Ester Acen

H3Africa PI: David Kateete

Institution: Makerere University, Uganda

Project Affiliation: CEBioGen


Background: Through attending a course in Results Interpretation, Data Handling and Analysis in Infectious Diseases – TB and Malaria. I became passionate for TB genetic studies and specifically explore the vitamin D pathway gene in relation to the disease. Further research in this area is still required in the African population.

Motivation: My motivation is to come up with a biomarker that is able to distinguish active TB disease and latent TB infection .As a strategy to control TB disease latent TB individuals should be detected early enough. Since sunlight was used in the pre-biotic era to treat TB the role of vitamin D in immunity is paramount in TB prevention.

Skills set: Attain a PhD to strengthen my research career. To acquire research methods, grant writing, molecular, immunological and bioinformatics skills. To acquire leadership and mentorship skills. To publish and share findings as basis for further research

Achievements: I have done my PhD almost to completion, acquired skills in bioinformatics, molecular Biology and immunology, grant writing. I am involved in research where I am a co- PI. I have published 3 papers and 2 manuscripts within a year.

Mentors: I owe my gratitude to Dr David Patrick Kateete, H3Africa PI, who has mentored me through my PhD journey. I was introduced to H3Africa where I have benefited in genetics and bioinformatics networks. Am thankful for the opportunities that were granted to me to attend and present my research to prominent scientists at the H3Africa consortium meetings. In 2019 I emerged as an award winner in a poster presentation. I am grateful for the opportunity to interact with staff from Welcome trust, NIH and other funding agents. Thanks to H3Africa for the nature classes in the last meeting in which we had an opportunity to interact with the nature editors. Through this I have written three manuscripts.

Next step: Writing grants, post doc studies, genetic research that may inform global health and mentorship of other young scientists.

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