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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

News and events

News and events - 2018

News and events 2018


Annual Unit Meeting of the Global Health Research Unit on NTD

November 2018

First Annual Unit Meeting of the Global Health Research Unit on NTDs takes place

The first Annual Unit Meeting of the Global Health Research Unit on NTDs was held on 22nd September 2018 at the Intercontinental Addis Hotel. The meeting provided the first chance for the whole team working across seven diverse work packages across three diseases and three countries to meet, to network, and to learn about each other’s work. Presentations were given on each work package, led by either a PhD student or by a post-doctoral research fellow, and there was also a chance for each work package team to meet to discuss their work in more depth and share learning across the first year of the programme. Overall the meeting was a great success, and the team were all happy to share such a positive output from the Unit’s first year of work. In addition to some interesting opportunities for cross – project collaboration which have since been taken forward, the meeting also provided the opportunity for the first meeting of our NIHR trainees network – early career researchers working on the grant based in the UK, Ethiopia and Sudan – who shared breakfast and discussed the possibilities that might arise from such a network, as well as the concept of mentorship.


October 2018

The first international podoconiosis conference 

The First International Podoconiosis Conference took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 23rd September 2018. The overall theme for the conference was ‘Research to Implementation: A Call for Global Action’. The Brighton & Sussex Centre for Global Health Research and Footwork were delighted to unite with local NGOs, University partners and the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health to host this conference. As the country bearing the highest burden of podoconiosis globally as well as the one with the most advanced research and implementation, Ethiopia was the ideal setting for this conference. 

The day offered a diverse mix of keynote speakers, plenary sessions, presentations and panel discussions. Presentation sessions explored areas of podoconiosis research from aetiology and distribution through to disease consequences, prevention and treatment. Those implementing programmes had the opportunity to share experience and develop partnerships. The conference closed with the launch of a Declaration to affirm global commitment to eliminating podoconiosis within our lifetimes.
We were delighted with the response from the podo community. Approximately 130 people from 10 countries attended the conference, and around 260 attendees came to our joint reception with The Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network (NNN)  whose conference took place the following day. We also had an active online community on social media with approximately 44,200 accounts reached on twitter with our conference hashtag #podo18.

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BSMS impact felt at ECCMID 2018

May 2018

BSMS impact felt at ECCMID 2018  

The 28th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) took place in Madrid from 21-24 April. Prof Martin Llewelyn from the Global Health and Infection Department was one of six delegates connected to BSMS attending and contributing to the prestigious event. "The impact of BSMS on the meeting was amazing," Prof Llewelyn said. "When you consider the size of the medical school, and that we didn't have academic infectious diseases here 12 years ago, this is something we should be really proud of."

Among other contributions, Prof Llewelyn gave the opening presentation at the 'Advances in Antimicrobial Stewardship' session and presented the work of the European Working Group on Antimicrobial Stewardship Evaluations, which he leads. The ARREST Trial, on which he and Dr James Price, NIHR Clinical lecturer, were investigators, was one of the eight papers highlighted in the 'Year in Infectious Diseases' session. Dr Price himself delivered the Young Investigators Award lecture after receiving the prize. The lecture was well received and he was approached by a number of international groups who are interested in collaborating in further research. Dr Daire Cantillon, Research Fellow at BSMS, also gave a poster presentation on his work with mycobacteria and biofilms.

$100,000 recurrent funding for treatment of podoconiosis  

Footwork, the podoconiosis initiative led by Prof Gail Davey, is delighted to announce continued partnership with Izumi Foundation on a Phase III project. This project will provide treatment and care to 4,000 podoconiosis patients who have not previously accessed treatment, train 120 government health professionals and raise awareness of the condition and its prevention among 10,000 community members. The project will run seamlessly from Phase II from April 2018 to March 2020.

Governments urged to adopt low-cost and effective approach to podoconiosis  

Researchers at BSMS are asking governments in the developing world to adopt a low-cost, community-based approach to prevent acute attacks that occur in patients with podoconiosis, a devastating neglected tropical disease. A new study published in Lancet Global Health shows that a simple package of self-care significantly reduced "acute attacks" among podoconiosis patients. Gail Davey, Professor of Global Health Epidemiology at BSMS, who led the study, said: "In most countries that suffer from podoconiosis, there are not yet policies in place to manage this debilitating disease, largely due to limited awareness of the condition and lack of evidence for treatment."

