International partners and collaborators

Research team @ MRC Gambia Unit

MRC-gambia  Established in The Gambia in 1947, the MRC is the UK's single largest investment in medical research in a developing country. The Unit's research focuses on infectious diseases of immediate concern to The Gambia and the continent of Africa, with the aim of reducing the burden of illness and death in the country and the developing world as a whole.

Our research informs the next generation of vaccine development, supported by molecular data from pathogen surveillance and insights into host responses.

In addition, research on TB represents an important proportion of the research portfolio. The aim is to identify key factors associated with susceptibility and protection in adults and children, including the role of mycobacterial strains and epidemiological factors for transmission of TB within households, through our well established TB case-control platform. The insights from longitudinal household studies are essential to design improved vaccines and diagnostics for TB.

Research Team

leopoldDr Leopold Tientcheu is an MRC postdoctoral scientist in the Vaccinology Theme at the MRC Unit, The Gambia. He is studying how different M. tuberculosis complex strains (e.g M. africanum and M. tuberculosis) influence tuberculosis pathogenesis, host immune responses and outcomes of anti-TB chemotherapy in both adults and children in order to improve TB treatment.

Previously: PhD in Immunology of Mycobacteria, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

 saikou Saikou Y Bah is a PhD student studying the involvement of lipid metabolism in tuberculosis. The project will look at the transcriptome of whole blood infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis/ M bovis (BCG) following addition of different lipid related compounds.

Previously: MSc Bioinformatics and systems biology, University of Manchester BSc with first class honours in Microbiology, University of Manchester. Senior Laboratory technician, Medical Research Council, The Gambia Unit.



Dr Uzochukwu Egere is leading the Epidemiology and Clinical aspect of the Childhood TB studies at the MRC Unit the Gambia from which he is doing a PhD in International Health based at the Centre for International Health University of Munich, Germany. His study is on Contact tracing and Isoniazid prophylaxis for prevention of childhood TB in the Gambia.

Previously: Research Clinician, Pneumococcal carriage studies, Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia.



Children’s health is important for Europe’s future. Today’s children are citizens, future workers, future parents and future carers. Children depend on good health services. But these are structured differently throughout the European Union, and there is little research into what works best. To help every child benefit from optimum health care, the MOCHA project will perform a systematic, scientific evaluation of the types of health care that exist.


Prof Mitch Blair - is Professor of Paediatrics and Child Public Health and Undergraduate Course lead for Paediatrics and Child Health in the Division of Paediatrics since 2005. Professor Blair is a consultant paediatrician and specialist in child public health working from Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow. He has a background in medical education, epidemiology and health services research. His primary research interests are in preventive child health programmes, child health indicators and international child health services research. He is currently Principal Investigator of a €7 million EU Horizon 2020 project, MOCHA, which is exploring models of primary care provide the best health outcomes for Europe's children. He also co-leads the early years theme of the North West London CLAHRC together with Professor John Warner.

DeniseDr Denise Alexander - is Research Coordinator at MOCHA project.

She is a PhD from Maastricht University, Department of International Health, School for Public Health and Primary Care.

Dr Alexander is currently working as the research coordinator on the EU funded MOCHA project, based at Imperial College London. Her main research interests are child health and child public health, preventive health action and policy, international health, measurement of health and lifestyle influences and health indicators.

Previously, she has worked as a researcher on a number of large European Union-funded projects:

  • Models of Child Health Appraised (MOCHA)
  • Research Inventory of Child Health in Europe (RICHE)
  • Tools to Address Childhood Trauma Injury and Children’s Safety (TACTICS)
  • Public Health Action for a Safer Europe (PHASE)
  • The Scientific Platform Project on Lifestyle Determinants of Obesity
  • Supported Socialisation for People with Serious Mental Illness
  • Child Health Indicators for Life and Development (CHILD)

Paediatric TB network Europe

ptbnet logoptbnet is an international network of paediatricians promoting clinical orientated research  in the field of childhood tuberculosis by sharing and developing ideas and research protocols.

