To help fight the tuberculosis and HIV epidemics facing the world, the University at Buffalo Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences will partner with the University of the Western Cape to launch a tuberculosis treatment and nanomedicine development program, and with the University of Zimbabwe to expand cancer- and behavioral health-related HIV research programs.
The treatments developed through the research collaboration with the University of the Western Cape aim to slow the spread of tuberculosis, which is the leading infectious cause of death worldwide, killing 1.7 million people each year, according to the World Health Organization.
The program is funded by a 2017 Emerging Global Health Leaders Award presented to Admire Dube, Ph.D., senior lecturer at the University of the Western Cape, by the U.S. National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center.
The five-year award provides 12 early-career faculty with $5 million in research support, career development activities and access to mentorship from U.S. researchers.
Eugene Morse, Pharm.D., SUNY Distinguished Professor in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and director of the Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences, will serve as Dube's primary mentor.
Additional mentors include Mervin Meyer, Ph.D., professor at the University of the Western Cape, Muazzam Jacobs, Ph.D., professor at the University of Cape Town, and Samantha Sampson, Ph.D., associate professor at Stellenbosch University.
Along with the University of Zimbabwe, a team of researchers from the Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences also received two awards totaling $300,000 from the Fogarty International Center to expand the HIV Research Training Program.
The program, which calls on faculty from both universities to provide University of Zimbabwe scholars with mentored training in HIV research, will expand to include cancer- and behavioral health-related research areas.
"Cancer is common among patients with HIV and AIDS and remains an important area for capacity-building throughout Africa," said Morse, also co-director of the SUNY Global Health Institute. "And there is a global recognition that a vision for the end of the HIV epidemic must include behavioral strategies that promote prevention of HIV transmission and adherence to lifelong antiretroviral medications."
The funding will allow the program to train additional University of Zimbabwe graduate students and faculty, including the program's first behavioral health research scholar.
The UB team of participating faculty include Morse; Gale Burstein, M.D., Erie County health commissioner and clinical professor in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB; Sarahmona Przybyla, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions; Robin DiFrancesco, research assistant professor, and Joshua Sawyer, Pharm.D., clinical assistant professor, both in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Chiedza Maponga, Pharm.D., director of the School of Pharmacy in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Zimbabwe, will also participate.
The Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences is an international hub for addressing global health challenges through pharmacological research and drug and vaccine development. The center brings together faculty from research, clinical and applied programs to promote drug discovery, advance nanotechnology applications and develop sustainable business models for products and services for the global health market.