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Meningitis Research in persons with HIV/AIDS in Africa                 

Posting expires on 12/31/2023

Research Site:
Kampala, Uganda

Type of Research:


This opportunity does not have a stipend.

Improving Diagnostics and Neurocognitive Outcomes in HIV/AIDS-related Meningitis

Central nervous system (CNS) infections are common across all ages in Sub-Saharan Africa in people with or without HIV-infection. In persons with HIV, cryptococcal meningitis is particularly common, being the second most common AIDS-defining illness in Africa and the most common cause of meningitis in adults in Sub-Saharan Africa overall. With the widespread availability of HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART), long term survival in AIDS patients with CNS infections should be possible, but delayed or inaccurate diagnoses contribute to poor acute outcomes, including high acute mortality.
A Minnesota-Makerere Meningitis research team is enrolling a prospective cohort study of 1000 HIV-infected persons presenting with suspected CNS infection in Kampala, Uganda; Mbarara, Uganda; and Ifakara, Tanzania. We will use point-of-care and molecular diagnostics to rapidly determine the etiologies of CNS infections, with a specific focus on new diagnostic tests for Tuberculosis (TB) meningitis. Among persons with cryptococcal meningitis, we are prospectively assessing neurological, functional, and neurocognitive status in a randomized clinical trial to determine if adjunctive sertraline has anti-fungal activity and neurocognitive benefit. In this trial, we will also assess for risk factors for adverse neurocognitive outcomes in persons with cryptococcosis.

Ongoing Projects:
1) Novel diagnostics for meningitis;
2) Randomized clinical trials for cryptococcal meningitis -- for novel strategies and novel therapies;
3) Randomized clinical trial for improved therapy for TB meningitis -- being the first trial for TB meningitis among adults in Africa.

Research opportunities are available for medical, public health, and MiCaB students and post-graduate trainees in a variety of clinical, translational, basic science, health economics, and policy research areas within the setting of a NIH-sponsored randomized clinical trial conducted via a FDA investigational new drug (IND) trial.

1) Can Do Positive Attitude
2) Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to function within a team
3) Ability to function in different cultures
4) Research Interest. This is not an experience for those interested in an international clinical elective. If an international clinical elective is your interest, please see IMER options.
5) Involvement for 3-12 months

1) Experience of a Lifetime; however, there generally is no stipend.
-- For those interested in 11 months research abroad, please apply for the Doris Duke or Fogarty international fellows programs, which do have stipends.
2) Housing in country is provided
3) Potential IMER, UMN, and external foundation travel grants are available.

1) Joshua Rhein: joshua.rhein [at]
2) David Boulware: boulw001 [at]

More information

Posted on 02/11/2019