H3Africa Kidney Disease Research Network

Principal Investigator: Dwomoa Adu

Principal Investigator: Akinlolu Ojo 

Institutes: University of Ghana Medical School Accra, Ghana and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

Scientific Description: It is estimated more than 500,000 individuals succumb to end stage renal disease annually in sub-Saharan Africa with an additional 50 million people suffering from pre-dialysis chronic kidney disease. Advanced genome-based analysis strategies, such as Mapping by Admixture Linkage Disequilibrium (MALD) in African Americans, have identified a strong association between single gene variants (e.g., MYH9 and AP0L1) and kidney disease. In addition, nearly 20 genetic variants have been linked to childhood onset nephrotic syndrome. Most of these genetic advances in elucidating the etiology of kidney disease have occurred outside sub-Saharan Africa where there is a shortage of genetic experts and the infrastructure for human genomic research is as sparse as the Sahara Desert itself. In this application, we propose to rapidly increase the capacity to conduct genomic studies of kidney disease in sub-Saharan Africa through a collaborative research network comprised of investigators based at 10 institutions in five African countries - pop. 362 million (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa) and four North American institutions. The Network will accomplish the following seven objectives: (1) phenotype 8,000 kidney disease cases and controls (1:1); (2) conduct four genetic research projects addressing single gene mutation kidney disorders in affected families, genetic variants of single genes associated with kidney diseases in the populations and genome wide association studies; (3) establish one low-capital intensity, rugged and sustainable genomics research laboratory each in Ghana (University of Ghana) and Nigeria (University of Ibadan); (4) implement a customized six-track training and career development plan for African-based genomic researchers; (5) establish and maintain a Network-wide biospecimen repository that will harmonize seamlessly with the HSAfrica Biorepository Grants (RFA-RM-11-011); (6) establish and maintain a Network-wide data management and bioinformatics facility that will effectively integrate with the HSAfrica Bioinformatics Network (RFA-RM-11-010) and (7) cooperate and coordinate the activities of this Network with the H3Africa Consortium and the NIH Program Scientists/Staff. This application is submitted by the University of Ghana with substantial institutional support from the University of Michigan.

Lay Description: Renal disease is a major problem in sub-Saharan Africa. 50 million people suffer from pre-dialysis chronic kidney disease and more than 500,000 individuals are estimated to die annually from renal disease. Research done with non-Africa populations has identified several genes associated with kidney disease in adults and children. This grant, led by Dr. Dwomoa Adu from the University of Ghana Medical School, will study 8,000 kidney disease patients and unaffected controls using genomic technologies to find whether those genes are also associated with kidney disorders in Africans and whether there are genes that are uniquely associated with kidney disorders in Africans. The project is organized as a collaborative research effort that involves investigators based at 10 institutions in five African countries and four countries outside of Africa. This grant will also establish two genomics research laboratories in Africa and train several African genomics research scientists to study important health problems in Africa.