 The aims of the network are:

  • to enhance the understanding of the pediatric aspects of active and latent tuberculosis

  • to facilitate collaborative research studies for childhood TB in Europe

  • to provide expert opinion through excellence in science and teaching

  • to harmonise health care delivery/approaches within Europe

  • to establish an evidence base for diagnosis and treatment of TB in children

The group has annual meetings and is currently setting up a shared database system, which will facilitate clinical trials amongst its members. Ptbnet is represented on the steering committee of TBnet and is already conducting a number of ongoing collaborative research studies between the members.

There is also a forum for pTBnet members set up via a google group e-mail address where we regularly exchange case discussions and information relevant to pediatric TB and the network members, incl meeting reports, guideline and practice discussions. Each country has a dedicated country representative who can be contacted by prospective new members who might wish to join.

The ptbnet (pediatric branch of the TBnet) was established in 2009. It works in close collaborations with the TBnet and is also supported by ESPID and the European pediatric infectious diseases network (PentID). It currently comprises pediatric clinicians, scientists and epidemiologists from 25 countries within Europe. We are working towards a structure where each country will be represented by a core of clinician, epidemiologist and laboratory expert in childhood TB.

Paediatricians based Overseas

alisonProf. Alison Elliot is a Professor of Tropical Medicine and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, head of the Co-infection Studies research programme at the MRC/Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) Unit and director of the Makerere University – UVRI research training programme in Infection and Immunity.  She became interested in parasitology and research in Africa as an undergraduate and this interest was encouraged further, by an elective in The Gambia.  After completing medical training she joined the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and, during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, undertook studies on the interaction between tuberculosis and HIV infection in Zambia.  An infectious diseases fellowship in Denver, Colorado, followed, providing an opportunity to learn about management of MDR-TB and about laboratory immunology.  This enabled her to plan and conduct subsequent clinical-immuno-epidemiological studies.  Since 1997 she has been based in Uganda at the Uganda Virus Research Institute.  Current interests focus on interactions between co-infections, and on the effects of helminth infection on immune responses to vaccines and on infectious and allergic disease incidence in children in Uganda; and on research capacity building in Africa.

susan george Dr Susan George’s research interests in child health include understanding the risk factors for paediatric neuro-disability in resource poor settings, the social attitudes towards childhood neurological problems and understanding ways to develop sustainable, local solutions for children with neuro-disability through tapping into existing local networks & resources.

Her current research in Kilifi, Kenya, with Prof Brian Neville (University College London) and Prof Charles Newton (Univ of Oxford) investigates the neurodevelopmental consequences of possible severe bacterial infections in the neonatal period among children living in coastal Kenya. This is a collaborative work with Kenyan Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust Collaborative Research Programme (Kenya) and the Institute of Child Health at University College London.

Dr George’s interest in child neurology & neuro-disability stemmed from her experience during her community based research in childhood neuro-disability with Prof M C Mathews during her medical training at Christian Medical College- Vellore in South India. She undertook Paediatric training in Glasgow, Leicester and Newcastle upon Tyne, and is currently working as a Clinical fellow in Paediatric Neurology & Neurodisability at the Imperial College NHS Healthcare Trust.

She also works with NGOs in Nepal and India, providing clinical advise on management of children with neurological problems.

Dr George has a Masters degree in Bioengineering, and has undertaken research work in collaboration with the Bioengineering Unit, Strathclyde University (Glasgow) and industrial partners Ineos ChlorVinyls, investigated the biocompatibility of beta cyclodextrin modified PVC bio-materials.


Patricia Kingori, PhD is a University Research Lecturer and is a Wellcome Trust Biomedical Society and Ethics Fellow at the Ethox Centre, University of Oxford. Patricia is a sociologist with particular interest in frontline practitioners of biomedical research such as fieldworkers, the everyday meaning of research and ethics in practice. Patricia is also interested in how research involving children navigates dilemmas and the types of solutions research practitioners identify as being useful in different contexts. This work has taken place in East Africa but has recently extended its focus to South East Asian and West African countries.

