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The African Postdoctoral Training Initiative (APTI)

The African Academy of Sciences (AAS), the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are partnering under the auspices of the Coalition of African Research & Innovation (CARI) to establish a post-doctoral training fellowship program, the African Postdoctoral Training Initiative (APTI).  Training will be at a world class institute, the intramural laboratories of NIH. 

APTI fellows will train in a global health research area of priority for their home institutions and countries, and AAS, BMGF and NIH, while building bridges and lasting connections between the partner organizations and African scientists and institutions. While at the NIH, the fellows must be on leave or sabbatical from their home institution under the NIH Intramural Visiting Fellow Program (https://policymanual.nih.gov/2300-320-3). The research priority areas are in infectious diseases, nutrition, and reproductive, maternal, and child health and developing skills for clinical and translational research. Research on other significant burdens of disease in Africa will also be considered.  More information available   

APTI fellows will be expected to lead important research programs in their home countries and institutions. After successful completion of the two-year postdoctoral fellowship, trainees will be provided with 50% salary support for an additional two years to assist their transition into independent researchers. 

The main objective of APTI is to train a cadre of African scientists so they return to their home institutions and become scientific leaders in their community, help solve Africa’s challenges in global health and development, and in turn become trainers of the next generation. A key ingredient is a focus on the home institutions. As such, APTI expects commitment from home institutions to provide a conducive research environment and dedicated research time for the fellows upon their return home. APTI fellows are expected to be a part of an African regional and global web of collaborations connecting to their home institutions. APTI fellows will linked to an existing African and global scientific networks and are expected to nurture these scientific collaborations and relationships. 

  • Must be citizens of and currently employed in an academic, research, or government position in an African country.  

  • Must have a relevant doctoral degree (e.g., PhD, MD, MBBS) awarded no more than 15 years earlier. 

  • Must have less than 5 years of relevant research experience following the award of their doctoral degree by their start date at the NIH. The maximum five years of research experience are only after the doctoral degree has been earned.  Research conducted before the award of the doctoral degree does not count against this time. 

  • Professional merit, scientific ability, and potential future career impact (based on CV, letter of interest, and two reference letters). 

  • Assurance and availability of resources from the home institution for a designated, funded research position for the postdoc upon completion of their fellowship (expressed in letter from director/head of research of home institution). 

  • Commitment to return to their home country following completion of training (expressed in a letter of interest). 

  • A selection committee will ensure the best match of outstanding candidates and NIH laboratory positions. Additional selection factors may include diversity in scientific research areas, geographic origin, and gender. 

Susan Gichoga 

Grants Officer, African Academy of Sciences 

Phone: +254 20 240 5150. Email: apti@aasciences.ac.ke     

Jackie Officer 

Program Specialist, Fogarty International Center, NIH 

Phone: +1-301-496-4784. Email: jackie.officer@nih.gov  

Stacy Wallick 

Program Officer, Fogarty International Center, NIH 

Phone: +1-301-496-4784. Email: stacy.wallick@nih.gov 

Meet the Team

AESA Team Member
Judith Omumbo Programme Manager
AESA Team Member
Susan Gichoga Senior Grants Officer

2019 African Postdoctoral Training Initiative Fellows and NIH Hosts

Dr. Idowu Aimola
Nigeria

Research area: diabetes, maternal and child health

Home institution: Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
Host institution: National Human Genome Research Institute

Dr. Aimola will spend his fellowship year at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) under the mentorship of Francis Collins, MD, PhD. His research will focus on characterizing the differentiation pathway of induced pluripotent stem cells to the pancreatic beta cells lineage.

Dr. Aimola received a PhD in biochemistry from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, with several scholarly publications. He was a Fulbright scholar at the Department of Developmental and Regenerative Medicine
Mount Sinai School of Medicine New York. 

Dr. Aimola’s long-term research goals are directed towards understanding gene function and patterns of gene expression with underlying molecular events of blood stem  cell development and uncovering novel molecular and epigenetic control mechanisms governing the developmental expression of human globin genes. Idowu Aimola is an Academic Staff at the Department of Biochemistry, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
 

Dr. Nana Ama Amissah
Ghana

Research area: infectious diseases

Home institution: Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Ghana
Host institution: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
 

Dr. Amissah will spend her fellowship at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) under the mentorship of Michael Otto, PhD. Her research will focus on investigation intra- and interspecies competition that resulted in the dominance of a specific Staphylococcus aureus strain in Buruli ulcers. Specifically, she will focus on the factors that influence bacteriocin expression, mode of action and host cell immunity.

Dr. Amissah received a PhD in Sciences from the University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Netherlands in 2017. She gained knowledge in Staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium ulcerans epidemiology in skin and soft tissue infections. She is a Research Fellow at the Noguchi emorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana. Dr. Amissah plans to study mechanisms used by staphylococci and other Gram-positive bacteria to evade the human immune system and drug therapy, focusing mainly on the strategies used to evade host antimicrobial peptides. Focusing on African staphylococcal isolates will unravel yet unrecognized staphylococcal immune evasion mechanisms.
 

