Fellows

UB-UZ AITRP Fellows

Tinashe Mudzviti, BPharm, MPhil, University of Zimbabwe

Mentors: Dr. Chiedza Maponga and Dr. Khoza

Sponsorship: UB-UZ HRTP

As the first UB-UZ HRTP fellow, Mr. Tinashe Mudzviti applied and was accepted as a postgraduate fellow in 2009. Mr. Mudzviti has completed two mentored training periods at UB, and has returned to Zimbabwe, where he completed his research project for his Master of Philosophy degree from UZ. During year two of this award, Mr. Mudzviti has continued to analyze data from his MPhil project, “Determining the rate, nature & predictors of adverse drug reactions associated with the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in a resource limited setting (Zimbabwe)” which has received approval from the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe and the Joint Parirenyatwa Hospital and College of Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee, as well as approval from the UB Institutional Review Board (IRB). Also during year two of this award, Mr. Mudzviti applied for his DPhil from UZ. This project “Including HLA genotyping and therapeutic drug monitoring with pharmacovigilance in a resource limited setting,” has been submitted to the UZ Higher Degrees Committee. Once approval is received from the UZ offices, the project will be submitted to the UB IRB for approval.

The UB-UZ HRTP fellowship program has afforded him an opportunity to combine his ICOHRTA fellowship to make significant scientific development. He has published a number of abstracts that were also presented at scientific conferences locally and internationally. Mr. Mudzviti is responsible for running the Parirenyatwa Opportunistic Infections Clinic’s adherence and pharmacovigilance program. He has supervised at least six undergraduate students whom he coordinates with the Pari Support Group, a community-organized patient recruitment and retention project. With these undergraduate students he has been able to publish a manuscript and several other abstracts that have been presented at various conferences.

In November 2010 Mr. Mudzviti was thrust into the chairmanship of the Newlands Clinic Research Unit, where he is working on increasing the research agenda. He is taking up further work in pharmacovigilance and therapeutic drug monitoring.

 

Mqondisi Tshabalala  M.Phil, BPharm, PhD candidate, University of Zimbabwe

Mentors: Dr. Chiedza Maponga and Dr. Lynn Zijenah   

Sponsorship: UB-UZ HRTP, ICOHRTA

Mr. Mqondisi Tshabalala applied and was accepted as a pre-doctoral fellow in the UB-UZ HRTP, and is expected to begin training in the spring of 2011. Currently, Mr. Tshabalala is a lecturer in the Immunology Department at the University of Zimbabwe and a Part-time Laboratory Scientist with the Zimbabwe AIDS Prevention Programmme-University of Zimbabwe (ZAPP-UZ) under the project "Subtype C Drug Resistance and Pathogenesis Study (Collaboration with Stanford University Prof David Katzenstein). Mr. Tshabalala’s research project proposal,” Investigation of the role of HLA gene polymorphism, co-receptor usage and primary drug resistant mutations on HIV-1 disease progression among antiretroviral therapy naïve individuals with CD4+ T lymphocytes above 350 cells/μL,” has been submitted and accepted by the UZ Higher Degrees Committee. He is also a DPhil Fellow under the International, Clinical Operational and Health Services Research Training Award (ICOHRTA).

 

Nathan Madanhi  BPharm, MPhil candidate, University of Zimbabwe

Mentors: Dr. Chiedza Maponga and Dr. Qing Ma 

Sponsorship: UB-UZ HRTP

Mr. Nathan Madanhi applied and was accepted as a pre-doctoral fellow in the UB-UZ HRTP, and is expected to begin training this May. Currently, Mr. Madanhi is a Pharmacist at United Bulawayo Hospitals in Zimbabwe and an MPhil candidate at UZ. At UZ, Mr. Madanhi was recently appointed as a graduate teaching assistant or as a Lecturer grade junior faculty member under the University of Zimbabwe's Staff Development program.

Mr. Madanhi’s research project proposal, “An investigation of the pharmacokinetic properties of stavudine, lamivudine and nevirapine in a dispersible fixed dose tablet versus individual innovator paediatric formulations among HIV-1 infected Zimbabwean paediatric patients,” has been approved by the University of Zimbabwe Higher Degrees Committee, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals Joint Research and Ethics Committee and Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe.

