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AWARD: Ifakara scientist wins prestigious CARTA grant

May 16, 2024 9:00
AWARD: Ifakara scientist wins prestigious CARTA grant
GRAPHIC: The Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA)

On May 14, 2024 – The Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) announced on their social media channels that Alex John Ntamatungiro, a research scientist at the Ifakara Health Institute, has been awarded a re-entry grant. This grant will support his groundbreaking research titled "Identifying, tracking, and characterizing the major source of transmitted HIV-1 drug resistance in the Kilombero and Ulanga antiretroviral cohort in Tanzania."

Importance, uniqueness of Alex's research

Ntamatungiro's research is pivotal in the ongoing battle against HIV, particularly in rural Tanzania where the emergence of drug-resistant HIV strains poses a significant threat. His work focuses on monitoring these strains to prevent the failure of newer antiretroviral medications.

He plans to use a comprehensive approach to studying HIV transmission networks. He integrates viral genetic data with demographic, clinical, geographic, and behavioral traits to gain a detailed understanding of how drug-resistant HIV strains spread. This method not only enhances the ability to trace and manage new infections but also aids in developing targeted prevention strategies tailored to the specific needs of rural Tanzanian communities.

Expressing his gratitude, Ntamatungiro said, "I am deeply thankful to CARTA for empowering young scientists to pursue their research interests and fostering their development as independent investigators. I also extend my sincere thanks to the Ifakara Health Institute for providing a supportive research environment."

Who is Alex John Ntamatungiro

Alex John Ntamatungiro is a Tanzanian health scientist with over eight years of experience in clinical research laboratory procedures and systems. He is currently a CARTA doctoral fellow at the School of Public Health, Wits University. Ntamatungiro holds a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) and a Master’s degree in Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). His research interests are deeply rooted in infectious disease dynamics.

Ntamatungiro has an impressive track record of managing small to mid-sized research projects and has successfully secured research grants from esteemed organizations like the Wellcome Trust Fund, UK, and Grand Challenges Canada, with total support exceeding US $200,000. He also contributes his expertise to the National Health Laboratory Strengthening System project in Tanzania.

The CARTA re-entry grant marks a significant milestone in Ntamatungiro's career, empowering him to continue his vital research and contribute to the global fight against HIV/AIDS.