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Marcello Scopazzini



PhD title: Tuberculosis and the heart: determining the burden and natural history of cardiac pathology at TB diagnosis among patients living with and without HIV in Zambia (LSHTM, September 2022 onw.)

I am an infectious diseases and general medicine registrar. My interest in exploring the impact of tuberculosis on cardiac health began at LSTM, and subsequently in clinical work in Malawi, East Timor and India. The convergent impact of communicable and non-communicable disease burden in lower-resourced settings is an acute public health concern and I seek to quantify the prevalence and describe the natural history of cardiac pathology in patients with tuberculosis in a prospective study in Zambia.

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Rumbidzai Gumbie



PhD title: Developing, implementing and evaluating clinic based integrated sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people living with HIV in Zimbabwe (LSHTM, September 2022 onw.)

I am a Registered Nurse and worked as Clinical Nurse Educator in primary care specialising in medical-surgical nursing. My goal is to specialise in clinical research that contributes to increasing access to quality health care, including effective care and treatment for HIV, with a focus on strengthening health systems. As part of the CREATE PhD program, I will be investigating integrated HIV and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people living with HIV in Zimbabwe.

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Sarah Sturrock



PhD title: Using machine learning to develop a risk stratification tool for neonatal sepsis in low-resource settings (SGUL, March 2023 onw.)

I am a paediatric junior doctor and researcher interested in infectious disease and neonatology. Since 2020, I have been working with Prof Le Doare’s team at St George’s, University of London researching neonatal infections including neonatal outcomes after maternal exposure to SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy and the changing landscape of neonatal infections in neonatal intensive care in London. My project aims to develop a risk stratification model for early-onset neonatal sepsis in low resource settings. 

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Josephine Prynn



PhD title: Dementia in older adults in Uganda: evaluating prevalence, associated factors, and impact on individuals and their carers. (KCL, September 2023 onw.)

I am a specialist trainee in Geriatric Medicine in London. I have a passion for the health of older people and am excited to be investigating dementia epidemiology in Uganda as part of the CREATE Fellowship. I have developed my research skills through an MSc in Epidemiology at LSHTM and a year working with the Malawi Epidemiology and Intervention Research Unit in 2017-2018. I have also completed an Academic Clinical Fellowship where I focused on disability related to dementia in low-income settings.

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Kondwelani John Mateyo

PhD title: Using simplified, artificial intelligence read lung ultrasound (AI-LUS). (LSHTM, January 2023 onw.)

I am a Respiratory. Physician at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka. I head the Respiratory Unit, which is the only specialised respiratory unit in the country, serving as the focus of care and consultation across the country. Over the past few years the focus has been to grow the team in the unit, improve care and establish and expand clinical research. My collaborative research work in the past year has gravitated towards the use of artificial intelligence in the diagnosis of tuberculosis, using chest radiograph tools. The CREATE fellowship is a continuation of this these, using another modality that is safer, easier to use and potentially a game-changer in TB diagnostics. It has the potential of profound impact in morbidity and mortality-heavy communities, such as ours, through early diagnosis.

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Miriam Nakanwagi

PhD title: Determinants of Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) transmission in children and adolescents in Uganda. (SGUL, April 2023 onw.)

I am a medical doctor. and public health specialist with additional training in epidemiology.  I managed and co-ordinated health programs in maternal and childhood illnesses including HIV and tuberculosis for over 8 years.  I have key competencies in epidemiological analyses, operational and programmatic research, scientific writing and communication, program co-ordination, policy formulation and review, quality assurance and program resource mobilisation.  I am passionate about child health related research and epidemiology and have published multiple articles in peer-reviewed journals.

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Mary K Tumushime

PhD title: Developing and evaluating novel interventions to facilitate Sexually Transmitted Infection control in Zimbabwe. (LSHTM, January 2023 onw.) 

I am an early career public health researcher with 10 years' experience in the fields of HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH), primarily in southern Africa. I have end-to-end experience in developing and conducting implementation science and operational research studies using quantitative methods, including data collection, analysis ,and reporting.

Sarah Barber



PhD title: ETALEM: Exploring the sexual and reproductive health of women in Ethiopia with severe mental illness. (KCL, October 2024 onw.)

I am currently an Academic Clinical Fellow at King's College London, training in Psychiatry. In 2021 I completed a Masters in Public Health whilst working on the UPSIDES peer support study as part of the Butabika Hospital, Uganda team. My research interests are psychoses in the global context and the intersectionality of mental health and sexual and reproductive health..

Sam Gnanapragasam

Twitter: @sam_gna

PhD title: Exploring depression symptom reduction in adults receiving face-to-face and digitally delivered psychological therapy through the Friendship Bench in Zimbabwe. (KCL, February 2024 onw.)

