ISP news 2020
The African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology (AiBST) is a private organisation (partly sponsored by ISP)and located at the Wilkins Infectious Disease Hospital in Zimbabwe. It is a center of excellence in drugs and diagnostics research and innovation in Genomic Medicine. AiBST is one of the Government of Zimbabwe designated SARS-CoV-2 testing laboratories in the fight against COVID-19.
Through the leadership of Dr Justen Manasa, a Medical Virologist at AiBST, a team of qualified volunteers from different sectors was assembled. The team comprises of medical laboratory scientists (Takudzwa Marembo, Frank Chinowaita, Prosper Chimbunde, Donald Vhanda, Solomon Mukwenha and Lovemore Hlamalo) and medical laboratory technicians (Alice Pedzisai, Frank Mangongo and Tinashe Mandisvodza). The volunteers came from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Harare City Council and Private sector laboratories. The team was activated in response to increasing demands for testing, which the National Microbiology Reference Laboratory was not going to be able to cope with.
Currently the AiBST lab is receiving samples from Wilkins hospital (one of the two infectious diseases hospitals in Harare), Rapid Response Teams serving Harare, quarantine facilities in Harare, hospitals, as well as other centres. Using 8-hours shifts, the lab has a capacity to test up to 200 samples per day, with a turnaround time within 72 hours.
Apart from testing, the AiBST team has been providing technical support to the National Coordinating team for the laboratory response to COVID-19. They have also been providing training on new testing protocols to ensure optimal utilisation of all testing consumables.
Prof Masimirembwa, the President and Chief Scientific Officer of AiBST had this to say about AiBST’s contribution:
In times of national disasters such as this COVID-19 pandemic, it is both a responsibility and opportunity for science, scientists and research institutions like AiBST to rise to the challenge in service of humanity. I therefore highly commend Dr. Justen Manasa’s leadership and the selfless comminttment of the young scientists who have volunteered their expertise and time to fight the COVID-19 pandemic through diagnostics testing services.
AiBST infrastructure and technical capacity has been established through support of many organisaitons including the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science Technology, Innovation Development (MHTESTID), EDCTP, GHPP, ISP, SPARK GLOBAL, to name a few. This support is here acknowledged as a clear demonstration of the value of capacity building projects that have broader impact on society when confronted with health challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prof Ekanayake - IUPAC Fellow
ISP is proud to announce that Prof Sagarika Ekanayake has been appointed as a Fellow of the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).
Prof Ekanayake is a renowned researcher in the field of biochemistry in Sri Lanka and she is serving as a Senior Professor at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. Prof Ekanayake has published over 65 research articles in international and national peer reviewed journals and over 190 abstracts on topics related to Food Chemistry, Applied Nutrition, Bioactivity studies and Clinical Biochemistry.
The research group initially led by Prof E R Jansz and then by Prof Ekanayake was until 2007 one of the beneficiaries of the ISP support in Sri Lanka.
- ISP support to my department tremendously helped me and many other young researchers who were working under very resource limiting conditions to be trained in advanced research and obtain postgraduate qualifications. ISP funds were utilized to develop a research laboratory with many up-to-date equipment in the department which are still being used and also that many young researchers got opportunities to be trained at centers of excellence outside Sri Lanka under eminent researchers which enabled us to continue conducting research contributing to the development of the country and also to continue training more students both undergraduate and postgraduate.
- Personally I attributes all my success as a researcher to the training obtained through ISP funding during my postgraduate work which enabled me to be trained under eminent scientists in various research institutes in Sweden.
Prof Ekanayake highly appreciates the support by Directors of ISP, starting with late Prof Rune Liminga who initiated supporting the SRI 07 project with Prof E R Jansz as the leader in 1996, Prof Malin Åkerblom during whose time she undertook the leadership of the project and current Director Dr Peter Sundin and all staff of ISP office for the continued excellent support throughout 1996 – 2007 and beyond.
We are very sad to announce that our dear colleague Dr Zeinab Noureddine Tag-Eldeen has passed away due to Covid-19. Our thoughts are with her family.
Zeinab was an Associate Professor at the Swedish Agriculture University (SLU), and has been coordinating Sida-funded capacity building programs with Ardhi University in Tanzania.
Zeinab was a beloved colleague as well as a popular supervisor for masters and PhD students.
18 March 2020
Prof Tom Britton at Stockholm University, Sweden, is a members of ISP Mathematics Reference group.
Listen to his fascinating lecture on the mathematics of the Corona outbreak at
NEW ISP CO-WORKERS 2020
15 January 2020
ISP is happy to announce two new colleagues starting in February 2020. Deputy Program Director of the Physics Program Barbara Brena (left) and Project Coordinator Ulrica Ouline (right).
Barbara Brena – Deputy Program Director Physics
Associate Professor Barbara Brena currently works at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Uppsala University. Her research focuses on materials modeling for renewable energy sources, using theoretical soft x-ray spectroscopy. Her academic career did however start with experimental research at the synchrotron Elettra laboratory in Trieste, Italy, where she also origins from. Barbara currently serves on the Board of Uppmax (Uppsala Multidisciplinary Center for Advanced Computational Science), and previously as Member of the ISP Board and the Board for a non-profit organization working with education in developing countries (U3V). Barbara will, together with Program Director Carla Puglia, manage the Physics Program starting from 1 February. She will work 50% at ISP and devote the remaining time to research at the Department of Physics.
- I am am very curious to start working in a new environment with such interesting projects and challenges. I am eager to meet my new colleagues and work together, and of course I am very excited to meet all the researchers from around the world and learn about their activities.
Ulrica Ouline – Project Coordinator
Ulrica Ouline works as an International Officer at the Division for Internationalisation at Uppsala University, where she is responsible for different projects in primarily Asia and Africa. She is an experienced project coordinator, who has been working closely with Uppsala University Vice-Chancellor Eva Åkesson for many years. She has organized and coordinated several international projects, conferences, events and visits. Previously, she has been working as a upper secondary school teacher in history, religion and development studies in Uppsala. At ISP she will replace Rebecca Andersson, working with communication, follow-up, strategic development and Alumni coordination starting from 5 February on 50%. She will remain half-time at the Division for Internationalisation.
- I believe ISP is doing an excellent job in building research capacity in least developed countries and I´m very happy to start working here! I am looking forward to meeting new colleagues around the world.
Contact: Ulrica.firstname.lastname@example.org from 5 February 2020