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Meningitis Research in persons with HIV/AIDS in Africa                 

Posting expires on 06/30/2018

Research Site:
Makerere University, Uganda

Type of Research:
International

Department:
Medicine

This opportunity does not have a stipend.

Description:
Improving Diagnostics and Neurocognitive Outcomes in HIV/AIDS-related Meningitis

Central nervous system (CNS) infections are common across all ages in Sub-Saharan Africa in people with or without HIV-infection. In persons with HIV, cryptococcal meningitis is particularly common, being the second most common AIDS-defining illness in Africa and the most common cause of meningitis in adults in Sub-Saharan Africa overall. With the widespread availability of HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART), long term survival in AIDS patients with CNS infections should be possible, but delayed or inaccurate diagnoses contribute to poor acute outcomes, including high acute mortality.
A Minnesota-Makerere Meningitis research team is enrolling a prospective cohort study of 1000 HIV-infected persons presenting with suspected CNS infection in Kampala, Uganda; Mbarara, Uganda; and Ifakara, Tanzania. We will use point-of-care and molecular diagnostics to rapidly determine the etiologies of CNS infections, with a specific focus on new diagnostic tests for Tuberculosis (TB) meningitis. Among persons with cryptococcal meningitis, we are prospectively assessing neurological, functional, and neurocognitive status in a randomized clinical trial to determine if adjunctive sertraline has anti-fungal activity and neurocognitive benefit. In this trial, we will also assess for risk factors for adverse neurocognitive outcomes in persons with cryptococcosis.

Specific Aims
1) By implementing a novel diagnostic algorithm to determine the etiology of CNS infections in Sub-Saharan Africa among HIV-infected adults, we will decrease costs and improve outcomes.
2) We will determine if adjunctive sertraline improves anti-fungal and neurocognitive outcomes among HIV-infected persons with cryptococcal meningitis. ClinicalTrials.gov info at: http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT01802385
3) We will determine risk factors for poor neurocognitive outcomes in persons with cryptococcosis.

Research opportunities are available for medical, public health, and MiCaB students and post-graduate trainees in a variety of clinical, translational, basic science, health economics, and policy research areas within the setting of a NIH-sponsored randomized clinical trial conducted under an FDA-IND.

Requirements:
1) Can Do Positive Attitude
2) Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to function within a team
3) Ability to function in different cultures
4) Research Interest. This is not an experience for those interested in an international clinical elective. If an international clinical elective is your interest, please see IMER options.
5) Involvement for 3 months

Remuneration:
1) Experience of a Lifetime; however, there generally is no stipend.
-- For those interested in 11 months research abroad, please apply for the Doris Duke or Fogarty international fellows programs, which do have stipends.
2) Housing in country is provided
3) Potential IMER, UMN, and external foundation travel grants are available.

Contact:
1) Joshua Rhein: joshua.rhein [at] gmail.com
2) David Boulware: boulw001 [at] umn.edu

More information

Posted on 12/20/2013