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HIV self-testing machine wins BMJ award

Congratulations to colleagues from BSMS and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust who won the Innovation Award at the BMJ Awards on 10 May for the self-testing HIV vending machine. The digital machine, which was launched in the Brighton Sauna in June 2017, makes testing accessible for people who are at high-risk of HIV but don't attend traditional clinical settings to collect free HIV self-tests.

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Henok Negussie

April 2018

Obituary: Henok Negussie Seifu (1970-2018)

It is with great sadness that we record the sudden and unexpected death of Henok Negussie Seifu, a recently graduated PhD student at BSMS, at the age of 47. Born in Harar, eastern Ethiopia, Henok gained a diploma and then a BSc in nursing at Addis Ababa University and Jimma University, respectively. From 2013 until his death, Henok was employed as trial coordinator on the 'GoLBeT' trial.

In 2014, he was awarded a Sussex Chancellor's International Research Scholarship. His PhD was registered at BSMS, and he successfully defended his viva just six days before his death. His PhD will be awarded posthumously. Footwork, the international podoconiosis initiative, and the Global Health Trials Network plan to institute a Young Investigators award in Henok's name.

Addressing the impact of TB in Uganda

March 2018

Addressing the impact of TB in Uganda  

Melanie Newport, Professor of Global Health and Infection, recently went to Uganda to speak to the Tuberculosis Genetics Network in Africa (TBGENAfrica). Her visit was part of the Human Hereditary and Health in Africa (H3 Africa) project, a four-year collaboration between researchers from Ethiopia, The Gambia, Uganda and South Africa. Speaking about the impact of tuberculosis (TB) in the region, Prof Newport said: "TB is not only a disease of poverty but there is strong evidence of genetic susceptibility as well." The TBGENAfrica network seeks to understand the genetic susceptibility of TB in order to help the development of vaccines and new drugs.

Podo cameroon

February 2018

H3Africa grant awarded to tackle African diseases 

The African Academy of Sciences has awarded grants to better understand the diseases that affect Africa most. The grants are being awarded to researchers from Ethiopia, The Gambia, Uganda and South Africa to lead four-year programmes to promote south-south collaboration through the Human Hereditary and Health in Africa (H3Africa).

The Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research (BSCGHR) at BSMS is a partner on one of the grants, which has been awarded to Dr Abraham Aseffa, Co-Director of the BSCGHR and Senior Scientist, Acting Deputy Director General, Research and Innovation, Armauer Hansen Research Institute in Ethiopia. Dr Simon Waddell and Prof Melanie Newport at BSMS are co-investigators and Prof Bobbie Farsides is a collaborator for Dr Aseffa's research in TB, TB/HIV, leishmania and infectious diseases. Dr Aseffa has been awarded $2.8m to 'understand how genetic diversity in both pathogens and human populations determines who gets tuberculosis with the aim of developing new treatments and vaccines.'

Dr Aseffa said: "Genomics research has the power to transform our understanding of why some individuals infected with tuberculosis become sick while others do not. In turn, this could help scientists develop better vaccines and drugs against TB." 

Prof Newport said: "This award highlights the role we can play and the impact we have in supporting African colleagues to do excellent research on important endemic disease. This is in keeping with the BSMS strategy and is our core business in global health research though our research activities at the BSCGHR."


January 2018

Research fund for senior HIV lecturer 

Funds have been awarded to Dr Collins Iwuji, Senior Lecturer in Sexual Health and HIV Medicine at BSMS, to establish an interdisciplinary research partnership with the Medical Research Council Uganda Virus Research Institute. Funding was awarded by the Research Opportunities Fund at the University of Sussex. Dr Iwuji will develop a programme of research that will implement a novel combination intervention programme to increase HIV testing, antiretroviral therapy uptake and retention in care and quantify HIV drug resistance specifically in under-represented key populations.


Risk of podoconiosis mapped in Cameroon 

Researchers at BSMS have assessed the prevalence of podoconiosis (podo) in Cameroon. Despite the disease being reported in more than 32 countries, Ethiopia is the only country where podo risk has been extensively mapped to date. Commenting on the new work, Dr Kebebe Deribe, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at BSMS, said: "We have clear prevention and control strategies, and can beat this disabling disease in one generation. The elimination of podo requires a combination of political will, policy formulation and operational and financial commitment by governments of endemic countries and donors."

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