Science Communication in Immunology and related Research — spotlighting Africa and African scientists. By amplifying the stories, struggles, and successes of Africans researching the immune system, ImmunoAfrica creates a platform for scientists, up-and-coming researchers, and members of the public to explore the immune system collectively. Connect on Instagram, Twitter: @immuno_africa; Facebook, LinkedIn: The Immunology in Africa Podcast
Understanding Neurocysticercosis: How Tapeworm Cysts Thwart & Trigger Epilepsy
41:39Dr. Fabien Prodjinotho is a senior scientist in immunology and parasitology at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, and a co-founder of the Benin Society of Immunology. Although his research career in neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) began in his home country, Benin, securing the DAAD scholarship led him to Germany, where he continued to follow his passion. His ultimate goal is to build capacities for immunological research and novel technology development for diagnosis in NTDs, especially in African countries. In this episode, he talks about his work in unraveling different aspects of immune regulation in NTDs, with a focus on neurocysticercosis. His findings offer insights into how tapeworm cysts trigger epileptic seizures in infected humans with immense applications in the disease's diagnosis and treatment. Time Stamps. 00.00 - intro 01.54 - an overview of Dr. Prodjinotho's journey and work 05.53 - why neglected tropical diseases 09.59 - an overview of recent work on tapeworm (Taenia solium) 26.49 - a few more details + implications of findings 35.05 - thoughts on the World NTDs Day & progress towards the 2030 road map targets 40.25 - outro
Carving a Niche: From Malaria to Tuberculosis & MAIT Cells
37:00Dr. Muki Shey is a Chief Research Scientist (at the Associate Professor level) and recipient of the Wellcome Intermediate Fellowship in Public Health & Tropical Medicine at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. In this episode, starting from his humble beginnings in Cameroun, he shares his journey and evolution into embracing the mucosal-associated invariant T cells (MAIT cells) as a researcher in South Africa. His research, which now explores the role of these unconventional T cells in protection from infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, will contribute to our knowledge of how to make more effective vaccines against tuberculosis.
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Rethinking Tuberculosis: Why Enhancing Immune Responses in Tuberculosis Might be Detrimental
52:10Mohamed Ahmed (PhD) is a fellow of the Sub-Saharan African Network for TB/HIV Research Excellence (SANTHE) and a recent PhD graduate of the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) associated with the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa. In this episode, he talks about his return to tuberculosis (TB) research for his PhD after a not-so-motivating undergraduate experience. His PhD research showed that Interferon-gamma, a key regulator of TB immunity, interacts with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the bacterium that causes TB. This interaction, which increases Mtb virulence and metabolism, worsens TB infection. His findings add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that excessive immune responses might paradoxically be harmful to the control of human TB. In addition, the ability of Mtb to sense Interferon-gamma indicates an evolutionary measure to counter host immunity and enhance bacterial survival. Current efforts to develop TB vaccines depend on boosting immune responses, as it is believed that natural immunity is inadequate to prevent disease. Mohamed hopes that the findings of his PhD research could inform future therapeutic and vaccine strategies to design more effective means to combat TB.
Untieing a Gordian Knot: Mother-to-Infant HIV Exposure
35:59In this episode, Dr. Sonwabile Dzanibe, a research fellow at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, talks about his research and efforts to understand mother-to-child HIV exposure and develop vaccines for HIV-exposed children who have a higher risk of contracting diseases.
Immunology in Africa: Telling Our Stories
32:28In this episode, Testimony Olumade, a research fellow at the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, takes us on his journey researching infectious diseases and expresses hope for the future of immunology research in Africa, while calling upon African immunology scientists to tell 'true and complete' stories of our research.
Welcome to ImmunoAfrica: Trailer
2:14The Immunology in Africa Podcast (ImmunoAfrica) is dedicated to spotlighting immunology and related research in Africa. By amplifying the stories, struggles, and successes of Africans researching the immune system, it creates a platform for scientists, budding researchers, and members of the public to explore the immune system collectively.