International Science Programme (ISP)

Former IPICS collaborations

Formerly supported chemistry research groups, phased out during 2008 - 2011:

Formerly supported chemistry networks, phased out during
2008 - 2016:

Diabetes research group

ISP supported the research group at the Bangladesh Institute for Research and Rehabilitation on Diabetes (BIRDEM) between 1995 and 2008. The group has, however, been involved with ISP since 1989 as a collaborative institute under another supported group in Bangladesh.

Objectives

Diabetes mellitus is one of the major chronic diseases affecting mankind all over the world. Since the disease is heterogeneous in character there is considerable variation in its etiology and pathogenesis among different races and environmental situations. As a result, both prevention and management policies for diabetes mellitus necessitates basic, clinical and epidemiological research keeping the local perspectives in mind. The areas of studies of the projects have been epidemiology, classification, etiopathogenesis of diabetes mellitus and its complications and the management of diabetes.

Outreach activities

The research group has been able to establish active scientific collaborations both at home and abroad. Apart from the original collaborations with Dhaka and Uppsala University, links have been established with scientific departments and institutes in Bangkok, Calcutta, Karachi, London, Ulster, Basel, Copenhagen and Paris. The Group has played a crucial role in the creation of the ISP supported network ANRAP (Asian Network of Research on Antidiabetic Plants) which, in turn, has stimulated new regional collaborations through scientific meetings, fellowships and exchange visits.

Achievements

Over the years of support the group has graduated 44 PhD students and 211 students on the MSc/MPhil/Licentiate level. In addition they have published 64 papers in international journals, 36 papers in national journals and produced 413 conference reports.

More information

A short overview of the activities and history of this research group is available from the 2008 project catalogue

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Applications of Molecular Biology Techniques to Tropical Diseases

ISP has supported the research group at University of Yaoundé I and University of Buea between 1987 and 2008.

Objectives

The main objective of the research group is to apply the new molecular techniques to tropical diseases to be able to develop new diagnostic methods, news cures and medicines and to contribute to vaccine development. The group started out with focus on river blindness and continued to work on malaria and tuberculosis as well as metabolic diseases.

Achievements

Over the years of ISP support the group has graduated 14 PhD students and 49 MSc/MPhil/Licentiate students. In addition the group has published 41 papers in international journals, 17 papers in national and regional journals and produced 58 conference reports.

More information

A short overview of the activities and history of this research group is available from the 2008 project catalogue

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Natural and synthetic bioactive substances with potential application in medicine and agriculture

The research group at Department of Chemistry at University of Dschang has received ISP support between 1991 and 2008.

Objectives

Chemical diversity in natural products constitutes an immensely rich source of new pharmaceutical and agrochemical substances. Cameroon, with its culture of indigenous knowledge in plant use and an abundant renewable resource of plants, offers itself as a laboratory of choice for conducting a natural products research program for the discovery of new active compounds which can be developed as new agrochemicals or new drugs. The active principle could also be used as reference compounds in production of phytomedicine. 

The overall objective of the project is to strengthen the research capacity of the University of Dschang through research cooperation and training young Cameroonian scientists in the fields of natural product chemistry, organic synthesis and pharmacology in collaboration with laboratories Sweden and other European countries. The long term aim is to valorizing indigenous knowledge and the abundant renewable plant resources of Cameroon.  

Achievements

Between 1991 and 2008 the group has graduated 20 PhD students and 46 MSc/MPhil/Licentiate students. In addition the group has published 86 articles in international journals, three in national and regional journals and produced 76 conference reports.  

More information

A short overview of the activities and history of this research group is available from the 2008 project catalogue

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Studies in Genetics and Chemistry of Tropical Root and Tuber Crops in Malawi

ISP has supported the research group at Bvumbwe Agricultural Research Station in Malawi between 2002 and 2010. The group has been a part of the ISP supported Cassava Safety Network since 1997.

Objectives

The main aim of the research group is to build capacity for effective research of the chemistry, molecular biology and biotechnology of tropical roots and tuber crops (cassava, sweet potato and yam) in Malawi, through active involvement of research students in the project. The scientific results will be utilized to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of future research activities within Malawi, regionally and internationally. The ultimate beneficiaries are the poor people in the rural areas who depend on these crops for their livelihoods.

Achievements

Over the years of support the group has graduated three PhD students and 1 MSc/MPhil/Licentiate student. In addition the group has published nine papers in international journals, one in a national journal and made 17 contributions to conferences.

