The team and its role within CYSTINET-Africa

The School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Zambia is one of the institutions participating in the Cysticercosis and Taeniosis Network of Sub-Saharan Africa (CYSTINET-AFRICA. Under this collaborative project, Zambia has proposed to establish a T. solium Experimental Pig Infection Model (TEPIM). The project in Zambia is therefore called BMBF-TEPIM Project. The main task of the project is to establish a reliable and reproducible porcine cysticercosis infection model, to explain preliminary field-findings of breed susceptibility to cysticercosis and to address further aspects of basic research on the disease in more detail. Since cysticercosis infection in pigs closely resembles the infection in humans, it serves as a good model to study the disease of both pigs and humans in detail, which emphasizes the one-health aspect of the disease. Besides, pigs are widely being used in translational research as they share anatomic and physiologic characteristics with humans. The primary aim of the study is to establish and an experimental pig model so as to conduct basic research on T. solium cysticercosis. The T. solium proglottids will be collected from human taeniosis carriers. The collection of these proglottids from adult tapeworms’ carriers will be done based on a community-based, cross-sectional study of T. solium cysticercosis/taeniosis (TSCT) prevalence in highly endemic provinces of Zambia.

FUNCTIONS OF MIH WITHIN THE CONSORTIUM:

  1. Development of the experimental pig infection model TEPIM.
  2. Establish a reliable and reproducalbe cysticercosis infection model to conduct basic research on T. solium cysticercosis.
Chummy Sikalizyo Sikasunge
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
Dr. Sikasunge, is a senior lecturer in parasitology (helminthology) in the Department of Paraclinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zambia. He has vast experience in the immune-diagnosis of cestodes including T. solium infections. His interest is in Parasitic Zoonoses and since 2002, he has been working on T. solium infections in pigs. In 2005, he obtained his Masters in Veterinary Parasitology from the University of Zambia and in 2009, he got his PhD in Parasitology and Parasite Immunology at University of Copenhagen, Denmark. During his PhD he spearheaded basic research on the immunopathological mechanisms involved in porcine cysticercosis. In CYSTINET –Africa, he is the Principal Investigator for the Zambian component, Taenia solium Experimental Pig Infection Model (TEPIM) project. He is also involved in the Cystic Echinoccocosis in Sub-Saharan Africa Research Initiative (CESSARi) network wherein he serves as the Principal Investigator for the Zambian part. He is a member of the CWGESA and currently head of the CWGESA Regional Reference Laboratory for immunodiagnosis of T. solium infections in humans and pigs.
Kabemba Evans Mwape
CO-PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
Dr. Mwape is a senior lecturer and researcher in the Department of Clinical Studies of the School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zambia. Holds a PhD in veterinary tropical diseases from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Dr. Mwape has over ten years of experience in T. solium research focusing on field work in rural settings including community engagement, diagnostic tools, epidemiology and control of T. solium. A Co-Researcher in the TEPIM Project, the Zambian project within the CYSTINET Africa Consortium. He is co-ordinating the human part of the Zambian project involving the identification of Taenia solium carriers, treating them and collecting proglottids for the experimental infection of pigs. Apart from his involvement in CYSTINET AFRICA, Dr. Mwape is also local co-ordinator for the CYSTISTOP and SOLID Projects and also Co-Co-ordinator of the cysticercosis reference laboratory for the Cysticercosis Working Group for Eastern and Southern Africa.
Isaac Khozozo Phiri
CO-PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
Prof. Phiri is a Professor of Parasite immunology and medicine in the Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zambia. He has vast experience in the Parasite immunology, especially in Cestodes (since 1983) and trematodes (since 1993) host immune-response and immune-diagnosis. He has acquired vast experience in research and postgraduate training in Parasitic Zoonoses since 1991. He has been working on T. solium infections in pigs and human since 1998. He has supervised and co-supervised over 15 PhD students and over 22 Masters students mostly in parasitic Zoonosis. He has vast experience in working in collaborative projects in consortium format. He has worked with a number of research groups in Europe (Belgian, Scotland, Denmark, Germany Ireland and England) and in Africa (Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, and Zimbabwe). He is one of the pioneering members of the cysticercosis working Group for Eastern and Southern Africa (CWGESA) and established the CWGESA Regional Reference Laboratory for immunodiagnosis of T. solium infections in humans. In CYSTINET –Africa, he is the Co-PI for the Zambian component responsible for capacity building component, He is closely T. solium Experimental Pig Infection Model (TEPIM) project. He is a member of the CWGESA. Have co-authored more than 65 research papers in peer reviewed international Journals and have also presented oral papers posters at international conferences and Workshops.
Gideon Zulu
PHD CANDIDATE
Gideon Zulu is a medical doctor working as District Health Director in the Ministry of Health. He holds a Master of Public health- Tropical Medicine from James Cook University, Australia. He has been involved in T . solium research since 2009 while working in rural districts. He is also involved as researcher in the SOLID and CYSTISTOP projects. Under the CYSTINET-Africa Consortium he is enrolled as PhD student under TEPIM project on the human part of the Zambian project which involves the identification of Taenia solium carriers, treating them and collecting proglottids for the experimental pig infection model.
Sharon Nsana
Ms Sharon Nsana has been working at the University of Zambia for 11 years as a Stenographer. She has over the years upgraded herself to a master’s degree in Development studies with special in Monitoring and Evaluation. She has been working in the Cystinet Africa Consortium since January 2017 as a project administrator in the Zambian project coordination office.
Kingford Haakalaki
Kingford Mutinta Haakalaki, is a Systems Developer in the department of Software Development, Centre for ICTs of The University of Zambia. He has worked in the department for ten years in developing and implementing both in-house developed and off-the-shelf systems. His interests are in software engineering around Web Technologies, E-Health and M-Health. Currently pursuing his Master of Science in Computer Science at The University of Zambia.