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 mentoring African fellows.

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




In order to recruit excellent post-doctoral researchers and doctoral students from Africa into Cambridge for training, we have built (and are continuously expanding) a database of current and potential Cambridge collaborators/mentors and their expertise. The >180 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 mentor/collaborator: Please be aware that any enquiries about potential mentorship by, or collaboration with a Cambridge researcher need to be directed to one of the Cambridge-Africa Programme staff 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.


Dr Matthias Landgraf (Maturation of Neuronal Networks) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Lecturer, Department of Zoology

Research Interests:

We are interested in how neuronal networks, particularly motor networks, assemble and mature. Working with Drosophila, we developed genetic tools and imaging approaches to study the development of synapses, dendrites and neuromuscular junctions. We discovered that neurons use reactive oxygen species as a metabolic readout for activity and homeostatic adjustment. This likely has implications for ageing and neurodegenerative conditions commonly associated with oxidative stress.

Suggested Projects: We currently have projects on the development of neuroblast lineages in the embryo, the specification of neurotransmitter cell types, synapse formation and reactive oxygen species as second messengers regulating synaptic terminal growth.

We are working with TReND in Africa:

Couton, L. et al. Development of connectivity in a motoneuronal network in Drosophila larvae. Curr Biol 25, 568–576 (2015)

Zwart, M. F., Randlett, O., Evers, J. F. & Landgraf, M. Dendritic growth gated by a steroid hormone receptor underlies increases in activity in the developing Drosophila locomotor system. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A (2013). doi:10.1073/pnas.1311711110

Tripodi, M., Evers, J. F., Mauss, A., Bate, M. & Landgraf, M. Structural homeostasis: compensatory adjustments of dendritic arbor geometry in response to variations of synaptic input. PLoS Biol 6, e260 (2008)

Dr Finian J. Leeper (Biosynthesis of Natural Products and Enzymes) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Senior Lecturer, Department of Chemistry

Research Interests:

Biosynthesis of Natural Products: we study how micro-organisms make the secondary metabolites that they do. Studies of Enzymic Reactions and Mechanisms: we have concentrated recently on thiamine diphosphate-dependent enzymes but have also studied other enzymes, e.g. of tetra- and tripyrrole biosynthesis. Molecular Imaging (with Prof. Kevin Brindle): we are developing new methods for imaging cell-surface glycans of cancer cells.

Neves A A et al. "Imaging cell surface glycosylation in vivo using ‘double click’ chemistry" Bioconjugate Chem., 2013, 24 (6), 934–941.

Chawrai S R et al. "Characterisation of PigC and HapC, the prodigiosin synthetases from Serratia sp. and Hahella chejuensis with potential for biocatalytic production of anticancer agents" Chem. Sci., 2012, 3 (2), 447-454.

Erixon K M et al. "Synthesis and biological evaluation of pyrophosphate mimics of thiamine pyrophosphate based on a triazole scaffold", Org. Biomolec. Chem., 2008, 6, 3561-3572.

Professor Peter Leggo (Organo-zeolitic Fertilizer, Bio-Fertiliser for Biofuel and Food Crops) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Professor at the Department of Earth Sciences

Research Interests:

Research Interest: Using an organo-zeolitic fertilizer (bio-fertilizer) for the production of biofuel and or food crops on contaminated and marginal land.

Current African link: Together with Dr Simon R. Passey (a geologist with CASP - a geological organisation which is affiliated with the Department of Earth Sciences), and Dr Dereje Ayalew (of the Faculty of Science at the University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), their research work has supplied rocks from the North West Highlands of Ethiopia. These rocks contain minerals which are used together with organic waste to make a very effective plant fertilizer. Dr Ayalew has a background in Ethiopian geology, and intends to develop the use of the biological further with the help of the local farming community.

Leggo, P.J. The Efficacy of the Organo-Zeolitic Biofertilizer. Agrotechnology, 2015, 4:1

Leggo, P.J. 2014. The organo-zeolitic-soil system: a comprehensive fertilizer. Proc, International Natural Zeolite Assoc, Belgrade , Serbia, 8 – 13 June 2014.

Leggo, P.J. 2013. Enhancing the growth of plants on coal waste using a biological fertilizer. International Journal of Environment and Resource. 2,(3), 59-66.

Dr Belinda Lennox (Biological Basis Of Psychosis) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Senior Research Associate / Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, Dept of Psychiatry

Research Interests:

Biological basis of psychotic disorders Functional imaging of psychosis Early intervention in psychosis services Neurimmunology of psychosis Possible project topic: Neuroimmunological basis of psychosis in a developing country.