 

Nyashadzashe Bepe BPharm, MPhil candidate, University of Zimbabwe

Mentors: Dr. Chiedza Maponga and Dr. Qing Ma

Sponsorship: UB-UZ HRTP

Mr. Nyashadzashe Gideon Bepe applied and was accepted as a postgraduate fellow in the UB-UZ HRTP in the fall of 2010. Mr. Bepe is an MPhil candidate at UZ and recently received an appointment there as a Lecturer grade junior faculty member under the University of Zimbabwe’s Staff Development program. Mr. Bepe’s research project proposal, “Investigation of Adverse Drug Reaction Profiles of Fixed-Dose Combination Antiretroviral Drug Preparations,” has been submitted to the UZ Higher Degrees Committee, and will then be submitted to the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe and the Joint Parirenyatwa Hospital and College of Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee for approval. During his initial training visit at UB, Mr. Bepe will received training and mentoring in key areas that included: Human Subjects Research Protections and Ethics;  Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic data analysis; Translational Pharmacogenomics, Health Information Technology; Scientific Writing; and Adherence Pharmacology.

Nyasha’s abstract "Patient Perceptions, Knowledge, and Practices of the Role of Nutrition in HIV/AIDS Management in a Resource Limited Setting" was accepted to the IAS conference this summer in Rome.

 

Tsitsi Grace Monera M.Phil, BPharm, PhD candidate, University of Zimbabwe

Mentors: Dr. Charles Nhachi, Dr. Gene Morse and Jill Hochreiter    

Sponsorship: UB-UZ HRTP

Ms. Tsitsi Grace Monera applied and was accepted as a pre-doctoral fellow in the UB-UZ HRTP in 2011. The goal of Tsitsi’s research is to evaluate the effect of Moringa oleifera on the pharmacokinetics of efavirenz and nevirapine in-vivo. Ms. Monera is also working on the validation of the assay methods that she will use to assay the rat and human plasma samples.

 

Takudzwa Mtisi, BMLS, MSc, University of Zimbabwe                                                          

Mentors: Dr. Lovemore Gwanzura, Dr. Gene Morse and Jill Hochreiter    

Sponsorship: UB-UZ HRTP

Mrs. Takudzwa Joylyn Mtisi applied and was accepted as a postgraduate fellow in the UB-UZ HRTP in 2009. She is currently completing her MSc in Microbiology at UZ. Mrs. Mtisi completed her initial training visit at the University at Buffalo in 2009, during year one of this award. She returned to Zimbabwe to complete her academic requirements for her project, which is part of a national drug resistance monitoring network under the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare in Zimbabwe.  Following her engagement as an HRTP trainee and her return to Zimbabwe, Mrs. Mtisi has spearheaded the development of the drug resistance monitoring laboratory had has been analyzing samples country wide.

In December 2010 she received a promotion to a Medical Laboratory Scientist position under the Global Fund’s Early Infant Diagnosis Programme. In her new role, she will be performing HIV DNA PCR for pediatric cases. The status of her AITRP participation is being reviewed and a plan for continuing her research is being developed.

 

Samuel Gavi, MS Epidemiology, BPharm, PhD candidate, University of Zimbabwe

Mentors: Dr. Lovemore Gwanzura and Dr. Gene Morse  

Sponsorship: UB-UZ HRTP

Samuel Gavi was mentored in basic research areas in 2010 by Drs. Morse and Ma with focus on the use of electronic health information technologies in the management of HIV and Tuberculosis (TB) co-infected patients in Harare, Zimbabwe.  With this guidance, Mr. Gavi established strong fundamental knowledge in the skills required to organize, analyze, interpret, monitor, and report on medication management and effects of ARV drugs in an effort to improve clinical decision making and patient care.  In addition, Mr. Gavi developed methods to evaluate existing information database silos and developed a plan to connect these systems into an integrated network.  Under the mentorship of Dr. Ma, Mr. Gavi began theoretical training on possible pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic statistical applications to data analyses, and applied statistical software tools.

