Cambridge-Africa

Researchers' Database

Researchers from across the University of Cambridge and its affiliated institutes are engaging with the initiatives of the Cambridge-Africa Programme by carrying out collaborative research with African colleagues, and/or supporting African fellows.

annettee 019

 

Photograph:

Dr Annettee Nakimuli, Makerere University and MUII PhD Fellow, and her Cambridge co-supervisor Professor Ashley Moffett, Department of Pathology.

 

 

 

In order to encourage new collaborations with African researchers and to support African PhD students and post-doctoral fellows, we have built (and are continuously expanding) a database of current and potential Cambridge collaborators and their expertise. The Cambridge researchers listed are either already engaging with, or have indicated their interest in being matched to Africans who have similar research interests. Cambridge researchers who would like to get involved do not need to have a pre-prepared project available, or existing African links, in order to be included in the database. If you would like your details to be included, please complete the (short and painless) registration form.

Note to African researchers searching for a Cambridge collaborator: Please be aware that any enquiries about potential collaboration with a Cambridge researcher should to be directed to one of the Cambridge-Africa team or enquiries@cambridge-africa.cam.ac.uk in the first instance. They will then put you in touch with the Cambridge researcher if there is an appropriate match in the research interests. Thanks for your cooperation.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Dr Chantal Babb de Villiers (Cancer research) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Research Associate, PHPC PCU

Research Interests:

I worked for almost 10 years in South Africa on cancer genetic diagnostics and cancer epidemiology in Africa. I have an interest in mainstreaming genetic testing for cancer and am currently working on cancer risk prediction tools for implementation in clinical care. These tools will use lifestyle, epidemiological and genetic information for cancer risk prediction.

Publications:
Singh E, Ruff P, Babb C, Sengayi M, Beery M, Khoali L, Kellett P, Underwood JM. Establishment of a cancer surveillance programme: the South African experience. Lancet Oncology Volume 16, No. 8, e414–e421, August 2015. DOI: 10.1016/S1470-2045(15)00162-X

Babb C, Urban M, Kielkowski D, and Kellett P. Prostate Cancer in South Africa: Pathology Based National Cancer Registry Data (1986–2006) and Mortality Rates (1997–2009), Prostate Cancer, Volume 2014 May (2014), Article ID 419801 DOI: 10.1155/2014/419801

Baker GL, Babb C, Schnugh DJ, Naylor SJ, Louw M, Goedhals J, Bringuier P, Blay J, Willem P. Molecular characterization of gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs) in a South African population. Oncology Letters 2013 Jan;5(1):155-160 DOI: 10.3892/ol.2012.1013

Dr Soumya Banerjee (AI for social good) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Researcher, University of Cambridge
sites.google.com/site/neelsoumya/Home

Research Interests:

My research interests are in AI and machine learning for social good. I want to apply these techniques in developing nations.

Publications:
Predictive metabolomic profiling of microbial communities using amplicon or metagenomic sequences, H. Mallick, E. Franzosa, L. McIver, S. Banerjee, A. Sirota-Madi, A. Kostic, C. Clish, H. Vlamakis, R. Xavier, C. Huttenhower, Nature Communications, 10(1):3136, 2019

Modelling the effects of phylogeny and body size on within-host pathogen replication and immune response, S. Banerjee, A. Perelson, M. Moses, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 14(136), 20170479, 2017

Towards a Quantitative Understanding of Within Host Dynamics of West Nile Virus Infection, S. Banerjee, J. Guedj, R. Ribeiro, M. Moses & A. Perelson, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 13(117), 20160130, 2016

Prof Simon Baron-Cohen (Cognitive Neuroscience) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Director, Autism Research Centre, Dept of Psychiatry
www.autismresearchcentre.com

Research Interests:

Cognitive neuroscience and clinical research on autism and Asperger Syndrome

Dr. Girish Beedessee (Genomics/transcriptomics/Integrated omics of non-model organisms) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Herchel Smith Research fellow, Department of Biochemistry
scholar.google.com/citations

Research Interests:

My interest lies in the evolution of eukaryotic genomes and what molecular mechanisms contribute to different lifestyles for adaptation. At the heart of this process are biosynthetic enzymes that work in an assembly fashion to generate chemical diversity. Using a combination of computational biology, molecular biology and biochemistry, I aim to elucidate the mode of chemical communication by applying an integrated omics approach. I also employed biophysical tools to understand DNA binding proteins and novel DNA condensation mechanisms.

