Supporting clinicians and researchers
Capacity building is an important component of our work. Over the years, we’ve helped our partners in malaria-endemic countries to build their capacity to undertake ethics research, develop standardised methods for sampling and laboratory procedures, and perform genetic data analysis.
Our capacity building activities have included a Data Bursary Scheme and support to collaborative research networks. We also assist our partners and the broader scientific community through hands-on scientific courses and workshops, methods development, and by creating online data analysis tools, and by providing one-on-one support.
Between 2006 and 2010, we ran a Data Bursary Scheme to support for researchers in malaria-endemic countries to develop capacity for statistics and genetic data analysis. Participants were known as MalariaGEN Data Fellows, and often helped to manage data for a specific partner study.
We’ve been involved with a number of Wellcome Trust Workshops and Advanced Courses, many taught overseas in malaria-endemic areas. We’ve also organised several MalariaGEN trainings and data analysis workshops — a tradition that continues within projects.
Our annual gathering, the Genomic Epidemiology of Malaria (GEM) meeting, is an important opportunity to connect with our community. By tradition GEM alternates between an open conference in the even years and an invitation-only retreat in the odd years.
For more than a decade, MalariaGEN has operated at the forefront of genomics research into malaria. The capacity we’ve built – alongside the policies we’ve developed, methods we’ve pioneered, our engaged approach to research – reaches beyond the bounds of our projects. This work has set an example for other large-scale data-sharing networks, such as the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN), Human Heredity and Health in Africa Initiative (H3 Africa) and the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC).
Plasmodium Diversity Network Africa
Through our collaboration with the MRC Centre for Genomics and Global Health and the P. falciparum Community Project, we also support the Plasmodium Diversity Network Africa (PDNA), an African-led research network that is investigating genetic diversity and drug resistance in malaria parasites.
Global Health Bioethics Network (GHBN)
Inspired by MalariaGEN’s efforts to build scientific capacity – particularly the Data Fellows Scheme – Prof Mike Parker and his colleagues at the Ethox Centre formed the Global Health Bioethics Network (GHBN). The network was founded with a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award that funds a five-year programme of ethics research and capacity building with Wellcome Trust’s Major Overseas Programmes in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Thailand-Laos, and Vietnam.
We're working to overcome the technical challenges involved in sequencing parasite DNA isolated directly from the blood of malaria patients. Ultimately, the goal is to develop methods that result in the production of good quality parasite sequence data, even from samples with low parasite densities.