In an effort to expose HRTP trainees to the various forms of electronic health information technologies and their integration into clinical and research applications, Mr. Gavi participated in monthly research meetings with researchers at the Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, the primary site of training.  Mr. Gavi was introduced to the concept of clinical data networks and the organization of clinical data for research purposes to promote translational research and improve efficiency of data collection, storage, and analysis.  He became aware of the issues related to lack of uniformity of data collection systems, data integration between systems, redundancy between systems, data access and delivery, and regulatory compliance.  Mr. Gavi received overview presentations on the use of smartphone technology and telemedicine for patient monitoring and data collection and seamless transfer to electronic health records.  Orientation to these technologies has allowed him to explore potential avenues for pharmacoeconomic and health economic outcomes analyses in addition to pharmacoepidemiology analysis of ART and TB treatment outcomes in Zimbabwe.

Mr. Gavi presented a poster titled “Establishing a Health Information Technology Network for HIV and TB Medication Management Research” at the University of Rochester Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) 2nd Annual World AIDS Days Scientific Symposium.  He also visited AIDS Community Services of Western New York to gain knowledge on the use of electronic health records for clinical practice and support services to patients.  He was also oriented to the ECHO software, a data mining software created from the clinic’s segregated programs to allow for researchers to gain access to de-identified data on a large pool of infected and at very high risk for HIV/AIDS patients for querying and research purposes. He received tutorials on their database structure, flow of data, monitoring, development of electronic case report forms, and quality assurance programs.

As part of the AITRP supplement, Mr. Gavi is finalizing a Health Information Technology module designed specifically for HIV research and management.  The education module incorporates pre-test and post-test sections to determine the effectiveness of the module for AITRP trainees.  This module will be available online to future AITRP trainees for completion at the commencement of their training period.

During Mr. Gavi’s training period in year two, he submitted several abstracts to national conferences, manuscript for publication, and is currently finalizing several other manuscripts for submission to journals.  He has also drafted a grant proposal to request funding for his proposed research to establish an international network for using health information technology to conduct HIV and TB research for HIV and TB co-infected patients in Zimbabwe.  Mr. Gavi is currently developing a working group in Zimbabwe with key personnel to discuss the current state of systems and process for integration in addition to developing data analysis tools to monitor treatment outcomes.

 

Tsitsi Hamandawana BPharm, MPhil candidate, University of Zimbabwe

Fellowship Program: UB-UZ HRTP

Ms. Tsitsi Hamandawana applied and was accepted as a pre-doctoral fellow in the UB-UZ HRTP in 2012. The goal of Tsitsi’s research is to evaluate the effect of nutrition status on the adverse drug reaction profiles of antiretroviral and anti-tuberculosis drugs in HIV-1 infected paediatric patients. She had her first UB visit between August and November 2012 where she developed her research proposal with the assistance of the UB team. When she came back to UZ, she finalized the requirements and submitted her application to gain approval from the Joint Research and Ethics Committee (JREC). In 2013, following approval of her project from the UB IRB, Tsitsi will begin reviewing medical records to collect a complete dataset for analysis. She plans to return to UB for mentoring in data analysis and development of her HRTP project. She will return to Zimbabwe to continue courses and research toward her MPhil.

 

Dexter Chagwena BSc Nutrition, MPhil candidate, University of Zimbabwe

Fellowship Program: UB-UZ HRTP

Mr. Dexter Chagwena applied and was accepted as a pre-doctoral fellow in the UB-UZ HRTP in 2011. Dexter’s research goal is to compare the response to cART among malnourished and well-nourished paediatric patients. Dexter completed his initial training period at UB in May 2012 and has used the knowledge for his daily research and teaching at UZ. Some of his accomplishments during this year include receiving an in-country scholarship from the German Exchange Service programme (DAAD). This is an in-country research training grant for one year that supports postgraduate students from developing countries.

Mr. Dexter Chagwena, a pre-doctoral fellow, returned to Buffalo for his second training visit during summer 2013. Dexter has been working on his research project aimed at evaluating the influence of nutritional status on outcomes of cART among pediatric HIV and TB infected patients receiving ARVs. His primary goals for the second visit include developing analysis tools for dietary evaluation of HIV pediatric patients on cART through the assistance of Dr. Peter Horvath's nutrition team. Dexter is also developing an in-depth nutritional pharmacology research agenda that include both laboratory nutrition biomarkers assay development that can be used to predict HIV adverse outcomes and nutrition clinical outcomes assessed to improve efficacy of ART among pediatric patients. Dexter has been involved in mentoring other UB and UZ students with interest in nutrition pharmacology mainly focusing on traditional herbal remedies and how they impact ARV drug metabolism among malnourished and well-nourished patients.

