• Collaborating Universities: University of Minnesota, University of Washington, and University of Michigan
  • Partner Institutions: Makerere University, The Uganda Cancer Institute
  • Collaborating Research Grants: 17
  • Training Grants: 3
  • Research Themes: Infectious Disease, Child Neurodevelopment and Mental Health, Cancer, Neurological Disorders, Nutrition, Veterinary Medicine

International Institutional Partner Director:
Sarah Kiguli, MBChB, MMed
Head Department of Pediatrics and Child Health
Makerere University and Mulago Hospital

Program Contact:
Dr. Chandy John
University of Minnesota

Makerere University:

Established in 1922 as a technical school, Makerere University is one of the oldest and most prestigious Universities in Africa. In July 1970, Makerere became an independent national university of the Republic of Uganda, offering undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and currently has a student body of nearly 30,000 undergraduates and 3,000 postgraduates. In July 2011, The University became a Collegiate University, consisting of 8 Colleges and 2 Schools operating as semi-autonomous units of the University.

Makerere University has strong research collaborations with UW and UMN since 2002 (UW) and 2003 (UMN). These institutions currently partner on 24 active research studies, including 20 NIH-funded studies, and two Fogarty-funded training grants. Areas of research focus include infectious diseases (HIV, malaria, cryptococcal meningitis, herpes viruses, HHV8, zoonotic diseases), cancer, child development and mental heath, and nutrition.

UgandaThe UW and UMN D43 training grants in Uganda focus on education in HIV and connections between infection and neurodevelopment. Dr. John’s D43 training grant has a component dedicated to faculty mentor training at Makerere University, and the D43 and AITRP grants partner closely with the MEPI project at Makerere University. The MEPI project aims to increase capacity of health care workers, strengthen medical education and build clinical and research capacity at Makerere University and throughout Uganda. UMN sponsors a 2-week Global Health Institute at Makerere as part of its OneHealth Initiative, focusing on connections between ecology and human health, and the UMN RESPOND project has a center in Uganda which collaborates with the Ugandan Ministry of Health to increase capacity for detecting and responding to disease outbreaks, including zoonotic disease outbreaks.

The Uganda Cancer Institute:

The Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) is the only cancer treatment and training facility in Uganda. In Uganda, six of 10 of the most common cancers are due to infectious diseases. Because of its tremendous burden of infection-related cancers, Uganda offers a unique setting to study the impact of infections on the development and clinical course of several cancers. Dr. Lawrence Corey (Hutchinson Center president and director) has been instrumental in working with Drs. Jackson Orem (UCI director and UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance co-director) and Corey Casper (UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance co-director and Associate Member at the Hutchinson Center) to plan a new state-of-the-art facility, the first collaborative comprehensive cancer center between an African and US institution. Construction of this new US$2.5million state of the art, inpatient and outpatient cancer facility was started in October 2011.

UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance:

In 2004, Dr. Corey Casper initiated a collaboration with Dr. Jackson Orem to develop effective prevention and treatment strategies for infection-associated cancers to benefit the millions of people in Uganda, the United States and worldwide who suffer from malignancies such as Burkitt lymphoma and Kaposi sarcoma. By working closely with Ugandan researchers and oncologists, Center researchers hope to expand their knowledge of infection-related cancers and improve cancer care in Uganda and at home. The UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance developed a three-pronged approach for addressing the needs of cancer patients in Uganda: 1) conduct cutting-edge research in infection-related cancers to better understand the pathogenesis of these diseases in order to develop and test more effective, efficacious and safer treatment and prevention regimens; 2) improve clinical capacity through provision of medical support and revised clinical protocols for those with infectious cancers; and 3) train clinicians and support staff to enhance local human capacity to sustain research and clinical care activities at the site.

UgandaAs an example of past successful training, David Boulware, a former UMN Infectious Diseases fellow supported by a T32 training grant, is now a junior faculty member at UMN, with an independent U19 grant examining amphotericin treatment of cryptococcal meningitis. Similarly, David Meya, who trained with Paul Bohjanen and David Boulware at UMN, is now a faculty member at Makerere University with his own R01; Paul Bangirana, who trained with Dr. John at UMN, obtained the first pediatric neuropsychology degree awarded to a Ugandan scientist, and is now a Makerere University faculty member. Many grant-supported research activities at Makerere University emphasize a multidisciplinary approach to health and disease (e.g., HHV-8 and malignancy; neurobehavioral sequelae of severe malaria; iron deficiency; severe malaria and neurodevelopment; zoonotic sources of human disease outbreaks; neurologic complications of HIV), making Uganda an outstanding partner for Global Health Fellowship training.