The African Collaborative Center for Microbiome and Genomics Research (ACCME) leverages advanced research methods, technologies and international partnerships to engage African scientists and institutions led by the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN) and the Center for Infectious Diseases Research, Zambia (CIDRZ) to build capacity, conduct training and implement integrative epidemiology research initially focused on the associations between high risk HPV infection, vaginal microenvironment, HPV genomics, germline and somatic mutations in the etiology of cervical cancer.
This program serves as a paradigm for Translational Research in Biomarker Discovery that addresses high impact public health challenges that affects women’s health in Africa and the rest of the world. The technology and capacity developed through this initiative will be extended to other diseases in future.
Project 1-Epidemiology and Biomarker Discovery of Persistent high risk HPV (hrHPV) infection and Cervical Cancer in African women at risk of cervical cancer (EPIC-Biomarker Study)
1.1 Specific aim 1: Determine the epidemiology and molecular genetic patterns of persistent hrHPV infection in a cohort of women in East (Zambian) and West (Nigerian) African women.
1.2 Specific aim 2: Evaluate the epidemiological determinants and role of epigenetic changes in hrHPV and cervical cells as biomarkers of persistent hrHPV infection and CIN2+.
Project 2-Discovery of Biomarkers of the association between the Vaginal Microenvironment and persistent high risk HPV (hrHPV) infection (The Maverick Study)
1.1 Specific aim 1: Evaluate the epidemiological determinants of pattern of cervical cytokines in East (Zambian) and West African women using culture independent molecular techniques and their association with persistent hrHPV infection
1.2 Specific aim 2: Conduct comparative analysis of the classes and stability of the vaginal microbiota of East and West African women using culture independent molecular techniques and their association with persistent hrHPV infection.
Project 3– Gene Discovery of Risks of persistent hrHPV infection (hrHPV), cervical cytokines, patterns and stability of vaginal microbiome and CIN2+ (The Gene-Disc Project)
1.1. Specific aim 1: Conduct genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify the genetic variants associated with risk of (a) persistent hrHPV infection and CIN2+ in East (Zambian) and West (Nigerian) African women.
1.2. Specific aim 2: Evaluate germline risk factors identified in aim 1; from published studies in other populations and from the cervical cancer genome atlas for association with (a) persistent hrHPV infection, (b) patterns of cervical cytokines secretions, (c) pattern and stability of vaginal microbiome and (d) CIN2+ in East (Zambian) and West (Nigerian) African women.
1.1. Specific aim 1: Provide effective administrative management and careful oversight of the ACCME award
1.2. Specific aim 2: Foster research activities at collaborating institutions and provide training in grants and manuscript writing, and research administration that empowers ACCME scientists to be competitive and ensure grant funded sustainability of ACCME
Training, Capacity Development and Technology Transfer Project (TRACAD project)
1.1. Specific Aim 1: Provide post-doctoral training to 8 highly qualified African candidates through a rigorous and competitive pan-African candidate selection process
1.2. Specific Aim 2: Conduct short and medium term, local and international sandwich trainings in research methods, epidemiology, bioinformatics, biostatistics and data management, laboratory methods, social and behavioral research for African scientists at the IHVN, Abuja, Nigeria; CIDRZ, Lusaka, Zambia; and the AUST, Abuja, Nigeria.