs assessment tool for assessing PhD programmes, a Research Management Support Systems toolkit, the establishment of institutional career development groups and the design and piloting of a leadership development programme.
In addition to the above, Amit has also been responsible for managing teams supporting a number of clinical trials of malaria interventions in West Africa, with a focus on those using Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention to protect children under the age of 5. His most recent work, however, has been in coordinating a large febrile illness aetiology study in Africa and SE Asia.
Corinna coordinates the Cambridge aspects of the MUII-plus and THRiVE-2 programmes. These programmes develop partnerships between East African Academic institutions and the University of Cambridge to strengthen research capacity. Corinna joined the Cambridge-Africa Programme in August 2016.
Prior to joining the Cambridge-Africa Programme, she worked on a wide variety of projects at the PHG (Population Health and Genomics) Foundation over the past 10 years. These projects included developing a public health needs assessment toolkit to develop services in relation to congenital disorders focusing on low and middle income countries; assessing services for inherited cardiac conditions and making recommendations for improved service development; she undertook similar work on inherited ophthalmology and genetic screening services. She evaluated services aimed at decreasing the risk of inherited disorders amongst communities with high levels consanguineous partnerships in the UK. Other key interests were the mainstreaming of genomics into clinical practice and the ethical implementation of genomic technologies into health services.
Corinna has also worked on primary health care policy development in the UK, health promotion in inner city Manchester and developed materials on mental health risk assessment. She has an undergraduate degree in psychology and postgraduate qualifications in health promotion and health education and in management.
Corinna has a long standing interest in Africa and taught in Kenya in a secondary school.
More info -> MUII website
Parinaz Hariri - Cambridge - Africa ALBORADA Research Fund Coordinator
Parinaz obtained a Master's degree (MBA, in International Management) from Royal Holloway University, the University of London. She started working for the University of Cambridge in 2014 and has worked with a large number of departments and faculties especially within the School of Biological Sciences.
She has extensive administration experience in many different fields such as HR, Student Administration, Programme Administration and Grants Administration. She joined the Cambridge-Africa programme in January 2019 to coordinate the Cambridge-Africa ALBORADA Research Fund.
Polly Basak - Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI)-Cambridge Coordinator
Polly joined the team in March 2020 as the Project Coordinator on the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI)-Cambridge Collaboration. She has a background in global health and has previously worked within Cambridge University, UCL, St Georges London, University of Hertfordshire and Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
Following a masters degree from the University of Oxford, Polly has worked on several international research projects as either a researcher or project manager. These include child health in a Palestinian refugee camp, podoconiosis in Ethiopia, refugee health in South Asia, pandemic influenza across Europe and NCDs in the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa.
Polly was a professional blogger for over five years and has extensive experience in website development, social media management, network building and health communications. She is particularly interested in global health collaborations with low and middle-income countries.
Carol Ibe - Postdoctoral Researcher
Carol is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences, where she recently completed her PhD as a Gates scholar. She joined the Cambridge-Africa team in May 2020 (on a short-term basis) to design a postdoctoral research fellowship for high achieving early-career African researchers, who will undertake cutting-edge research relevant to Africa’s challenges and the Sustainable Development Goals, here in Cambridge.
Carol’s PhD research focused on understanding how rice roots interact with mutualistic and detrimental fungi, and how such associations may be modified for practical agricultural applications. Her novel findings and their potential real-life application led to the highly competitive 2019 Cambridge Society for the Application of Research (CSAR) award, of which she was the first black student to win.
Carol is deeply passionate about helping African nations to develop research capacity to solve real problems on the continent. This inspired her to set up the JR Biotek Foundation, a non-profit organisation that designs and develops world-class scientific research training programmes to support Africa’s next generation of scientists. Carol has created several impactful Africa-focused initiatives including the Bio-innovation for Africa Pitch Competition, the UK-Africa Food Security Symposium, the Africa Diaspora Biotech Summit, and ‘Reach and Teach Science in Africa’ capacity building project. With support from colleagues at the University of Cambridge, Carol successfully raised about £200k, reaching and providing world-class scientific training, mentoring and relevant academic resources to hundreds of Africa-based early-career researchers and students in 20 countries.
Carol often speaks at conferences and events, especially those relating to STEM and food security in Africa, and her work has been featured widely. Carol’s outstanding research and exemplary leadership have led to various awards and recognition including the 2019 Bill Gates Sr Prize and the 2017 Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) World award (finalist).