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PhD Project 2. Better rapid diagnostic tests for common causes of febrile illness in African children
This PhD research project will involve development and evaluation of a highly sensitive, low cost and easy-to-use DNA-based test for malaria and other common pathogens such as typhoid and non-typhoidal fever that can be performed at the point of care or at the community level on a finger prick blood sample. Test results will be digitalized through mobile devices including clinical decision support software and data will be stored and curated for synchronization with existing databases such as DHIS2. These tests will be evaluated in a digital health ecosystem in Kisumu, western Kenya with technical support from DIDIDA-consortium members, the University of Glasgow and Pharm Access Foundation.
The objectives of this studentship:
- Write a review paper on available diagnostics for common childhood pathogens focusing on portability, cost, sensitivity/specificity, digitization of results through mobile phone/tablet technology and linkage to existing platforms such as DHIS2.
- Understand the genomic diversity of the different pathogens targeted, and how to identify conserved regions (University of Glasgow, LSTM).
- Work with University of Glasgow and LSTM on designing a Malaria Plus test.
- Evaluate initial test prototypes with stored blood samples of known etiology to assess sensitivity/specificity, improvement over existing Gold Standard diagnostic tests, optimal storage conditions and other relevant parameters.
- Field implementation and evaluation of feasibility, acceptability, users experience, turnaround-time and costs.
- A master’s degree in Biotechnology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Medical Laboratory Sciences, Bioinformatics or a related field.
- Minimum two (2) years’ experience working in a research laboratory.
- Excellent working knowledge of molecular diagnostic tests used in patient management of important childhood diseases and/or surveillance.
- Good communication, data analysis and scientific writing skills
- Good understanding of digital linkage of diagnostic tests and connected diagnostics.
- Willingness to commit 100% time and effort to the PhD.
- Willingness to stay in Kisumu and field sites for the duration of the PhD.
- Working knowledge of Kiswahili will be an added advantage.
- Previous work experience and publications in the PhD research topic will be an added advantage.
Method of Application
Applications should include the following documents,
- Letter of application specifying the project the candidate wishes to undertake, and mapping clearly how they meet the eligibility criteria.
- A 1-page letter of motivation and future plans after the PhD.
- A complete C.V listing academic qualifications, competencies and relevant experience.
- Copies of academic certificates and transcripts.
- Two reference letters from current or past (not older than 3 years) mentor/supervisors.
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