 

Marvelous Sibanda BPharm, MPhil candidate, University of Zimbabwe

Fellowship Program: UB-UZ HRTP

Mr. Marvelous Sibanda applied and was accepted as a pre-doctoral fellow in the UB-UZ HRTP in 2011. The goals of his research are to study factors influencing AST/ALT levels and nevirapine plasma concentrations in HIV-infected children on cART in a resource limited setting, to study the effects of age, nutritional status, herbal medicines, HBV and/or HCV on AST/ALT levels and nevirapine plasma concentrations, and evaluate any significant relationship between AST/ ALT plasma levels with plasma nevirapine concentrations in HIV-infected children stable on cART.

 

Dr. Admire Dube PhD, Monash University

Fellowship Program: UB-UZ HRTP

Dr. Admire Dube applied and was accepted as a pre-doctoral fellow in the UB-UZ HRTP in 2012. Dr. Dube research project is titled, Multimodal nanoparticle systems for tuberculosis chemotherapy. During his UB visits, Dr Dube formulated Chitosan (CS) shell, poly(lactide)co-glycolide (PLGA) core nanospheres functionalized with 1,3-β-glucan (Glu-CS-PLGA) to provide enhanced intracellular rifampicin concentrations with concurrent immunomodulation through stimulation of ROS/RNS and pro-inflammatory cytokine release in human alveolar like macrophages (ALM).

 

Tariro Sithole BPharm, MPhil candidate, University of Zimbabwe

Fellowship Program: UB-UZ HRTP

Ms. Tariro Sithole applied and was accepted as a pre-doctoral fellow in the UB-UZ HRTP in 2012. Tariro completed her UB training visit in October 2012, which was shortened to six weeks due to academic and employment obligations. Her objectives were to learn different methods of making nanoparticles, nanoparticle characterization methods and HPLC assay development and validation. In May 2012, she submitted an MPhil proposal for registration with the University of Zimbabwe and her research was titled “Nanoparticle delivery systems for the enhanced bioavailability of the antimalarial compound Artemether”. As a result of her initial training visit at UB, she changed her topic to, “Super-paramagnetic nanoparticles for the enhanced intracellular concentrations of drugs used in HIV/AIDS and TB.”  Since her return to UZ from UB, she has drafted a new proposal for submission to the University of Zimbabwe for registration. The proposal is currently being reviewed by her supervisor. She also hopes to travel to UB in the second half of the year to carry out her laboratory experiments and receive mentoring on formulation and characterization of the nanoparticles, investigation of intracellular uptake by macrophages and CD4+ cells, pharmacokinetics of the drugs in the cells, in vitro drug release at different pHs and HPLC assay method development and validation. She also hopes to begin statistical analysis of her results.

 

Faithful Chingombe BSc Applied Biology & Chemistry, MPhil candidate, University of Zimbabwe

Fellowship Program: UB-UZ HRTP

The UB Translational Pharmacology Research Core (TRPC) is pleased to welcome Ms. Faithful Chingombe.  Ms. Chingombe is a MPhil candidate at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and a Fellow in the UB-UZ AIDS International Training & Research Program (UB-UZ HRTP). She is currently receiving mentored research training at the TPRC for her research project, “Development of a Nanoformulated Antiretroviral Triple Combination and Investigation of In-vitro Uptake by Macrophages.”

 

 

UB-NU HRTP Fellows

Dr. Fatai Fehintola

Mentors:  Dr. Gene Morse and Dr. Qing Ma

Sponsorship: UB/Northwestern HRTP

Dr. Fatai Fehintola completed a customized HIV Clinical Pharmacology module in 2009 as part of a collaborative program between the UB HRTP, the Northwestern University HRTP and the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. This training module was developed to meet the needs of an investigator with a focus on HIV-malaria treatment research, and has led to an entire new program of collaboration. During 2010, the UB HRTP continued to collaborate with Dr. Fehintola to produce a manuscript, which has now been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Current Drug Metabolism, and to submit a grant application to the NIH. Dr. Fehintola has also written a protocol to evaluate drug interactions between HIV medications and malaria medications. The project has IRB approval, is fully enrolled and the samples are currently being assayed.

