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Research Project: Pediatric Clinical Nutrition

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: The collaborative African genomics network training program: A trainee perspective on training the next generation of African scientists

item MLOTSCHWA, BUSISIWE - University Of Botswana
item MWESIGWA, SAVANNAH - Makerere University
item MBOOWA, GERALD - Makerere University
item WILLIAMS, LESEDI - University Of Botswana
item RETSHABILE, GAONE - University Of Botswana
item KEKITIINWA, ADEODATA - Baylor College Of Medicine
item WAYENGERA, MISAKI - Makerere University
item KYOBE, SAMUEL - Makerere University
item BROWN, CHESTER - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item HANCHARD, NEIL - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item MARDON, GRAEME - Baylor College Of Medicine
item JOLOBA, MOSES - Makerere University
item ANABWANI, GABRIEL - University Of Botswana
item MPOLOKA, SUNUNGUKO - University Of Botswana

Submitted to: Genetics in Medicine
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/19/2016
Publication Date: 4/7/2017
Citation: Mlotschwa, B.C., Mwesigwa, S., Mboowa, G., Williams, L., Retshabile, G., Kekitiinwa, A., Wayengera, M., Kyobe, S., Brown, C.W., Hanchard, N.A., Mardon, G., Joloba, M., Anabwani, G., Mpoloka, S.W. 2017. The collaborative African genomics network training program: A trainee perspective on training the next generation of African scientists. Genetics in Medicine. 19(7):826-833.

Interpretive Summary: In this manuscript we describe the details of a 2-year training program in advanced genetic technologies offered to PhD candidates from Uganda and Botswana in Africa as part of a Collaborative African Genomics Network. The Hanchard Lab at the CNRC played a prominent role in hosting and training the visiting scholars, including providing experience with samples collection, processing and handling; extraction of DNA and RNA, as well as using specialized bioinformatics software for data analyses.

Technical Abstract: The Collaborative African Genomics Network (CAfGEN) aims to establish sustainable genomics research programs in Botswana and Uganda through long-term training of PhD students from these countries at Baylor College of Medicine. Here, we present an overview of the CAfGEN PhD training program alongside trainees' perspectives on their involvement. Historically, collaborations between high-income countries (HICs) and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), or North-South collaborations, have been criticized for the lack of a mutually beneficial distribution of resources and research findings, often undermining LMICs. CAfGEN plans to address this imbalance in the genomics field through a program of technology and expertise transfer to the participating LMICs. An overview of the training program is presented. Trainees from the CAfGEN project summarized their experiences, looking specifically at the training model, benefits of the program, challenges encountered relating to the cultural transition, and program outcomes after the first 2 years. Collaborative training programs like CAfGEN will not only help establish sustainable long-term research initiatives in LMICs but also foster stronger North-South and South-South networks. The CAfGEN model offers a framework for the development of training programs aimed at genomics education for those for whom genomics is not their first language.