In its efforts to build the capacity of Ugandan junior faculty to conduct medical research focusing on health care disparities in rural Uganda, MURTI Project will provide Fellowships worth USD over a period of 18months to a core group of 16 junior faculty to conduct research in the areas of HIV, CVD, and Mental Health for two years. The MURTI Research Fellowship targets Junior Faculty of MUST or students who should be near completion of their training (research level). The Fellowship is openly advertised within MUST using the website, staff email and notice boards and applicants are expected to submit a concept paper detailing prior experience in research, a research objective and plan as well as a commitment to a career in research to the Office of Research Administration (FoM). The call for applications runs for a month and at least 40% of Fellows over 5 years should be women. Fellows are expected to sign a bonding agreement showing commitment to the program and to MUST for two years beyond completion of the program. The Fellows are matched to 2 mentors (one from Uganda and one from the United States – MGH/Harvard). Fellows are expected to have regular meetings with MURTI leadership in which they will be expected to demonstrate progress in their studies. Each Fellow is expected to publish his/her research findings as well as submit a grant application to NIH.
So far, MURTI has enrolled 8 junior faculty (4 in each cohort) who are building their research capacity in these key areas. These Faculty have already been inculcated into the field of research and each of them shows promising prospects to expand knowledge in their professional fields as seen in their research profiles below:
Cohort 1 – Awarded in August 2015.
A Physician and Clinical Microbiologist, Dr. T, as he is fondly called in the MUST circles is one man who enjoys his work. You wouldn’t be surprised to find him on the MUST compound rushing in between lecture rooms to deliver a lecture. He is a reknowned Biochemistry and Microbiology enthusiast with a passion for teaching and research on cryptococcal meningitis. He is very enthusiastic about a career in research and is one of the pioneers of the MURTI Fellowship program, studying the “Relation of fungal strain genotype to neurological complications in patients with HIV associated cryptococcal meningitis” as well as a second proposal where he “seeks to evaluate the trends of gene transcription following Cryptococcal meningitis.”
Dr. Scholastic Ashaba
Dr. Ashaba is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry and Coordinator of the MicroResearch Project in the Faculty of Medicine. She is a specialist in Psychiatry with research interests in mood disorders and Psychiatric complications of HIV. Dr. Ashaba is very passionate about research and this is seen in the vast number of publications and paper presentations to her name. She is currently undertaking her PhD research, studying the “Association between depression, stigma and discrimination, social support, bullying and victimisation among HIV infected adolescents in rural Uganda.”
Dr. Doreen Nakku
Dr. Nakku is a Lecturer in the Department of ENT at MUST. She boasts of a Masters’ degree in Medicine specializing in Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery, as well as a mini-Fellowship in Otology and Neurotology from the University of British Columbia (Canada); a clear indication of her expertise in the field of Otolaryngology (ENT). Dr. Nakku has strong love for research in this field, and has published a number of articles in peer reviewed journals in the field of hearing loss. Under the MURTI Fellowship, she is carrying out a study on “Sensory and neural hearing loss among HIV positive children between 6-12 years at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital.”
Dr. Dorah Nampijja
Dr. Nampijja is a Lecturer in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at MUST, and a member of Uganda Paediatrics Association. In addition to her Masters’ in Paediatrics and Child Health from MUST, she has experience in Paediatric and Neonatal Echocardiography attained from Bristol Children’s Hospital in Bristol (UK) as well as ECG interpretation attained from Uganda Heart Institute under the guidance and supervision of senior paediatric cardiologists. She also runs the paediatric cardiology clinic of Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital. Under the MURTI fellowship, Dr. Nampijja is carrying out a study titled “Patterns of Cardiac Disease and their relationship to Neurocognitive Development among Children Attending MRRH.”
Cohort 2 – Awarded in August 2016.
Dr. Esther Cathyln Atukunda
A Senior Lecturer in the Departments of Pharmacology, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at MUST, Dr. Atukunda holds a PhD in Pharmacology from MUST. Under the MURTI Fellowship, she is undertaking research on “Family Planning support and its impact on pregnancy aspirations and contraceptive use among HIV positive women delivering at MRRH.” She has published a number of papers in peer reviewed journals including studies on the use and distribution of misoprostol in Uganda as well as research on HIV among other publications.
Dr. Elizabeth Kemigisha
Dr. Kemigisha is a Lecturer in the Department of Gender and Women Health, Institute of Interdisciplinary Training and Research (IITR) at MUST. Prior to this position, she was a Lecturer in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health in the same University. Her research interests include clinical infectious diseases in children, maternal and adolescent reproductive health and HIV prevention educational programs. She has won a number of awards including the American Academy of Pediatrics (I- CATCH), Micro research /Healthy Child Uganda as well as Joint Clinical research Centre COHRE TB/HIV NIH student scholarship grant. Her Research study under the MURTI Fellowship is on “Young Adolescents HIV prevention through evaluation of the social cultural context for a sexual education program.”
Dr. Abdallah Amir
Dr. Amir is an attending Physician in Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital. He holds a Masters in Medicine (Internal Medicine) from MUST and has been a Research Fellow under the Pfizer Initiative in International Health-Center for Global Health Research Fellowship in Infectious Diseases, which was awarded by the University of Virginia (USA) in 2015. Dr. Amir aims to become a highly distinguished neurologist, researcher and student mentor. He is undertaking a research study titled “Impact of HIV infection on clinical characteristics and outcomes on stroke in Uganda.”
Jane Kasozi Namagga
Ms. Namagga holds a Masters in Nursing Science from MUST and is a Lecturer in the Department of Nursing where she is actively involved in guiding, mentoring, supervising and teaching Nursing students as well as coordinating the Master of Nursing program. Her passion for Nursing has seen her get involved as an exchange teacher in the Swedish Linnaeus-Palme Programme at Linnaeus University (Sweden) as well as being awarded the Best Lecturer (2012) in MUST. She is a member of the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council and has made a number of research publications in the field of Nursing. Under the MURTI Fellowship, Ms. Namagga is conducting a study on “HIV-associated Neurocognitive Disorders among clients attending The Aids Support Organization centre in Southwestern Uganda.”