Pan African Bioinformatics Network for H3Africa

Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme (MLW)/University of Liverpool

MLW conducts biomedical research on high burden health problems and through high quality training strives to strengthen the research capacity of doctors and scientists, developing the research leaders of the future. MLW is affiliated to the University of Malawi College of Medicine (COM), the only medical school in Malawi. MLW is located in Blantyre, Malawi on the premises of the National Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) with a number of other field sites around the country.


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 Dr Dean Everett - Principal Investigator

Dean is a Senior Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology with a research focus on understanding bacterial (major focus is pneumococcus) evolution, diversity and genetic epidemiology and its impact on pathogenicity particularly in the host and the evolution of drug resistance with a genomics based approach. Other areas of research include respiratory viral pathogen diversity, spread, evolution and impact on the host, with a strong focus on Influenza.

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Dr Chisomo Msefula - Co-Principal Investigator

Dr Msefula is a research scientist and Lecturer at the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust and the College of Medicine, University of Malawi. His research focuses on host-pathogen interactions and the characterisation of antibiotic resistance and virulence of invasive Gram-negative bacteria using whole-genome sequence analysis techniques. He has a PhD from the University of Liverpool.

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 Dr Benjamin Kumwenda - Postdoctoral Fellow

Benjamin started his career as a Computer Scientist at the University of Malawi, Chancellor College where he completed his Bachelor's Degree. He is employed by the College of Medicine, a constituent college of the University of Malawi where he got sponsorship for further studies in South Africa. He completed his Postgraduate Diploma, Honours and Masters degrees in Computer Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa under the supervision of Prof Ian Sanders and Prof Scott Hazelhurst. It was at the University of the Witwatersrand during his Honours degree where he was introduced to the field Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. His Masters Degree focused on the development of an algorithm for clustering expressed sequenced tags. He proceeded to pursue a doctorate in Bioinformatics at the University of Pretoria under the supervision of Prof Oleg Reva and Prof Derek Litthauer where he investigated genome rearrangements and protein thermostability in thermophilic organisms. He then joined H3ABioNet at the Centre for Proteomics Genomic Research as a Software Developer but later on moved to Malawi to be part of the Bioinformatics team in order contribute to the inception and development of the Bioinformatics field in his country. He is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at MLW in Dr Dean Everett's group.

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 Patrick Musicha - PhD Student

Patrick graduated with a Bachelor of Education Science (Mathematics) from the University of Malawi-Chancellor College. Immediately after completing his undergraduate studies he enrolled into an MSc in the Information theory, Coding and Cryptography Programme at Mzuzu University (Malawi). For his MSc, he studied efficient implementation of cryptographic algorithms and protocols and built Multi-Precision Cryptographic Library (MCL), a C++ library which efficiently implements most common cryptographic and number theoretic protocols and algorithms using arbitrary size integers. Patrick worked with the Catholic University of Malawi as a lecturer in Mathematics and Statistics and has been a member of the Southern Africa Mathematical Sciences Association (SAMSA) since 2009. Patrick’s fascination with computational mathematics aroused his interest in bioinformatics. It is this interest that motivated him to apply for the H3ABionet PhD Scholarship, which he was offered in July 2013. He started his PhD studies in November 2013 and is working on “Characterisation of invasive and multiple antibiotic resistant enteric bacteria from Malawian children and adults” under the supervision of Dr  Chisomo Msefula (University of Malawi), Dr Dean Everett (University of Malawi), Prof Robert Heyderman (University of Liverpool) and Professor Moffat Nyrienda (College of Medicine).