Mission and Objectives
The major objectives of the Howard University- MHIRT program are to train and provide innovative research opportunities for highly qualified underrepresented minorities in the following disciplines/area:
1. Parasite and Host Factors in the pathogenesis of severe malaria.
2. Human Genome studies in search for genetic biomarkers for emerging and existing diseases in African populations, and mapping of genomic variations in response to drug therapies associated with diseases.
3. To study blood, water, air, and soil-borne diseases including leishmaniasis, malaria, tuberculosis, schistosomiasis, and host-parasite relationships and vector transmission and treatment.
4. To study atmospheric and climatic influences on the long-range transport of pathogens in air-borne dust particles originating in the Sahara.
Chloroquine versus Artemisin Combination Therapy against Malaria in Missira.
Haidera conducting GPS imaging studies at Missira Correlation of the prevalence of Hemoglobin S, anemia, and Plasmodium falciparum malarial infection among children in the villages Sirakoroba and Kolokani, Mali by Nicole Ramsey, Moussa Cisse, Boubacar Diallo, M.D., Ousmane Koita, Ph.D.
BIOMATHEMATICS OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES
MHIRT researchers use techniques from the fields of mathematics, statistics and computer science to develop and analyze mathematical models motivated by questions in population ecology, disease dynamics, immunology, developmental and cell biology. The use of mathematical modeling and actual disease data to study the impact of behavioral changes, epidemiological factors, isolation, quarantine, vaccination and other disease control measures on HIV/AIDs and malaria disease transmission dynamics in Africa remains an important objective of the MHIRT program. These mathematical models are also used in the training of future MHIRT researchers. [A bovine babesiosis model with dispersion by Avner Friedman and Abdul-Aziz Yakubu, Bull. Math. Biol. (2014) 76:98-135].
HUMAN GENOME STUDIES
Human Genome studies in search of genetic biomarkers for emerging and existing diseases in African populations and mapping of genomic variations in response to drug therapies associated with diabetes, cerebral malaria, brain neuropathies, and hemoglobinopathies, including sickle cell anemia will be investigated at the University of Ghana College of Medicine and Korle Bu sites.
Plasmodium falciparum malaria is a leading cause of death worldwide. Pregnant women living in malaria endemic areas are at risk of malaria infection in their first or second pregnancies. Malaria in pregnancy is characterized by the sequestration of P. falciparum infected red blood cells in the maternal placenta’s intervillous vascular space. Placental malaria infection causes low birth weight, pre-term delivery, intrauterine growth retardation and neonatal mortality. Low birth weight associated with malaria in pregnancy is estimated to result in 100,000 infant deaths in Africa each year. Although current anti-malarial treatments are effective in targeting parasites, recent studies have shown that the pathogenesis of severe malaria is not only due to parasitemia but also to parasite derived factors and host factors such as heme as a result of hemolysis and its catabolizing enzyme heme oxgenase-1 (HO-1). Active research on this subject is being carried out at the MHIRT Korle BU site in Ghana.