I am an academic psychiatry registrar with an interest in global mental health. I hope to contribute to improving mental health and wellbeing through clinical work, academia, health policy and advocacy. I gained experience during a Global Health BSc, clinical/public health placements in Sierra Leone, India, USA and UK, Academic Foundation Program and Academic Clinical Fellowship. Recently, I was NHS England’s National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow and coordinator of the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health. Through the CREATE fellowship, I am excited to work with and learn from service users, colleagues and stakeholders to improve depression care in Zimbabwe. I am happy to be contacted and welcome the opportunity to connect.

Kate Mattick

Twitter: @kate_mattick

PhD title: · Co-developing community based rehabilitation services to promote functional ability and quality of life of older people: a mixed methods study in Zimbabwe. (BSMS, October 2023 onw.)

I am a Physiotherapist with an interest in healthy ageing, disability, and access to assistive devices. I care greatly about the holistic experience of ageing and how access to services, knowledge and peer-support can influence outcomes and quality of life. I have worked clinically and in service development roles in low resource settings and know there is significant need for increased access to allied health professionals and rehabilitation to support older adults’ wellbeing. Over the past few years, I have completed an MSc in Disability, Design and Innovation led-by UCL, and have been continuing to work as a frailty physiotherapist in the UK as well as for the Global Disability Innovation (GDI) Hub, a UK based academic research centre that works to advocate for and implement solutions to enhance global access to assistive devices. I am so excited to begin my fellowship, where my project aims to develop peer-to-peer support groups for older adults as a new model of care to support healthy ageing. 

Lydia Davidson

PhD title: Co-development of an infection prevention and control intervention with staff and families in a Zimbabwean Neonatal Unit. (LSHTM, October 2023 onw.)

I am a paediatric nurse with experience in leading nursing and quality improvement teams in paediatric and neonatal care in low-resource settings. My aim is to contribute towards reducing neonatal mortality by utilising a nursing perspective of the key issues impacting neonatal mortality and morbidity, including neonatal sepsis. As part of the CREATE PhD program I will work closely with staff and families to investigate how a participatory approach may improve care and ensure sustainability of infection prevention and control in low-resource neonatal units.

Claire Norcross



PhD title: Drug resistance and long-acting injectable HIV prevention & treatment in Africa. (BSMS, January 2024 onw.)

I am a specialist trainee in HIV and genitourinary medicine. I am currently out of programme working as a clinical research fellow on a clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of long-acting injectable antiretrovirals in people living with HIV with a history of suboptimal virological control in East and Southern Africa. I obtained by MSc in Reproductive & Sexual Health Research from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in 2017 and have been passionate about research ever since. I have a particular interest in novel antiretroviral therapy strategies, HIV transmission prevention, access to sexual health and HIV testing and care in lower- and middle-income settings, and HIV and ageing.

Tim Campion-Smith

Twitter: @timcampionsmith

PhD title: Physiological responses to critical illness in children with severe acute malnutrition in Zimbabwe. (QMUL, September 2024 onw.)

I am a paediatric registrar with clinical and research interests into critical care and global child health. My PhD fellowship will be based at QMUL and Zvitambo, and will look at multi-system physiological response to critical illness amongst children admitted to hospital with severe acute malnutrition in Zimbabwe. Through this, I hope to identify key treatment and stabilisation priorities that might shape future interventional studies. Prior to the CREATE scheme, I completed an MSc in Public Health and worked with Prof. Jay Berkley, University of Oxford/KEMRI0Wellcome Centre, Kenya, on projects related to severe acute malnutrition in infants and antimicrobial resistance.

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Maureen Tshuma

Twitter: @Maureen3178051

PhD title: Development, implementation and evaluation of a community-based assessment and management of cognitive and psychological ability for older people living in urban Zimbabwe. (BSMS, January 2024 onw.)

I am a social scientist with extensive experience in public health and clinical trials. My passion lies in producing research finding grounded in evidence to shape interventions and policies.  I am eager to embark on research focused on promoting and maintaining the functional ability of older adults.  My research under the CREATE PhD fellowship aims to develop a community-based health intervention with special focus on the cognitive and psychological ability of older adults.

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Rhulani Tsakani Beji-Chauke

Twitter: @rhulanibeji

PhD title: Understanding the landscape of substance use (SU) among youth in Zimbabwe. (KCL, February 2024 onw.)