Dr. Thomas Hormenu
Ghana

Research area: diabetes

Home institution: University of Cape Coast, Ghana
Host institution: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
 

Dr. Hormenu will spend his fellowship at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) under the mentorship of Anne Sumner,  MD. His research will focus on establishing how lifetime nutritional exposures lead to diabetes throughout lifespan in Ghana.


Dr. Hormenu completed his PhD training in Health Promotion at the University of Cape Coast in 2017. He examined and established baseline information on factors influencing adolescents’ health behaviors in
Ghana. Dr. Hormenu is a lecturer at the University of Cape Coast, teaching, researching and training undergraduate and postgraduate students.


Dr. Hormenu’s research goal is integrate the research experience he will acquire from the postdoctoral training at NIH in his home country and the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, where he wishes to design nutritional surveys, assess physical activity and model data from oral and intravenous glucose tolerance tests and elucidate the relationship between nutritional exposures related to culture and history and glucose parameters such as insulin resistance, beta-cell failure and glucose effectiveness. Dr. Hormenu is interested in building, maintaining collaborative relationships and forming research consortium with teams of experts in academics; clinicians and other health professionals to conduct research into finding the causal factors and issues of public health concerns and developed evidence based culturally sensitive efficacious health promotion interventions.
 

Dr. Musa Kana
Nigeria

Research area: tuberculosis, respiratory diseases, child health

Home institution: Federal University Lafia, Nigeria
Host institution: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
 

Dr. Kana will spend his fellowship at the National Institute of Environmental Science (NIEHS), Research Triangle Park, North Carolina under the mentorship of Stephanie London, MD, PhD. His research will focus on molecular epidemiology, specifically on environmental, genetic, and epigenetic factors, and their interactions, in relation to respiratory health and illness across the life-course. This is to prepare him with the requisite skills to design and implement a proposed birth outcome study in Northern Nigeria.

Dr. Kana was trained at the University of Jos, Nigeria (MD, 2003), Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, Nigeria (MPH, 2006), National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (FMCPH, 2011) and University of Porto, Portugal (PhD, 2018). He is a lifetime member of International Epidemiological Association. His research interests and pubic health practice are in perinatal and pediatric epidemiology, health systems and primary health care. For the  paper, impact of the global financial crisis on low birth 
Weight in Portugal: A Time-Trend Analysis. He won the best poster presentation in the  Young Researchers Forum of the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region during the European Public Health Conference, October 2015, Milan, Italy.

As an early career scientist that has benefitted from the enormous research resources especially for  statistics available in the developed world. He appreciates the significance of making these resources assessable to young scholars based in resource constraint countries. Dr. Kana is a  collaborator on the
Bibliotheca Alexandrina-Serageldin Research Methods Library project, which built the largest research
Methods library in the world.

Dr. Oyebola will spend his fellowship at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), under the mentorship of  Swee Lay Thein Duffy, DSc  His research will focus on genome-wide identification of
Potential modifiers of sickle cell disease (SCD).

The project will also delineate genetic variants in African and European sickle cell populations.
 

Dr. Rania Labib
Egypt

Research area: child health

Home institution: Children’s Cancer Hospital, Egypt
Host institution: National Cancer Institute

Dr. Labib will spend her fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) under the mentorship of Beverly Mock, PhD. Her research will focus on finding new biomarkers and drugs to target B-cell lymphoma which is a common childhood cancer in Africa.

Dr. Labib has a PhD in Clinical Pharmacy with a focus on pharmacogenomics in pediatric oncology. She is the founder and Head of the Biorepository and Biospecimen Research Core Facility at the Children’s Cancer Hospital (CCHE)-57357-Egypt. Beginning in 2010 and while still a PhD student, Dr. Labib received multiple grants to establish the biorepository at CCHE which started in 2012 and included sample collection and storage. This was her first step to aid in cancer research and precision medicine through the establishment of a biorepository as a core facility to make samples available for researchers.

Dr. Labib is a young investigator with experience in oncology, Pharmacogenomics, and clinical pharmacy. She aims to become a leader in the field of cancer drug screening and pharmaceutical research.

Dr. Hamma Maiga
Mali

Research area: malaria, maternal and child health

Home institution: Institut National de Recherche en Santé Publique, Mali
Host institution: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
 

Dr. Maiga will spend his fellowship year at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases  (NIAID) under the mentorship of Patrick Duffy, MD. His research will focus on  monitoring  antimalarial drugs used for seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC).


Dr. Maiga has worked as a Medical Doctor at the Malaria Research and Training Center (MRTC) in Mali since 2002. This position allowed him to gain extensive field and laboratory experience on malaria. Dr. Maiga participated as a clinical investigator and coordinator in many research studies including artemisinin-based combinations therapies, intermittent preventive treatment in children and pregnant 
women, and malarial drug resistance. In 2016, he was promoted to a new position as research assistant at
the National Institute for Public Health Research in Mali. Dr. Maiga received his PhD in Parasitology-Medical Entomology in 2017 with a focus on molecular investigation of drug resistance used in seasonal
malaria chemoprevention (SMC).