(1) Chen CH et al. (2006), ?

(2) Lennox BR et al. (2001), ?

Prof Andrew Lever (Retrovirus & Rotavirus Molecular Biology) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Professor of Infectious Diseases, Dept of Medicine

Research Interests:

We study the molecular biology of retrovirus (HIV) and rotavirus infection. We are interested in virus assembly and how the virus uses cell machinery to help this process. We are seeking novel inhibitors of virus assembly involving RNA binding ligands. We also study gene delivery using lentiviral vectors.

(1) L

(2) Poole E et al. HIV-1 Gag-RNA interaction occurs at a perinuclear/centrosomal site; analysis by confocal microscopy and FRET. Traffic 2005; 6: 741-55.

(3) Mok H-P et al. Stable gene expression occurs from a minority of integrated HIV-1 based vectors: transcriptional silencing is present in the majority. Gene Therapy 2007; 14: 741-751.

Dr Kun-Chin Lin (Political Economy of China) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

Research Interests:

Political economy, comparative politics, research methodology, China

Possible project topics: 
Comparative studies of development with China as a case

Current Links:
Institutional links in the Asia-Pacific

“The Local Government in Corporate Restructuring: Case Studies of Fractured Bargaining Relations.” [with Shaofeng Chen] Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 42(4): 171–198, 2013.

“Contemplating Chinese Foreign Policy: Approaches to the Use of Historical Analysis.” [with Jean-Marc Blanchard] Special Issue: Chinese Foreign Policy: The Quest for Power, Security, and Status. Pacific Focus 28(2): 145–169, August 2013.

“Local Government Fiscal Imperative and Debt-Financing in China” [with He Yang and Tao Ran] in P. Arestis and M. Sawyer, ed., Fiscal and Debt Policies for the Future, International Papers in Political Economy Series. Palgrave MacMillan, 2014.

Dr Michelle Linterman (Vaccine research) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Group Leader, Babraham Institute

Research Interests:

Germinal centres are sites within tissues such as the tonsils, spleen and lymph nodes where B cells proliferate and differentiate during a normal immune response to an infection. Because of the central role of the germinal centre in generating immunological memory, a potent germinal centre response is critical for a successful response to vaccination. Our research is focused on understanding the cellular and molecular biology that generates a potent germinal centre response, and using this information to inform vaccine design.

(1) Carr EJ et al The cellular composition of the human immune system is shaped by age and cohabitation.
Nature Immunology 15 Feb 2016, 17(4):461-468 PMID: 26878114

(2) Aloulou M et al Follicular regulatory T cells can be specific for the immunizing antigen and derive from naive T cells. Nat Commun. 2016 Jan 28;7:10579. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10579. PMID: 26818004

(3) Vinuesa CG et al Follicular Helper T Cells.Annu Rev Immunol. 2016 May 20;34:335-68. doi: 10.1146/annurev-immunol-041015-055605. Epub 2016 Feb 22. PMID: 26907215

Dr Sara Lopez-Gomollon (crop plant related projects) More Info

Position & Affiliation:
Research Associate. Plant Sciences

Research Interests:

I am fascinated about plant gene regulation: how the organisms respond to internal and external stimuli modifying the expression of genes at transcriptional or posttranscriptional levels. I study why hybrids are more vigorous or more productive than the parents as they often are. My main project explores the role of RNA silencing and epigenetic mechanisms using tomato as a model plant. The final aim is to gain understanding in plant breeding and improve it to obtain better crops.

- López-Gomollón, S*., Mohorianu, I*., Szittya, G., Moulton, V., Dalmay, T. “Diverse correlation patterns between microRNAs and their targets during tomato fruit development indicates different modes of microRNA actions” Planta (2012) 236: 1875-1887.

- López-Gomollon, S., Beckers, M., Rathjen, T., Moxon, S., Maumus, F., Moulton, V., Dalmay, T., Mock, T. “Global discovery and characterization of small non-coding RNAs in marine microalgae” BMC Genomics. (2014) 15:697

- Mohorianu, I., Schwach, F., Jing, R., López-Gomollón, S., Szittya, G., Moxon, S., Sorefan, K., Moulton, V., Dalmay, T. “Profiling of short RNAs during fleshy fruit development reveals highly regulated sRNAome expression patterns”. Plant Journal. (2011) 67:232-46.