I am a researcher with an MPhil in Public Mental Health from the University of Cape Town and 7 years’ experience in youth mental health. I have been involved in various research studies and implementation activities under and the UZ-Research Support Centre, and the Friendship Bench which is a brief psychological intervention which was developed in Zimbabwe. The most recent study I have worked under is the African Youth in Mind study - a Global Health Research Group on Interventions for Youth with Depression and Anxiety Disorders in African Countries which is funded by National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR) United Kingdom. My research interests lie broadly in youth mental health, and more specifically in MNS (mental, neurological, and substance use disorders), complex psychological interventions, early intervention, community engagement and the mental health of sexual and gender minorities. My PhD will make use of a mixed methods design and will focus on understanding the landscape of substance use among youth in Zimbabwe. This will be done through gathering academic and grey literature, consultations with local stakeholders, use of a survey, immersive ethnographic fieldwork, and in-depth interviews.

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Jonathan Kitonsa

Twitter: @JonathanKI66871

PhD title: Exploring metabolic outcomes in African adults living with HIV switching to injectable antiretroviral therapy. (Makerere University)

I am a medical doctor and researcher with experience in HIV management and the conduct of research, especially clinical trials. I have trained as a public health specialist and also attained a diploma in project planning and management. I have extensive experience working in research, having worked on various projects investigating therapeutics and vaccines, as well as observational studies. I am motivated to continue developing as a researcher, and be able to establish an independent career in research with strong collaborations with other researchers locally (Uganda) and globally. I want to continue developing as an inquisitive public health specialist and researcher, dedicated to identifying health problems in my setting and contributing to the generation of solutions for these using innovative research. I am also passionate about scientific communication and writing with outputs including published manuscripts, as well as mentorship of others.


My PhD project aims to describe the metabolic outcomes of adults living with HIV who are switched from first-line oral antiretroviral therapy (ART) to injectable cabotegravir and rilpivirine over a 2-year period

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Racheal Alinaitwe 

Twitter: @RachealAlinaitw

PhD title: Understanding the lives of caregivers of older people living with dementia in Uganda: Mapping unmet needs and co-developing solutions (Makerere University)

I am a psychiatrist with a special interest in old-age mental health.  I have worked as a program manager/co-ordinator for several research projects in the Department of Psychiatry, at Makerere University for the past 5 years since the completion of my master's degree training.  I am also a practicing psychiatrist.  I am passionate about mental health research and recently completed a D43 research fellowship with Washington University in St. Louis and Makerere University.  I have research experience with both community and hospital based mixed methods studies.

My research on the CREATE PhD fellowship will employ mixed methods to explore the lived experiences of caregivers of older people living with dementia in Uganda.  I will work to map the unmet needs of the caregivers and co-develop a culturally sensitive intervention with them.

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Tinashe Cynthia Mwaturura 

Twitter: @TinasheMwaturu1

PhD title: Improving the workflow of positive blood cultures from neonates admitted in a tertiary hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe (LSHTM, April 2024 onw)

I am an infectious disease epidemiologist with experience in leading infectious disease diagnosis research.  My aim is to contribute to the development of policies and services addressing the unmet burden of infections and to improve diagnostic practices which ultimately improve health outcomes of people in Zimbabwe and other low and middle income countries. 

My research under the CREATE PhD fellowship aims to improve the diagnosis and management of patients with sepsis at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe.  Through this project, I hope to develop strategies that will improve the surveillance and containment of antimicrobial resistance in Zimbabwe.

The CREATE PhD Programme is, in part, an evolution of the previous Bloomsbury Centre’s Wellcome Clinical PhD Programme in Global Health Research (2018-2022). The following fellows were recruited under this programme and form part of the larger community of support connected with the CREATE PhD Programme for the remainder of their fellowships.


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Claire Calderwood



PhD title: Integrated multi-disease health checks for TB affected households (IMBA Hutano): an evaluation of multimorbidity and the acceptability and yield of integrated health screening in Southern Africa (LSHTM, 2021 onw.)

I am a Respiratory StR who joined the Wellcome Global Health Programme in 2021 after an MSc in Epidemiology from LSHTM and an Academic Clinical Fellowship at UCL. I am based in Zimbabwe where my PhD is investigating the relationship between chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and malnutrition and tuberculosis. 

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Kate Gaskell

Twitter: @katekmg

PhD title: MDR TB exposed household contacts. Forgotten but not ignored. (LSHTM, 2017 onw.)


I am an academic clinician, working towards specialisation in infectious diseases in the UK. I went to medical school in Edinburgh, Scotland, spending my junior doctor years across Scotland and West London. I completed an MSc TMIH and DTMH at LSHTM. My interests lie in preventative medicine, specifically in multi drug resistant (MDR) TB exposed contacts. Working in Lima, Peru my PhD centres around household exposure to MDR TB, timelines for disease onset, secondary attack rates and risk of transmission. During the pandemic I have worked on SARS-CoV-2 household transmission.