Dr. Maiga expects that the APIT program will help to develop his career and his becoming an   independent researcher . He hopes to contribute to the training of young scientists in Mali.
 

Dr. Bartholomew Ondigo
Kenya

Research area: malaria

Home institution: Egerton University, Kenya
Host institution: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
 

Dr. Ondigo will spend his fellowship at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)  under the mentorship of Michal Fried, PhD. His research will focus on T-cell immune responses and their functional roles in the pathophysiology of placental malaria and acquired immunity to placental parasites.


Dr. Ondigo is a Kenyan fellow with growing expertise in the immunology of infectious parasitic diseases and global health. He completed his PhD training in Immunology from Maseno University, Kenya in 2013. In 2012 he was a recipient of a Fogarty Global Health Fellowship to study human immunity to malaria. To pursue his interests in parasitic diseases, he began his post-doctoral studies focusing on  immunology of schistosomiasis at Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) in 2014. 

Dr. Ondigo is highly enthusiastic about biomedical research and has been active in research projects that involve epidemiological investigation and basic research. He has published five first author articles in peer-reviewed journals. Outside of his current position as a researcher he teaches at Egerton University in
The Department Of  Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Dr. Ondigo’s long-term goal is to be an independent investigator and be part of team in translational research in infectious diseases. This will enable him to integrate his previous training and international experience to establish an infectious disease 
Research program focused on tropical parasitic diseases. Dr. Ondigo hopes to become a successful
Researcher and leader in the field of global health.
 

Dr. Kolapo Oyebola
Nigeria

Research area: sickle cell disease

Home institution: University of Lagos, Nigeria
Host institution: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Dr. Oyebola completed his PhD in Parasitology and Bioinformatics at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. Through a competitive early career postdoctoral fellowship, he adopted innovative cell biology and genomic techniques to identify drug-tolerant malaria parasites in the absence of Kelch-13 mutations linked with resistance. He hopes to be an established African researcher focusing on genomics of tropical infectious diseases and their interaction with the human hosts.   

Dr. Oyebola’s research career has received considerable recognitions. He won the overall prize for best PhD Thesis, University of Lagos, Nigeria followed by a Wellcome Trust-DELTAS Postdoctoral Fellowship. He has also received training awards from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Broad Institute on Molecular SNP Barcoding and from H3Africa Bioinformatics Network to train on chip data analysis of genomewide association studies of human populations. Dr. Oyebola is a Future Africa Fellow, 
An H3Africa Fellow and has served as a reviewer to several journals.
 

Dr. Irene Offei Owusu
Ghana

Research area: infectious diseases, viruses

Home institution: Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Ghana
Host institution: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Dr. Offei Owusu will spend her fellowship at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Rocky Mountains Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana under the mentorship of Vincent Munster, PhD. Her research will investigate the development of a surveillance network for emerging viruses in Africa and point-ofcare diagnostic assays for detection of the emerging viruses. Her focus will be on Lassa fever which is one of the most rapidly emerging viral diseases in Africa.


Dr. Offei Owusu received a PhD in Public Health from the University of Ghana. She is a young scientist with nearly 11 years of experience in the study of NTDs specifically lymphatic filariasis. She’s led two operational research activities: The first was a Bill and Melinda Gates funded project through the Task Force for Global Health, Atlanta, titled “Resolving the Critical Challenges Now Facing the Global Program for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis; Operational Research Phases I & II.” The findings led to the development and implementation of Transmission Assessment Surveys (TAS) which are being utilized by all LF endemic countries. The second was a CDC funded project, “Post-MDA Surveillance for Lymphatic Filariasis Transmission.” This project evaluated the Wb123 ELISA assay for LF elimination programme.  Dr. Offei Owusu has extensive experience in fieldwork and molecular research  methods as a diagnostic tool for studying the epidemiology of infectious diseases. Dr. Offei Owusu’s long term professional goal is to be a public health expert, conducting groundbreaking research that will ultimately lead to eliminating emerging viral and parasitic diseases globally.
 

Dr. Markos Tesfaye Woldeyohannes
Ethiopia

Research area: child health

Home institution: St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College, Ethiopia
Host institution: National Institute of Nursing Research
 

Markos Tesfaye Woldeyohannes, MD, PhD will be a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Nursing Research in Bethesda, Maryland under the mentorship of Paule Joseph,  PhD, MSN, FNP-BC, CTN-B. His research aims to investigate intergenerational effects and biological mechanisms of under and over nutrition.
 
Dr. Woldeyohannes obtained his M.D from Jimma University, Ethiopia and PhD in Nutrition from University of Copenhagen, Denmark. His dissertation focused on food insecurity, nutrition, and quality of life among people living with HIV. He has led the Department of Psychiatry, Jimma University where he contributed to the development of services, training and research in mental health. He has been the research director of St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College in Addis Ababa since 2017.


Dr. Woldeyohannes research interests include the interaction between physical and mental health, food insecurity, and nutrition. He aspires to learn advanced research techniques to understand gene-environment interactions in the causation of chronic health conditions such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Woldeyohannes is committed to teaching and mentoring research methods in health sciences.