Trypanogen About Human African Trypanosomiasis Objectives of TrypanoGEN Biorepositories Founder of TrypanoGEN Voir en français
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Objectives of TrypanoGEN

The overall aim of TrypanoGEN is to improve the health of people living in some of the poorest countries in the world which carry a disproportionate burden of infectious diseases. Despite their importance, the study of many tropical diseases has lagged behind that of diseases of developed countries. The TrypanoGEN network is redressing the balance by performing high quality research into human African trypanosomiasis. The data generated by this network will extend beyond trypanosomiasis susceptibility by providing a unique resource to study human genetic variation across Africa. The major aims of the project are to:

Generate a database of human genetic variation in different African countries

This will be available to the wider scientific community for research on other diseases and analysis of human genetic diversity and evolution. This will allow researchers to identify informative genetic markers in the human population. improving the accuracy of strategies used in genome-wide association studies (GWAS), providing new African genome reference panels. During this project, this database will be queried in order to conduct a GWAS into human genetic susceptibility to tyrpanosomiasis and identify genes and pathways important in both the control of the disease and resistance to infection.

  Human variation
Sample tubes  

Create an extensive biobank housed in network hubs

A major aim of TrypanoGEN is to create an extensive biobank of both retrospective and prospective samples with standardised parasitological and clinical data. To facilitate typanosome research, the collection will comprise endemic controls and feature susceptible and resistant phenotypes. These collections will form the basis of the network biorepository and will be expanded with additional samples from smaller existing biobanks in network spoke institutes. Researchers from other groups can obtain specimens for their research by applying to the PIs of the respective repositories. Sampling is being undertaken in three stages:
(1) Archived samples: Exisiting collections of previously archived samples are being centralised into the network hubs. Samples are being quality assessed and associated clinical/parasitological data collected.
(2) Retrospective sampling: In T.b. gambiense endemic areas, network groups are revisiting and sampling previously diagnosed and treated patients and unconfirmed asymptomatic individuals (seropositives).
(3) Prospective sampling: New HAT patients and seropositive individuals will be identified as part of active surveillance surveys performed by the spokes teams in collaboration with National Control Programs.

Develop infrastructure in African laboratories

Although the three hubs already house existing biorepositories, there are limitations with these facilities in terms of capacity, access, storage and security. As part of the project, the research infrastructure in the hubs is being enhanced in order to facilitate the efficient collection, processing and storage of samples with existing facilities raised to international standards. Since samples are originating in different geographical areas and are being collected by different teams, common diagnostic procedures and inclusion criteria are being shared across the network spokes. Standard operating procedures for sampling, diagnosis and the collection of clinical data have been devised and are available in English and French.

  Clinic in Zambia
Training  

Provide training for African scientists

Training and mobility of graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and staff scientists are key components for strengthening long-term research into HAT. The TrypanoGEN project is disseminating expertise throughout Africa and Europe and strengthening the research potential of network-associated partners in endemic countries. The training programme is structured through a ‘Train-the Trainer’ philosophy. A number of training acitivities in advanced genomics are planned which will enhance local research capacity. Specifically, TrypanoGEN is providing:

• Workshops in sample collection and biobanking
• Workshops in genome analysis
• Wellcome Trust course in genome association studies
• Workshop on bioethics
• On the job training by hub-embedded bioinformatician
• Training on demand by external collaborators
• Scientific conferences/meetings


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Afrique One African Society for Human Genetics
Centre for Global Health H3 Africa
Carta Africa National Institute for Health
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