Fogarty International Center Emerging Global Leader award for former CIDRI-Africa visiting post-doc

2 Oct 2018 - 14:15

CIDRI-Africa congratulates Dr Leopold Tientcheu Djomkam of the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia (MRC Unit The Gambia) at LSHTM, on his Fogarty Emerging Global Leader award. Dr Tientcheu Djomkam spent several months with the CIDRI-Africa team in 2016 and 2017 during which time he received intensive training in generating, infecting and analysing differentially polarized monocyte-derived macrophages using flow cytometry and Luminex platforms.

Leopold hypothesises that the clinical outcome of infection with different Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) lineages is determined by specific human and MTBC interactions and that tailored therapeutic approaches are therefore needed.

Under this new award he will be studying host protective immune responses to different MTBC lineages. He plans to utilise blood samples from Gambian and South African donors which will be infected with the most common MTBC lineages from both countries. He will then perform several different analyses on the blood samples, including RNA sequencing, identification of genetic and immune ­­signatures that are immunomodulatory therapeutic targets and an efficacy assessment of the drug Imatinib as an adjunctive treatment for TB.  

His mentoring team is led by Prof. Beate Kampmann (MRC Unit The Gambia) and includes Prof. Daniel Kalman (Emory University, US), Prof. Robert Wallis (Aurum Institute, South Africa), and Dr Alfred Ngwa (MRC Unit The Gambia). Leopold will spend time in both South Africa and the US during the five-year period of his award.


About the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex

Globally, MTBC divides into seven phylogeographic lineages[1]. While the modern M. tuberculosis lineages like lineage-2 and lineage-4 evolved within East Asia and Europe respectively, and successfully spread globally and back into Africa, ancient lineages such as M. africanum (Maf) lineage-5 and lineage-6 have remained specific to West Africa.

In West Africa, M. africanum (Maf)-lineage-6 causes about 40% and M. tuberculosis (Mtb)-lineage-4 60% of all TB, while in South Africa 65% of TB is caused by Mtb-lineage-4 and about 35% is attributed to Mtb-lineage-2.


About the Fogarty International Center Emerging Global Leader award

The Fogarty Emerging Global Leader award—also known by the code K43—provides support to early career researchers in low and middle income countries. The award covers salary and research costs, and facilitates capacity development in areas such as advanced research methodology, analysis and data management, and manuscript and grant writing.


[1] Comas I, Coscolla M, Luo T, Borrell S, Holt KE, Kato-Maeda M, Parkhill J, Malla B, Berg S, Thwaites G, Yeboah-Manu D, Bothamley G, Mei J, Wei L, Bentley S, Harris SR, Niemann S, Diel R, Aseffa A, Gao Q, Young D, Gagneux S. Out-of-Africa migration and Neolithic coexpansion of Mycobacterium tuberculosis with modern humans. Nature Genetics. (2013) 45(10):1176–82.