More information

A short overview of the activities and history of this research group up to 2008, is available here: project catalogue

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Nutritional Biochemistry

The research group at Department of Biochemistry at University of Sri Jayewardenepura has received support between 1995 and 2009. Group leader Professor Errol Jansz retired in 2007 and was succeeded by Professor Sagarika Ekanayake who also received her PhD training through IPICS.

Objectives

The research group in nutritional biochemistry mainly aimed at solving specific research problems in the field. The work of the group was divided into different sub projects. The major focus of the group from the inception was on nutritional and bioactivity studies of indigenous plant foods and food materials some of which were underutilized; sword bean, the velvet bean, Palmyrah fruit pulp and shoot flour. Research on carotenoids of Sri Lankan fruits and vegetables was another aspect which was studied in detail. On the bioactivity front the activities and the fractions or active ingredients responsible for hypoglycaemic, hypocholesterolaemic, cytotoxic and neurotoxic activities from a variety of plant sources were researched.  From 2005 the major focus was on to study the glycemic indices (GI) of typical Sri Lankan foods with the intention of providing the GI data to physicians, dieticians and nutritionists.

Outcomes

During the years of collaboration the group has graduated 6 PhD students out of which all is still in the country and employed in academic institutions. 12 MPhil students have graduated over the years of support, all except two are still in Sri Lanka today. The first ever MPhil of the faculty graduated through ISP support. The group has published 16 papers in international journals and 28 papers in regional and national journals; in addition they have produced 31 conference reports. The first ever paper in an international (SCI) journal of the faculty came through ISP support.

A database with glycaemic indices values of the foods has been established by members of the supported research group in biochemistry at University of Srijayewardenepura and was in 2009 made available to the doctors practicing at the Family Practice Centre, University of Sri Jayewardenepura to use in the advising of diet plans of patients. The data was distributed via TV and at a national exhibition. In addition, the group has contributed to the development of food based dietary guidelines that has been developed by the Nutrition Division of the Health Ministry.

More information

A short overview of the activities and history of this research group is available from the 2008 project catalogue

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Characterization of pesticide residues in biota, water and sediments in Lake Victoria

ISP has supported the research group at Department of Chemistry at Makerere University between 1999 and 2008.

Objectives

The overall goal of the project is to strengthen the capacity for research in pesticide residue analysis at Makerere University through regional and international research collaboration. The research focuses on quantifying the extent of pesticide contamination in the major components of Lake Victoria; the water column, the sediments, the biota and fish. The project aims to promote safer and healthier environment for people living on the shores of Lake Victoria and those who utilize the water of river Nile downstream.

Achievements

Over the years the group has graduated five students on the MSc/MPhil and Licenciate level. The group has published one paper in an international journal, two papers in national journals and produced 22 conference reports.

More information

A short overview of the activities and history of this research group is available from the 2008 project catalogue

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Fundamental Studies on Environmental NPS Derivatives

The research group at Department of Chemistry, Makerere University has received ISP support between 2002 and 2008.

Objectives

Nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulphur derivatives occur as very important compounds in the environment and the living body systems. Presence of these compounds in surface waters is of environmental interest, as they are known to cause eutrophication and algal blooms. Such blooms can produce highly potent toxins, which may cause liver damage to humans. They also produce unpleasant muddy odors.  In drinking water, excessive amounts of nitrate and nitrite may cause infertile methemoglobinemia and cancer. The importance of these derivatives in natural waters calls for their constant monitor and quantification. The current methods of quantification of these species are lengthy and cumbersome besides interference from other anionic species. The research group aim to avoid problems associated with the current methods and to develop new and possibly more accurate methods of quantification based on fundamental chemical principles. The studies thereby also intend to strengthen coordination of chemistry research at the chemistry department.

Achievements

Over the years of support the group has graduated five MSc/MPhil/Licentiate students and produced ten conference reports.  

More information

A short overview of the activities and history of this research group is available from the 2008 project catalogue

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The Cassava Molecular Diversity Network (MOLCAS)

MOLCAS is an interregional network bringing together genetic resources and knowledge of cassava from national and international scientists in Africa, South America, Sweden and Europe. ISP supported the network between 1999 and 2008.

Objectives

Of all staple crops cassava is the most efficient converter of solar to dietary energy. Due to its high yields and drought tolerance cassava roots are the main staple food for about 400 million people. MOLCAS aims to enhance the undisputed position of cassava as a food security crop and engine of economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa by generating new approaches to cassava germplasm improvement using new tools of molecular genetics, bioinformatics and farmer knowledge of cassava. The strategy combines an assessment of genetic variation in Africa compared to the total available variation in cassava and wild progenitors from South America and a determination of underlying genetic factors in successful cultivars and how to complement them with favorable alleles from other cultivars and wild progenitors.