Publications:
Integrated omics unveil the secondary metabolic landscape of a basal dinoflagellate. (2020) BMC Biology 18:139

Diversified secondary metabolite biosynthesis gene repertoire revealed in symbiotic dinoflagellates. (2019) Sci Reports 9:1204

Multifunctional polyketide synthase genes identified by genomic survey of the symbiotic dinoflagellate, Symbiodinium minutum. (2015) BMC Genomics 16 (1):941.

Dr Sara Benjamin Neelon (Evaluation of school-based intervention promoting fruit and vegetable intake via gardens) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow, Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University and Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow, Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), University of Cambridge

Research Interests:

Assessment of health in school-age children (anthropometry, dietary intake, physical activity) Evaluation of school-based intervention promoting fruit and vegetable intake via gardens Assessment of home gardening and children's exposure to fruits and vegetables

Prof Stephen Bentley (Analysis Of Whole Genome Sequence Data For Bacterial Pathogens) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Principal Staff Scientist, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
www.sanger.ac.uk

Research Interests:

My expertise is in the analysis of whole genome sequence data for bacterial pathogens. My research interests are mainly focused on respiratory pathogens such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis and Mycobacterium tuberculosis as well Staphylococcus aureus with the aim of better understanding population dynamics, association with disease and responses to clinical practices.

Possible project topic: projects to exploit whole genome sequencing of large collections of pathogen isolates to understand the population structure and colonisation dynamics of respiratory pathogens in different environmental settings. I would also be interested in looking at nasopharyngeal (or nasal) microbiota in a range of demographically distinct groups.

Current African links: I have active collaborative links with groups in Blantyre, Malawi (Dean Everett, MLW), The Gambia (Martin Antonio, MRC) and Thailand (Paul Turner, SMRU).

Publications:
(1) Evolution of MRSA during hospital transmission and intercontinental spread. Harris SR et al. Science. 2010 Jan 22; 327 (5964): 469-74.

(2) Role of conjugative elements in the evolution of the multidrug-resistant pandemic clone Streptococcus pneumoniaeSpain23F ST81. Croucher NJ et al. J Bacteriol. 2009 Mar;191 (5): 1480-9.

(3) Genetic analysis of the capsular biosynthetic locus from all 90 pneumococcal serotypes. Bentley SD et al. PLoS Genet. 2006 Mar; 2 (3): e31.

Dr Jimena Berni (Developmental Neuroscience) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Research Fellow, Department of Zoology

Research Interests:

My research is focused in the general area of developmental neuroscience.
I investigate the relation between neuronal circuits and behaviour with an emphasis on the diversification of circuits and the role of genes in specifying different neuronal networks and their assembly during development. I work with the fruit fly Drosophila and I combine a range of genetic, neurobiological and anatomical techniques to attack this problem at several levels - from genes and neurons to circuits and behavior.

Publications:
J Gjorgjieva, J Berni, JF Evers, S Eglen (2013). Neural Circuits for Peristaltic Wave Propagation in Crawling Drosophila Larvae: Analysis and Modeling. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 7(art.4):1-19

Berni J, Pulver SR, Griffith LC and Bate M. (2012). Autonomous circuit for substrate exploration in freely moving Drosophila larva. Current Biology, 22:1861-1870

Depetris-Chauvin A*, Berni J, Aranovich EJ*, Muraro NI, Beckwith EJ, Ceriani MF. (2011). Adult-specific electrical silencing of pacemaker neurons uncouples molecular clock from circadian outputs. Current Biology, 21(21):1783-93

Dr Matthew Berriman (Parasite & Vector Genomics ) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Group Leader, Parasite Genomics, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
www.sanger.ac.uk/research/faculty/mberriman.html

Research Interests:

Comparative and functional genomics of parasites to study the genomic basis for similarities (such as regulatory features) or differences in parasite biology (such as host tropism).

Current African links: Member of the WHO/TDR International Glossina Genomics Initiative, which includes several African partners.

Publications:
(1) Berriman M et al. (2009). The genome of the blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni. Nature 460 (7253): 352-8.PMID: 19606141.

(2) Hertz-Fowler et al. (2008). Telomeric expression sites are highly conserved in Trypanosoma brucei. PLoS One.3(10): e3527. Epub 2008 Oct 27 PMID: 18953401.

(3) Berriman M et al. (2005). The genome of the African trypanosome Trypanosoma brucei. Science 309 (5733): 416-22. PMID: 16020726

Dr Oliver Billker (Malaria Cell & Molecular Biology) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Senior Group Leader, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
www.sanger.ac.uk/research/projects/malariaprogramm…

Research Interests:

The team investigates the fundamental biology of malaria parasite development and parasite-host interactions. We use a malaria species that infects rodents, Plasmodium berghei. We are particularly interested in molecular signalling mechanisms that regulate the parasite life-cycle. We are also collaborating with programmes in mouse, human and Plasmodium genetics at the institute to define molecular functions for host genes in regulating infection and pathology.

