First Grants Awarded for Genomic Studies in Africa

First Grants Awarded for Genomic Studies in Africa

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First Grants Awarded for Genomic Studies in Africa

On October 8, 2012, the National Institutes of Health announced that numerous grants were awarded to African scientists for research on kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, tuberculosis, and African sleeping sickness.  The grants were offered by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Wellcome Trust in London to the Human Heredity and Health in Africa Consortium (H3Africa).  The grants will also be used for establishing a bioinformatics network and two biorepositories, storage facilities for specimens.  

 
NIH reports that the H3Africa grants will help train and education scientists in Africa, encourage collaboration between researchers, improve the study of genomics research in Africa, and train the next generation of African researchers.  
 
According to NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., “H3Africa aims to transform the way science is conducted in Africa, by creating a sustainable research infrastructure and catalyzing the use of advanced genomic technologies to improve our understanding of a variety of diseases.  This is particularly relevant because Africa is the original cradle of all humanity, and in this era of expanded global travel and communication, it is becoming increasingly clear that we must thing beyond our borders when it comes to understanding human biology and improving health.”  
 
NIH has agreed to donate $25 million of the next five years, and the Wellcome Trust has agreed to donate nearly $13 million.  
 
Sir Mark Walport, the director of the Wellcome Trust, stated, “If we are to help tackle the growing burden of disease in Africa, it is important that we build capacity within the continent for African researchers and their institutions in order to understand the genetic and environmental causes of illness.” 
 
The H3Africa projects were announced during a meeting between the principal investigators from 22 different African countries. 
 
Source: National Institutes of Health

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