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Alex Keeley



PhD Title: Does humoral immunity to candidate-vaccine antigens protect from Group A Streptococcus colonisation and disease in a longitudinal household cohort study in The Gambia? (LSHTM, 2021 onw.)

I am an adult infectious diseases and general medicine registrar, and a Wellcome Trust Clinical PhD fellow. I will be based in The Gambia, where I will be investigating antibody mediated immune responses to Strep A (Group A Streptococcus / Streptococcus pyogenes). I'm very excited to be joining such an inspiring community of researchers.

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Kevin Martin



PhD title: Integration of point-of-care diagnostics for sexually transmitted infections in antenatal care in Zimbabwe (LSHTM, 2021 onw.)

I am a UK clinician, training in genitourinary medicine and internal medicine, and a Wellcome Trust Clinical PhD Fellow. I first came to Zimbabwe in 2019, where I am currently based, as part of an MSc in Tropical Medicine and International Health at LSHTM. This laid the groundwork for my PhD, which is investigating the use of point-of-care diagnostics for STIs in antenatal care in Harare.

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Hannah Rickman



PhD title: Spatial heterogeneity of tuberculosis in Blantyre, Malawi: approaches to defining high-risk areas for targeted intervention (LSHTM, 2021 onw.)

I am an infectious diseases / general medicine registrar and clinical PhD fellow, based in Blantyre with the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust.


I graduated from Cambridge University in 2012 and completed foundation and core medical training in London. In 2016 I did the LSHTM DTM&H in East Africa and In 2018-2019 I completed a Master's in Public Health at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health on a Sommer Scholarship, with a concentration in Epidemiology & Biostatistics. I returned to ID/GIM registrar training as an Academic Clinical Fellow at LSHTM, and started my PhD in 2021. My interests are in TB, epidemiology and equity.

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Anja Saso



PhD Title: Vaccine-induced systemic and mucosal immunity to Bordetella pertussis in infancy: bringing B- and T-cell responses together (LSHTM, 2019 onw.)

I am a paediatrician and Wellcome-Trust Clinical PhD Fellow based in The Gambia. My work focuses on improving maternal and child health outcomes, specifically through translational research within infection, immunity and vaccinology.

I work with the Infant Immunology research group within the Vaccine & Immunity Theme at the MRC Unit The Gambia. I was awarded the one-year Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support under Imperial College London in 2018-19, followed by the Wellcome Trust Clinical PhD Fellowship in Global Health Research with LSHTM in 2019.

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Keira Skolimowska

PhD title: The role of platelets, and effect of aspirin, on neuroinflammation in TB meningitis (SGUL, 2020 onw.)

I completed Graduate Entry Medicine at Oxford University and obtained an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF) in Infectious Diseases/General Internal Medicine. I also completed the Global Health in Humanitarian Medicine course, hosted by Médecins Sans Frontières, UK, through which I obtained the Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (DTM&H).

My academic focus is to better understand the host immune response to TB with the aim of revealing potential targets for host-directed therapies that are urgently required in the era of rising TB drug resistance.

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Edwin Armitage



PhD title: Beta-haemolytic streptococcal carriage and infection in The Gambia: improving clinical management and investigating clinical epidemiology and transmission dynamics. (LSHTM, 2021 onw.)

I am a public health specialty registrar carrying out my PhD research in The Gambia on Group A Streptococcus (StrepA). I have been working at the MRC Unit The Gambia for several years and have been building research on StrepA and Rheumatic Heart Disease at the Unit. I have an MSc in Global Health and Development from UCL and was previously a public health Academic Clinical Fellow. In future I hope to continue to work on StrepA in Africa with a view to building surveillance systems, conducting vaccine trials, and looking at strategies to improve skin infection treatment and prevention in Africa..

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David McGregor

PhD title: Evaluating artemisinin-based combination therapy drug resistance in the context of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine mass drug administration on Soga Island on the Bijagos Archipelago of Guinea-Bissau (LSHTM, 2021 onw.)

I am an emergency medicine physician based in London. As a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Fellow my aim is to evaluate novel approaches to identify and monitor P. falciparum hotspots of malaria transmission and resistance in the context of mass drug administration. Prior to my PhD, I graduated from medicine at UCL and undertook an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship at Barts/QMUL. I also completed an MSc TMIH at LSHTM, and an MPH at Harvard School of Public Health on a Fulbright Scholarship.