Publications:
(1) Billker O et al. (2009) Calcium-Dependent Signaling and Kinases in Apicomplexan Parasites. Cell Host & Microbe, June 2009.


(2) Moon RW et al. (2009). A cyclic GMP signalling module that regulates gliding motility in a malaria parasite. PLoS Pathogens 5(9).


(3) Billker O et al. (2004). Calcium and a Calcium Dependent Protein Kinase Regulate Gamete Formation and Mosquito Transmission in a Malaria Parasite. Cell 117: 503-514.

Dr Barbara Blacklaws (Immunopathology Of Chronic Infections) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Senior Lecturer, Dept of Veterinary Medicine
www.vet.cam.ac.uk/research/investigators/blacklaws…

Research Interests:

I have a long-term interest in the immune response to persistent viral infections. Presently we are studying the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal viruses using murine norovirus as a model virus. This can establish both acute and persistent infections. It may also spread from the gut to cause a systemic infection that can lead to pathology in different organ systems. As such it is both a good model system for studying gastrointestinal immunity and mechanisms of viral persistence. We are investigating the role of different cell types and factors in the gut that protect from infection as well as properties of the virus itself that affect its pathogenesis. We would like to expand this into coinfections with other pathogens including bacteria and parasites.

I am also using metagenomic analysis to detect and monitor arboviral infections as well as studying the gastrointestinal microbiome in a wild-life setting.

Possible project topic: Viral pathogenesis, viral metagenomics

Publications:
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium trxA mutants are protective against virulent challenge, but induce less inflammation than the live-attenuated vaccine strain SL3261. Peters, S. E., Paterson, G. K., Bandularatne, E. S. D., Northen, H. C., Pleasance, S., Willers, C., Wang, J., Foote, A. K., Constantino-Casas, F., Scase, T. J., Blacklaws, B. A., Bryant, C. E., Mastroeni, P., Charles, I. G. & Maskell, D. J. (2010) Infect. Immun. 78, 326-336.

Molecular characterization of poxviruses associated with tattoo skin lesions in UK cetaceans. Blacklaws, B.A., Gajda, A. M., Tippelt, S., Jepson, P. D., Deaville, R., Van Bressem, M.-F., Pearce, G. P. (2013) PLOS ONE, 8, e71734.
Pathology caused by persistent murine norovirus infection. Shortland, A., Chettle, J., Archer, J., Wood, K., Bailey, D., Goodfellow, I., Blacklaws, B.A. & Heeney, J.L. (2014) J. Gen. Virol., 95, 413–422.
Differential expression of Toll-like receptors and inflammatory cytokines in ovine interdigital dermatitis and footrot. Davenport, R., Heawood, C., Sessford, K., Baker, M., Baiker, K., Blacklaws, B., Kaler, J., Green, L. & Tötemeyer, S. (2014) Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol. 161, 90-8.
Intestinal intraepithelial lymphocyte activation promotes innate antiviral resistance. Swamy, M., Abeler-Dörner, L., Chettle, J., Mahlakõiv, T., Goubau, D., Chakravarty, P., Ramsay, G., Reis e Sousa, C., Staeheli, P., Blacklaws, B.A., Heeney, J.L. & Hayday, A.C. (2015) Nature Comm. 6, 7090. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8090. PMID: 25987506





Professor Alan Blackwell (Development of capacity for IT business and innovation) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Professor of Interdisciplinary Design, Computer Science and Technology
www.cst.cam.ac.uk/~afb21

Research Interests:

entrepreneurship and academia/business relations innovation in artificial intelligence, data science and machine learning software design, interaction design and design research postcolonial computing and critical methods in technology research

Publications:
Objective Functions: (In)humanity and Inequity in Artificial Intelligence. (2019). HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 9(1), 137-146.

Artificial intelligence and the abstraction of cognitive labour. (2019) In M. Davis (Ed.), Marx200: The significance of Marxism in the 21st century. London: Praxis Press, pp. 59-68.

Ethnographic artificial intelligence. Forthcoming in Interdisciplinary Science Reviews

Prof Carol Brayne (Ageing & Health) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Professor of Public Health Medicine, Dept of Public Health and Primary Care, and Director of the Institute of Public Health
www.phpc.cam.ac.uk/people/brayne.htm

Research Interests:

Ageing and health, dementia, mental health, healthy life expectancy.

