At the University of Gondar, a three-member team (Drs. Ayele Gugssa and Vernon Morris and student Luis E. Martinetti) sponsored by Ermias Diro MD, director of the Leishmaniasis Research Center, implemented the Particulate Matter, Aerobiology, and Climate Study. This project combines environmental measurements and sampling with the genomic mapping of sampled airborne bacteria to characterize the human health impacts of the urban air shed. Aerobiological samples were collected in order to identify the taxonomically diverse and novel bacteria in the long-range flows through a combination of molecular, bio-imaging, and 16S rRNA gene sequencing techniques.
Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathology is a center of excellence in biomedical research and training, with which MIRT/MHIRT has collaborated for more than 14 years. The Institute carries out research in the following areas: Microbiology, Vector Biology and control, Endod and other medicinal plants, Human parasitic diseases, and Animal health and zoonotic diseases. During the 2014-2015 summer period Dr. Courtney Robinson and students, collaborating with host scientist conducted research to determine the role of the midgut microbiota in the ability of mosquitoes and phlebotomine sand flies to become vectors for malaria and leishmaniasis, respectively. These samples will be used to further characterize the microbiota associated with mosquitoes and to determine whether specific microbiota structures are associated with carrier status. Upon returning to Howard University, the team has begun to amplify bacterial genes from the DNA samples and preparing them for pyrosequencing.
Dr. Janelle Burke and students studied the ecology of phlebotomine sand flies, vectors for cutaneous leishmaniasis.
In Ethiopia, cutaneous leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease afflicting large segments of the Ethiopian population. Leishmaniasis and Malaria research will continue at this site.
Located in one of the largest and most beautiful cities in Ethiopia, Jimma University is a center of excellence in molecular, cellular, pharmaceutical, mycobacteriological, and plant biotechnology research. MHIRT faculty and students will participate in research activities at this new site.
The Molecular Biology Laboratory, directed by Dr. Zeleke Mekonnen, is interested in parasites in general and Soil-transmitted helminths in particular. This laboratory focuses on Clinical trials, diagnostic methods including molecular analysis, drug efficacy studies, innovative means towards control programs, and zoonotic transmissions of parasites. In addition, this active research program explores parasite-host interactions, parasite and immunity (Immune-modulation), and the genetic diversity of those parasites that will help us to explore drug resistance issues.
Dr. Gemeda Abebe directs the Mycobacteriology Laboratory, which is part of Mycobacteriology Research Center and the Institute of Biotechnology Research. The laboratory is particularly well equipped to identify and classify different strains of bacterial pathogens. Dr. Gemeda Abebe is interested in bacteria of medical importance in general and mycobacteria of humans and animals in particular. The focus of the research group at the mycobacteriology laboratory is on development and optimization of detection methods, molecular diagnostics, HIV, microbial genetics and genetic diversity, drug resistance, characterization of immune response to infection and molecular mechanisms of host pathogen interactions. The ultimate goal is to contribute to the control of the diseases through development of diagnostic tools and vaccines.