Patricia has also worked in UK healthcare settings and is currently involved in a study examining whether austerity measures have shaped the practice and values of frontline healthcare professionals in the UK. Her work has been published in Social Science and Medicine, Current Sociology and Anthropology and Medicine.

At the Ethox Centre, Patricia also teaches and supervises students.  As part of the her work on the Wellcome Trust Strategic Award, Patricia is involved in providing social science training and support to its five major overseas programmes in South East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is also part of the Global Health Bioethics Network. Email:

AnitaAnita van den Biggelaar is originally from the Netherlands where she completed her Master in Biomedical Sciences and PhD at the Faculty of Medicine, Leiden University. She currently work at the Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, Australia.

Anita currently works as Centre Manager (Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases) & Sr Research Fellow.

Her current research focus is on maternal and neonatal vaccination strategies to induce the earliest possible protection against serious infectious diseases in infants in low-income countries.  She is involved in conductin proof-of-concept clinical studies including detailed state-of-the-art immunological evaluations to understand mechanisms of protection.

Her main focus of earlier work has been the characterizing of early life immune development in different environmental settings (affluent versus adverse) and the influence of in utero exposures. She is continuing this work with colleagues at the Telethon Kids Institute who are currently identifying in mice models the immunological mechanisms responsible for the detrimental inflammatory response induced by infections in pregnancy and the longitudinal consequences this has for the pregnancy, mothers, and pups. A next step is to confirm that the same immunological mechanisms apply to humans, and to translate this knowledge to new, simple interventions that can suppress harmful inflammatory response in pregnancy.

Hans-Joerg Lang qualified in paediatrics and paediatric intensive care medicine in the UK. Since 2001 he spent several years working in different projects in Africa (Namibia, Uganda/Kenya, Malawi, Mali, DR-Congo etc.). He gained significant experience in the management of critically ill children in low-resource settings (e.g. respiratory support). In this context, he is interested in further research and “context adapted training programs”.

Hans-Joerg Lang currently works as a paediatrician for Médecins sans Frontières.

Coalition with GCH

Image result for gchcoalitionThe Coalition of Centres in Global Child Health (The Coalition) is a global network of expert individuals and academic centres and institutions that have explicitly expressed commitment to a collectively-developed set of principles and plans of advancing global child health. Members of The Coalition will have the opportunity to collaborate and communicate with their peers from around the world via symposia, workshops, and other forums organized by the Secretariat.

 The Coalition collectively identifies areas for concerted advocacy to implement evidence-based strategies for improved child health, survival and development, and will identify critical knowledge gaps and opportunities for research. By curating an online, open-access library of resources, The Coalition aims to educate and advocate at institutional, regional, national and international levels for work that will have the greatest long-term, measurable impact on global child health.

The Centre signed the Coalition Document in January 2016.

McGill Global Health Program

mcgill ghpMcGill University Global Health Program thrives to address health inequities and improve global health through education, research, and partnerships.

McGill Global Health Programs and its partners draw on the expertise and resources of one of the world’s leading educational and research institutions to:

  • Offer high-quality education and training in global health, and enhance capacity in resource-limited settings;
  • Facilitate and conduct innovative, interdisciplinary, collaborative, and policy-relevant research to address critical global health challenges and priorities;
  • Build strategic partnerships with major stakeholders and institutions in Canada and internationally, to exchange knowledge and skills, to ensure knowledge translation, and to support advocacy and implementation of policies

madhuDr. Madhukar Pai, MD, PhD
Dr. Pai is a Canada Research Chair in Translational Epidemiology & Global Health in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health at McGill University, the Director of McGill University’s Global Health Programs and the Associate Director of the McGill International TB Centre. His research program is focused on using translational epidemiology and implementation science to enhance tuberculosis care and control, so that products, knowledge and policies can translate into saved lives. He has coordinated multiple courses and workshops on epidemiology, modeling, systematic reviews and meta-analysis around the world, including week-long courses on advanced tuberculosis diagnostics research in Montreal for the past six years.