Current African links: Thirty two African MPhil students who have completed their degrees in the Institute over the years. Personal link with Tanzania.

Publications:
(1) Ngondi J et al. *Effect of 3 years of SAFE (surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental change) strategy for trachoma control in southern Sudan: a cross-sectional study. The Lancet 2006, vol 368, 589-95. (*accompanying editorial).

(2) Brayne C. Incidence of Dementia in England and Wales. MRC Cognitive Function and Ageing Study. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord 2006, 20 Supl2 S47-51.

(3) Jagger C et al. The burden of diseases on disability-free life expectancy in later life. Journal of Geronotology A Biol Sci Med Sci 2007, 62(4), 408-14.

Prof Kevin Brindle (Imaging Tumour Responses To Treatment) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Professor of Biomedical Magnetic Resonance, Dept of Biochemistry, and Senior Group Leader, CRUK Cambridge Research Institute
science.cancerresearchuk.org/research/loc/cambridg…

Research Interests:

Patients with similar tumour types can show markedly different responses to the same therapy. We have been developing novel, clinically applicable, imaging methods that can be used to detect early tumour responses to treatment. These could be used in early stage clinical trials of new drugs to get an indication of efficacy and subsequently, in the clinic, to guide therapy in individual patients.

Publications:
(1) Brindle K. New approaches for imaging tumour responses to treatment. Nature Rev Cancer 2008; 8: 1-14.

(2) Gallagher FA et al. Magnetic resonance imaging of pH in vivo using hyperpolarized 13C-labeled bicarbonate. Nature 2008; 453: 940-3.

(3) Day SE et al. Detecting tumor response to treatment using hyperpolarized 13C magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy. Nature Med 2007; 13: 1382-7.

Prof Clare Bryant (Immunopharmacology Of Infectious Diseases) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Professor, Dept of Veterinary Medicine
www.queens.cam.ac.uk/Users/ceb27/CEB5.html

Research Interests:

We use multidisciplinary approaches to understand how bacteria are detected by the host (through Pattern Recognition Receptors (PRRs)), but we are also studying how PRR recognition of allergen proteins or toxic proteins produced by patients link to chronic inflammatory diseases such as allergies and Alzheimer’s disease. 

For more information see https://www.immunology.cam.ac.uk/Networkdirectory/ceb27@cam.ac.uk

Publications:
https://www.immunology.cam.ac.uk/Networkdirectory/ceb27@cam.ac.uk



Prof Graham J. Burton (Human Placental Development & Function) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Professor of Reproductive Biology; Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience
www.trophoblast.cam.ac.uk/people/pi.shtml

Research Interests:

The principal focus of my research is human placental development and function, with a view to understanding the pathophysiology of complications of pregnancy, including pre-eclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction and miscarriage. We are interested in how the placenta responds to adverse conditions, such as hypoxia, undernutrition and infection, and how this impacts on maternal wellbeing and fetal development.

Possible project topics: I would be interested in developing projects investigating the role of the placenta in the causation of pre-eclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction.

Publications:
(1) Burton GJ et al. (2010). The influence of the intrauterine environment on human placental development. International Journal of Developmental Biology, 54, 303-312.

(2) Burton GJ et al. (2009). Placental endoplasmic reticulum stress and oxidative stress in the pathophysiology of unexplained intrauterine growth restriction and early-onset preeclampsia. Placenta, 30 Suppl. A, S43-S48.

(3) Fowden AL et al. (2008). The placenta and intrauterine programming. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 20, 439-450.

Dr Paula Buttery (Computational Linguistics and Language Learning) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Theoretical & Applied Linguistics, Computer Laboratory
www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~pjb48

Research Interests:

Computational Linguistics, Natural Language Processing, Corpus Linguistics, First and Second Language Learning, Automated Language Teaching and Assessment

Publications:
Hawkins, J. and Filipovic, L. with Buttery, P., Capel, A., Hawkey, R., Salamoura, A., Saville, N., and Trim, J. Criterial features in L2 English: specifying the reference levels of the Common European Framework.

Buttery, P. and Caines, A. Normalising Frequency Counts to Account for `opportunity of use' in Learner Corpora. In: Tono, Y., Kawaguchi, Y., and Minegishi, M. (eds.), Developmental and Crosslinguistic Perspectives in Learner Corpus Research. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. p187---204

Rice, A., Buttery, P., Rai, I., and Beresford, A. Language learning on a next-generation service platform for Africa. Africa Perspective on the Role of Mobile Technologies in Fostering Social and Economic Development, W3C Workshop. Maputo, Mozambique.