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Ioana Olaru



PhD title: Understanding Gram-negative resistance in Zimbabwe (LSHTM, 2018 onw.)

I am an infectious disease physician and epidemiologist with an interest in antimicrobial resistance and use in low-resource settings.

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Jonathan Sturgeon

PhD tittle: The role of enteropathy and inflammation in Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) (QMUL, 2019 onw.)

I am a paediatrician doctor and Wellcome Trust clinical PhD fellow (administered by LSHTM) looking at malnutrition and its effect on the gut and the immune system in children. I am doing clinical research studies as sub-studies of the HOPE-SAM and TAME trials. I am based at Queen Mary, University of London, and I am working at Zvitambo Institute of Maternal and Child Health Research in Harare, Zimbabwe. I am interested in the body's response to infection, how it is affected by the gut and by malnutrition. I am aiming to subspecialise in paediatric infectious diseases. 

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Ceri Evans

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Sharif Ismail

Twitter: @SharifIsmail1

PhD title: HIV, and immune activation and clinical outcomes of mothers and infants in rural Zimbabwe (QMUL, 2017 onw.)


I am a paediatrician and Wellcome Clinical Research Fellow at Queen Mary University of London in the UK and the Zvitambo Institute for Maternal and Child Health Research in Harare, Zimbabwe. I have clinical and research interests in paediatric infection and immunity, particularly related to immune development and clinical outcomes of children who are HIV-exposed but uninfected.

PhD title: Strengthening national vaccination delivery systems for displaced populations in protracted crises (LSHTM, 2018 onw.)

I am a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellow at LSHTM, and a Specialist Registrar in Public Health in London. I was previously a Health Advisor at the then UK Department for International Development (DFID), and most recently with the National Infection Service at Public Health England (PHE). Before qualifying in medicine, I worked in policy analysis for RAND Europe, the Institute for Government, and the Nuffield Trust. At LSHTM, I help to deliver the Issues in Public Health and Principles and Practice of Public Health modules as part of the MSc in Public Health at the School, and also contribute to the distance learning MSc module, Control of Infectious Diseases (IDM104).

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Fiona Cresswell

PhD tittle: Improving diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis meningitis. (LSHTM, 2017 onw.)

HIV-related brain infections, particularly TB meningitis, has been the focus of my research for the last 5 years and I completed my PhD in 2021. My PhD research led me towards being part of the HARVEST consortium, a group of investigators from Uganda, South Africa, Indonesia, USA and Netherlands who are conducting a phase III randomised double-blinded placebo controlled clinical trial investigating whether high dose rifampicin can reduce death and disability from TB meningitis. In parallel, I'm developing an interest in long-acting injectable HIV treatments. I am keen to study the effectiveness, safety and optimal implementation strategies of injectable HIV therapies in African setting. I'm site principal investigator of an ongoing phase III clinical trial of 2-monthly injectable cabotegravir/rilpivirine trial of the same regimen in people with a history of sub-optimal HIV control (IMPALA study).

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Ana Bonell



PhD Title: Climate change, maternal health and birth outcomes: how does environmental heat affect pregnancy and birth outcomes in The Gambia (LSHTM, 2018 onw.)

I am a Wellcome funded Clinical Research Fellow working on maternal health and climate change. My research focuses on the direct impact of extreme heat on pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes.

I am a clinical doctor with training in anaesthetics and intensive care as well as an MSc in epidemiology. I also coordinate the Planetary Health Network and am a member of the management group of the Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health.

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Rachael Burke



PhD title: Improving outcomes for people living with HIV admitted to hospital in Malawi: Computer Aided Screening for Tuberculosis in Low Resource Environments (CASTLE) trial (LSHTM, 2019 onw.)


I am an Infectious Disease and General (Internal) Medicine registrar from the London Training Scheme. I am based in Malawi with the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Clinical Research Programme. My research interests are in tuberculosis and HIV co-infection, improving infectious disease diagnostics and in reducing in-hospital mortality for people living with HIV in low income settings.

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Joe Piper

PhD title: Effect of early-life nutrition and WASH interventions on the long-term health of Zimbabwean children (QMUL, 2019 onw.)

 I am a paediatric doctor (London-based trainee ST5) and Wellcome Trust Global Health clinical PHD fellow. I am based at Queen Mary University of London and Zvitambo Institute for Maternal and Child Health Research. I am investigating the long-term effects of early-life interventions by performing school-aged follow up of the Sanitation Hygiene Infant Nutrition Efficacy (SHINE) trial in Zimbabwe. This study randomised pregnant mothers to improved Sanitation, nutrition or standard of care. I am interested in the determinants and holistic measures of children’s health, growth, physical and cognitive development.

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