Core Team

These are the individuals responsible for the smooth running of MURTI’s operations to ensure success of the Program goals and aims. They are highly skilled and efficient in the execution of their duties, and go to great lengths to achieve success under the MURTI Program.

Project Director 1 - Prof. Celestino Obua           

Professor Celestino Obua is a Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics and Academic Administrator. He is the current Vice Chancellor of Mbarara University of Science and Technology. Prior to that, he served as the Deputy Principal of Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS) where he supervised financial management and project implementation. As Co-Investigator of the MEPI-MESAU consortium from which MURTI has evolved, he has been responsible for implementing trans-disciplinary mentored research across sites. With his well documented experience and expertise in the development of productive research training initiatives, Prof. Obua leads the MURTI Program as Project Director 1. His role is to give overall leadership and oversight of project activities.         

Project Director 2 - Assoc. Prof. Samuel Maling

Assoc. Prof. Maling is the current Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at MUST. He has also been a Co-Investigator for the MEPI-MESAU award to MUST which was hosted in the Faculty of Medicine, with his role being administrative and financial management. As the Faculty Dean, he is responsible for the training of medical doctors, pharmacists, nurses etc in the Faculty as well as providing overall management of the Faculty in strategic planning, financial stewardship, staff recruitment and retention. He acts as the link between the Faculty and the main University Administration.  On the MURTI Program, he serves as Project Director 2, responsible for day to day management of the program, meeting with MURTI Fellows to monitor their progress as well as ensure the progress of the Program.          

Research Manager, ORA FoM - Edith Wakida (BIFA, PGD, MA, MRA)

Edith Wakida is a professional research administrator in the Office of Research Administration (ORA), Faculty of Medicine. With a Masters of Research Administration (MRA) from the University of Central Florida, USA, she owes her success to MEPI-MESAU. Since 2012 when Edith Wakida joined MUST, she has had a number of research related accomplishments including setting up the ORA-Faculty of Medicine, coordinating and participating in the development of the ORA strategic plan, the Centralized Research Innovations and Management Office (CIRIMO) strategic plan, Grants Management Manual, and the MUST Research Policy. She provides pre and post award research support to faculty and researchers; and is an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) with signing official rights to submit grant applications, and research performance progress reports to the US government on behalf of Mbarara University.

In the ORA-Faculty of Medicine, Edith Wakida identifies funding opportunities, supports team formation, works with the teams during proposal development and submits the applications that need to go to the US government for funding. She coordinates the management and administration of the successful grants submitted through the ORA in liaison with the MUST Grants Office where the finances and human resource are managed. Edith assembled and submitted (i) the Mbarara University Research Training Initiative (MURTI) grant application in 2014 which saw MUST win a $3M dollar award (D43TW010128) under the leadership of Prof. Celestino Obua and Dr. Samuel Maling; (ii) Dr. Angella Musiimenta grant (K43TW010388) in 2015; and (iii) the Mbarara University Research Ethics Education (MUREEP) grant application R25 TW010507 in 2016 which is in the offing.

Edith Wakida is a member of the Society of Research Administrators (SRA) International, the East African Research Innovations and Management Association (EARIMA), and the Uganda Research Innovations and Management Association (URIMA), all recognized professional bodies. She has attended and presented at research administration international conferences like SRA, and the International Network of Research Managers (INORMS), and is part of the Development Research Uptake in Sub Saharan Africa (DRUSSA) network whose aim is to promote research uptake and communication. She is currently a PhD student at Makerere University Kampala on the Mak-Sida Bi-lateral program. She has a strong passion for research administration and management as well as implementation science (how policy options are being up taken by stakeholders).

Project Manager - Samantha Mary                     

Samantha Mary is the Project Manager for the MURTI Program, tasked with developing and monitoring the MURTI Work plan, presenting quarterly Program progress to the Program Implementation Committee (PIC) and Training Advisory Committee (TAC) among other roles. In addition to her strong managerial and M&E skills, she is a highly trained Research Administrator who has participated in various training workshops including Grants Policy and Management training and Scientific Manuscript Writing. She is a Certified Research Administrator, having obtained the much coveted Post Graduate Diploma in Research Administration from University of Central Florida, USA. Ms. Samantha is passionate about research, as evidenced by the number of publications to her name, some of which include “Undergraduate students’ contributions to health service delivery through community based education: A qualitative study by the MESAU Consortium in Uganda” and “Gaps and gains from engaging districts stakeholders for community-based health professions education in Uganda: a qualitative study

Training Coordinator - Keith Asiime       

Keith Asiime is a Training Coordinator on the MURTI Program, with the responsibility of tracking trainee retention, ensuring all trainees’ work is conducted in compliance with institutional and international ethical standards, developing and managing Trainee and mentor budgets, scheduling training courses, and ensuring all program transactions are in compliance with donor regulations. A member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, he is the go-to person at MURTI for budget development and monitoring. Mr. Asiime has attended numerous trainings and conferences in Research Administration, and is also a Certified Research Administrator with a focus on Intellectual Property law, Patents and Financial Management in Research Administration from the University of Central Florida, USA. He is a free thinker, satisfied by creating sustainable solutions to challenges in his profession and always eager to learn.

Research Administrator - Arnold Mindra                                             

Arnold Mindra is a Research Administrator with over 4 years’ experience in pre- and post-award grants management. He joins MUST as a Research Administrator for MURTI Project, from Gulu University in Northern Uganda where he has held many roles including Grants Officer, Project Administrator and REC Administrator.  Some of his achievements include the successful submission of over 5 grant submissions to NIH, Grand Challenges Explorations as well as WHO-TDR by different Principal Investigators. From his stellar performance in Grants management, he was given additional roles as Project Administrator for MEPI MESAU Project in Gulu University as well as Administrator of the Gulu University Research Ethics Committee. Mr. Mindra’s experience in dealing with different funders as well as Research Administration skills, adds value to an existing vibrant team of Research Administrators in MUST who dedicate their efforts to transforming the University into a centre of Research excellence.

Administrative Assistant and Driver – Eric Mbusa

Eric Mbusa is an Administrative Assistant and Driver for the MURTI Program. He has a wealth of experience, having held the same position for four years on the MEPI-MESAU Project that has just ended in the Faculty of Medicine. He is very handy in ensuring effective delivery of MURTI programs which include ensuring safe transportation and delivery of MURTI officials and documents, liaising with the procurement division in the procurement process, following up MURTI payments, providing assistance in organizing training workshops and meetings among other duties. Mr. Mbusa is a very knowledgeable individual, with the ability to provide required and relevant information on time as well as run routine office tasks.