 

Dr. Reginald Obiako

Mentors:  Dr. Gene Morse and Dr. Qing Ma

Sponsorship: UB/Northwestern HRTP

Dr. Reginald Obiako is a physician/neurologist at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) in Zaria, Nigeria. He also has a MS in pharmacology and is a Fellow in the West African College of Physicians for both internal medicine and clinical pharmacology. He is an active clinician at the ABUTH HIV clinic, with which NU provides clinical support through the Harvard PEPFAR program, is head of clinic's toxicology and ARV switch committees, and is actively involved with the hospital's pharmacovigilance efforts. His current research interests include the evaluation of drug interactions between ARVs and carbamazepine in HIV-infected patients with new-onset seizure disorders. Dr Obiako joins us at the UB TPRC for additional training in clinical pharmacology to support his efforts to establish a clinical pharmacology facility in his own university. 

The UB-NU HRTP collaboration provides a mentored training experience for clinical pharmacologists from Nigeria here at UB and at NU. This collaborative initiative is funded by a recent NIH grant from the Fogarty International Center for an AIDS International Training and Research Program (HRTP). The HRTP collaboration will also contribute to the development of a new clinical pharmacology laboratory at Ibadan University in Nigeria.

Currently Dr. Obiako is a fellow at the Nigerian National Postgraduate Medical College, Head of Neurology Unit and acting head of Clinical Pharmacology Unit of ABUTH Zaria.

 

Dr Obaro Michael

Mentors:  Dr. Gene Morse and Dr. Qing Ma

Sponsorship: UB/Northwestern AITRP

Dr. Obaro Michael, a visiting Fellow from the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, completed training at the UB TPRC as part of a collaboration between Northwestern University and the University at Buffalo AIDS International Training & Research Program, funded by a NIH grant from the Fogarty International Center. He is a faculty member in the Department of Pharmacology & therapeutics at the University of Ibadan College of Medicine, and is currently a Fellow in NU’s AIDS Neuropharmacology program. Dr Michael’s research interests include pharmacokinetic analysis of drug levels in the body and correlations with treatment outcomes and adverse drug reactions. His training at the UB TPRC will focus on pharmacokinetic and pharmacogenomic analyses.

 

IPERI FELLOWS

Dr. Titilayo Fakeye

Mentors: Dr. Gene Morse and Dr. Qing Ma

Sponsorship: IPERI

Dr. Titilayo Fakeye currently teaches Bachelor of Pharmacy students in topics including documentation of patient’s care activities, patient review process, clinical pharmacokinetics lectures such as pharmacokinetics of drugs in liver and renal impairment; pharmacotherapeutics of selected tropical diseases,  and pharmacy laws & ethics. At postgraduate MSc (Clinical Pharmacy) level, I teach selected clinical pharmacokinetic topics, documentation and methodology of research activities.

Her research focus includes surveys into drug use among different populations, attitude of patients to use of herbal agents, and tendency to co administer conventional and herbal medicines. The need to evaluate and note herb use when a patient’s drug medication history is being taken, and proper counseling of patients on herb use when drugs are being dispensed has been unearthed. We are also trying to relate some of the adverse drug reactions to the use of non-prescribed medicines and herb use. Ongoing studies involve evaluating the mechanism of these interactions with emphasis on those suspected to be due to activity of cytochrome P450 isozymes.

Impact of pharmacist’s intervention on adherence among patients with chronic diseases are also being studied. On-going and future studies will focus on the effect of pharmacist-intervention in different disease states especially chronic diseases such as hypertension, asthma and anxiety/panic disorders.

 

Dr. Sarah Nanzigu

Mentors: Dr. Gene Morse and Dr. Qing Ma

Sponsorship: IPERI

Dr. Sarah Nanzigu is presently an Assistant Lecturer in the Pharmacology Department of the Makerere University College of Health Sciences in Uganda.  There she does health service training and provision as well as clinical research.  Her interests include HIV and other diseases endemic in her area.  The two journal articles she has published in 2011 are: CD4-T-Lymphocyte reference ranges in Uganda and its influencing factors. Journal of Lab Medicine 2011 and HIV/AIDS patients display lower efavirenz relative bioavailability compared to healthy volunteers.  Journal of Clinical   Pharmacokinetics in press 2011.