Dr. Fidelis Cho-Ngwa, Visiting Scientist - May 2010

Dr. Fidelis Cho-Ngwa is a Senior Lecturer of Biochemistry and the acting Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology of the Faculty of Science, University of Buea, Cameroon. He is currently undertaking a one month research visit at the BecA-ILRI Hub, working closely with Drs. Rob Skilton and Roger Pelle, and his visiting PhD student Mr Jean Paul Assam Assam, on Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) genotyping using MIRU-VNTR and spoligotyping techniques. The project is funded by BecANet. He will return to  Cameroon on the 3rd of June 2010.

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Dr. Fidelis Cho-Ngwa joined the University of Buea in 1998 immediately after completing his MSc degree. He was an Assistant Research Officer from June 1998 – December 1999 in a European Union project on onchocerciasis (river blindness) vaccine development. In February 2000, he was employed as an Assistant Lecturer in Biochemistry. He obtained his PhD in November 2004 (Buea/Uppsala University sandwich). In 2005, he became a Senior Lecturer of Biochemistry. In 2006, he was appointed Coordinator of the Biochemistry Degree Programme in Buea. From January 2007-August 2007 he served as the Senior Research Officer and Co-Investigator of a Microsoft Project on malaria peptide vaccine design in Buea. From September 2007 to June 2008 he undertook Post Doctoral studies (as a Senior Fulbright Research Scholar) in Molecular Parasitology in the laboratory of Dr. Sara Lustigman of the New York Blood Center, NY City, USA. He has been the Co-Principal Investigator of three funded research projects, and presently the Principal Investigator of a WHO Project (ID A70107) on establishing a WHO/TDR Onchocerciasis Drug Discovery Centre at the University of Buea. The latter project started in November 2007 and is on-going. He has co-authored several scientific publications and one chemistry textbook. Dr. Cho-Ngwa runs the Biotechnology Unit laboratory of the University of Buea. Their current research interests include:

1.Discovery and development of new drug leads and phytomedicines from medical plants and industry acquired compounds for the treatment of onchocerciasis, malaria and multi-drug resistant TB.

2.Molecular epidemiology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) isolates from Cameroon and Central Africa through use of MIRU-VNTR and spoligotyping techniques.

3.Discovery and characterisation of novel Plasmodium falciparum vaccine-relevant antigens using a molecular epidemiology approach for differential screening of cDNA libraries.

4.Development and evaluation of novel and highly sensitive and specific point of care diagnostics for onchocerciasis and tuberculosis and drug resistant strains.

5.Advancing Bioinformatics knowledge in Cameroon and Central African Region

He is currently undertaking a one month research visit at the BecA-ILRI Hub, working closely with Drs. Rob Skilton and Roger Pelle on TB genotyping using VNTR and spoligotyping techniques. He would be returning to Cameroon on the 3rd of June 2010.

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