The international nature of cassava germplasm and its usage makes complementary collaborative efforts indispensable to achieve the objective.

More information

A short overview of the activities and history of this research group up to 2008 is available here: project catalogue

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Southern African Regional Co-operation in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biotechnology (SARBIO)

SARBIO is a regional Southern African network, which received ISP support between 1995 and 2010.

Objectives

One of the considerable disadvantages facing development of Science in Africa is that, for the most part, scientists work in relative isolation in a number of different countries with few opportunities to interact. Often, the external links of African scientists are with Europe or USA and few with scientists within Africa. The objective of SARBIO is to strengthen regional research capacity in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology by promoting links between scientists in the Southern African sub-continent and between this sub-region and the rest of Africa.

Activities

  • Exchange of post-graduate students and staff for research training or for work on collaborative research projects
  • Workshops, research meetings or conferences within the region, and
  • Interaction with other regional initiatives in order to co-ordinate activities and to share information for effective use of resources

More information

A short overview of the activities and history of this research group up to 2008 is available here: project catalogue

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Food Science and Nutrition Network for Africa (FOSSNA)

The FOSNNA network was a collaboration between researchers at University of  Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute (EHNRI) (Ethiopia), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) (Kenya), University Mohammed Premier Oujda (UMP) (Marocco), Tanzania Food and Nutrition Center (TFNC) (Tanzania), Makerere University (MU) (Uganda), and University of Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).

The network received ISP support between year 2000 and 2009.

Objectives

Circulation of information and exchange of knowledge in food science and nutrition research in African countries is minimal. Further, little is also happening on the transfer of knowledge in solving problems at the ground level. It is against this background that the idea of establishing a food science and nutrition network in Africa started.

FOSNNA is apolitical, non-sectarian and non-profit making network for professional and individuals working or interested in the food and nutrition related area. The network aims at providing an opportunity for exchanging of ideas among food scientists in Africa through Internet, workshops and symposia. It addresses challenges related to R&D and how to generate additional information that can improve transfer of technology. The network was inaugurated in February 2002 during the first biennial scientific conference held in Dar as Salaam, Tanzania, attended by 64 participants from 17 countries in Africa.

Main activities

  • Promote collaborative research in food science and nutrition among African countries
  • Linking members through internet
  • Organize food science and nutrition conferences and workshops
  • Provide information and facilitate exchange of researchers, students and technicians
  • Encourage public-private partnerships in product development, diversification of products, and problems solving
  • Encourage open laboratory system among member countries of the network
  • Provide food science and nutrition information through mass media and producing printed information

More information

A short overview of the activities and history of this research group is available from the 2008 project catalogue

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Africa-Asia-South America Coordinating Group for Natural Products Research (AFASSA)

AFASSA is an interregional coordinating body of several current and former ISP supported networks (NABSA, ALNAP NAPRECA, SARBIO, ANRAP, and LANBIO) involved in natural products research in Africa, Asia and South America. ISP supported the AFASSA between 2002 and 2009.

Objectives

AFASSA was established to:

  • promote collaborative research in natural products in countries of the South and establish South-South linkages in natural products research
  • build capacity to deal with South-specific problems in health, agriculture and the sustainable use of biological resources by sharing expertise and experience in the field available in the three continents, and
  • influence the future direction of research and education in natural products sciences in countries of the South

More information

A short overview of the activities and history of this research group up to 2008 is available here: project catalogue

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African Laboratory for Natural Products (ALNAP)

ALNAP (website: www.alnapnetwork.com) consists of five natural products laboratories at Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), University of Burundi (Burundi), University of Kinshasa (DR Congo), Makerere University (Uganda)  and University of Rwanda.  ISP has sponsored the network since its start in 1996. The laboratories participating from the start are those in Uganda, Ethiopia and Burundi.

Objectives

The main objective of ALNAP is to enhance the theoretical and practical capabilities of research personnel in its member countries while at the same time promoting regional research cooperation. The main activities are:

  • To cooperate in natural products research
  • To assist each other through provision of analytical and bioassay services
  • To exchange information, expertise and materials
  • To train young researchers and technicians through home-based fellowship schemes
  • To build databases on natural products developing the Natural Database for Africa (NDA)
  • To work with micro-propagation (MP) of medicinal and aromatic plants
  • To support the glass blowing unit of the Chemistry Department
  • To develop gardens for growing and preserving medicinal and aromatic plants
  • To organize short courses and workshops
     

ALNAP cooperates with the networks NABSA and NAPRECA. ISP was the main sponsor.

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