Molecular Approaches to Clinical Microbiology in Africa (MRC Unit, The Gambia)

5–10 March 2016

MRC Unit, The Gambia


The wind of change is blowing through clinical microbiology, not just in
Africa but across the globe.  Molecular techniques are
revolutionising the routine practice of the identification and
characterisation of pathogens, opening many new opportunities and
challenges in all areas of clinical microbiology from routine diagnosis
to basic research.

This course will examine the impact of molecular approaches in the
African context by a combination of lectures and tutorials with
laboratory and computer practical sessions.  The course will provide
clinical microbiologists and laboratory scientists working in Africa with
a concise yet comprehensive overview of the latest research and practice
in this essential area, with an emphasis on how these techniques can be
applied day-to-day in the African setting, especially when resources are
limited.  There will be an emphasis on approaches that are: (i)
currently applicable in African laboratories; (ii) likely to be
applicable in Africa in the foreseeable future; or (iii) of value to
participants in interpreting the literature and assessing the likely
utility of new technologies as they are developed.

The course philosophy combines an understanding of the latest research
techniques and theoretical approaches with practical methods to provide a
foundation-level of understanding of the philosophy, methods, and
vocabulary of molecular techniques for those primarily trained in
culture-based microbiology.


The course will be based around three themes, chosen to represent three of the most pressing clinical imperatives in clinical bacteriology throughout the continent: Mycobacterium tuberculosis; enteric bacteria and antimicrobial resistance; and encapsulated bacteria.  For each of these themes the following approaches will be covered:

1. Basic molecular biology techniques including preparing, handling, and
storing DNA.
2. PCR, including real-time PCR, methods and applications.
3. Determining sequence variation, its visualisation and interpretation,
concentrating on conventional approaches.
4. Bioinformatic analysis of molecular and genomic data, particularly the
exploitation of web-based tools.
5. Future technologies, overview and potential for clinical microbiology.

These techniques will be explored in the lectures and tutorials and employed during the course practical sessions in the cross-cutting themes of pathogen detection and characterisation, including antimicrobial resistance and the evolution of pathogens, and the application of the data in the improvement of interventions to reduce disease burden.

Instructors and speakers

Course instructors
Martin Antonio Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia
Cath Arnold Public Health England, UK
Keith Jolley University of Oxford, UK
Sam Kariuki Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
Martin Maiden University of Oxford, UK
Chisomo Msefula Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Malawi
Mark Nicol University of Cape Town, South Africa

How to apply

The course is open to applicants working in Africa. Applicants should
have demonstrable experience in a relevant field and be: clinical
trainees or specialists in medical microbiology; postdoctoral scientists;
senior technicians; or research assistants with a Master’s degree.
Clinically qualified applicants are especially encouraged to apply.

Overseas courses are free to attend for non-commercial applicants.
Limited bursaries to cover travel, accommodation and sustenance expenses
are also available. Full details can be found under the
Bursaries tab.

Applications for this course can be completed online. If you have any
problems with the online application process, please contact us.

Please note: Applications
must be supported by a
recommendation from a scientific or clinical sponsor (e.g. supervisor or
head of department). A request for a supporting
statement will be sent
to your nominated sponsor automatically during
the application process.
Applicants must ensure that their sponsor
provides this supporting
statement by the application deadline. Applications without a supporting
statement cannot be considered.

Deadline for Applications: Closed



Overseas courses are free to attend for non-commercial applicants.
Limited bursaries to cover travel, accommodation and sustenance costs are
available and are awarded on merit. If you would like to apply for a
bursary, please complete the bursary section of the online application

Please note that both the applicant
and sponsor are required to provide
a justification for the
bursary as part of the application

Bursary terms and conditions

UK Courses (held at the Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton,
limited number of bursaries are available for each course. These are
awarded by the selection committee according to merit. The bursary
covers a maximum of 50% of the course fee, though in exceptional
circumstances an application for the total course fee may be considered.
Where there are many bursary applications, the selection committee may
issue smaller amounts. We cannot assist with travel costs to attend UK

Overseas Courses (held outside of the UK)
limited number of bursaries are available for each course. These are
awarded on merit to cover travel, accommodation and sustenance. The
maximum award for travel (economy class) will be £750.

Bursaries can be applied for as part of the course application form.
will be notified of a bursary award along with their place on
course, usually within one month of the application deadline. The
decision of the selection committee is

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