Makerere researcher wins 2020 Anglophone Young Investigators Award

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Dr Gerald Mboowa, a researcher at Makerere researcher has won the 2020 Anglophone Young Investigators Award.

Dr Mboowa a bioinformatics scientist at the African Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Data-Intensive Sciences of the Infectious Diseases Institute, Makerere University, was awarded €10,000 (about sh44.5m) by the Mali-based African Association for research and control of Antimicrobial Resistance (AAAMR) with funding from Institute Mérieux.

This was in recognition of his innovation, the Rapid Microbial Analysis Pipeline.

Rapid Microbial Analysis Pipeline is an automated bioinformatics tool for analysing, interpreting and tracking Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). It can exhaustively decode bacterial resistance with minimal hands involvement.

“I am so excited to be awarded the Anglophone prize for the Young Investigators Award – 2020 by the African Association for Research & Control of Anti-Microbial Resistance (AAAMR),” Mboowa says.

Furthermore, the tool can perform several functions including downloading raw sequence data from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)-Sequence Read Archive (SRA); run quality control checks; detect antibiotic resistance using a comprehensive reference database as well as novel antimicrobial resistance genes and virulence factors and create results in standard bioinformatics file formats as well as HTML reports, among others.

The Rapid Microbial Analysis Pipeline is available on GitHub, an online hosting platform for bioinformatics software development.

It is envisioned that the application of this tool for real-time detection of drug-resistant pathogens is essential to combat their (resistant pathogens) increasing threat.

Globally, drug-resistant infections could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050. In Africa, AMR has already been documented to be a problem for HIV and the pathogens that cause malaria, tuberculosis, and gonorrhoea.

Mboowa holds a bachelor of science in biomedical technology, a Master of Science in Immunology and Clinical Microbiology and a PhD in Genomics from Makerere University.

Source: New Vision

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