Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI)

The Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) is a Ugandan non-government organization owned by Makerere University with the mission: “To strengthen health systems in Africa through research and capacity building”. IDI provides comprehensive services for over 250,000 people with HIV and other infectious diseases in Uganda. It is unique in resource-limited settings as a one-stop site for mentees providing access to patients, samples, CAP certified laboratory, translational laboratory, statistic support, a variety training and short courses.

The research program hosts more than 100 research projects. The program has several collaborations with institutions based in the US and Europe; IDI collaborates with UCSF on a U54 project on Kaposi Sarcoma (PI: Martin J). Key areas of research are HIV and HIV related co-infection and cancers (clinical and lab based). Fellows can leverage existing programs, particularly the HIV clinic located at the Mulago site which hosts specialized services and grants on sexual and reproductive health, mental health, non-communicable diseases, treatment failure, Kaposi sarcoma diagnostic, TB co-infections and two ongoing cohorts (along-term outcomes cohort and a geriatric cohort).

While working within their proposed projects, all scholars and research fellows at IDI are offered training through orientation, journal clubs, research fellows peer support club, a short course on scientific writing, monthly soft skills training (e.g. how to formulate a research questions, how to present, PowerPoint skills etc.), and a weekly research forum.

The research capacity building unit within the research department provides infrastructural support, management of finances, administrative and regulatory support and oversight, internal monitoring, and the IDI scholars community for peer support and exchange.

For trainees with lab-based projects, the research translational lab has a microbiology section (BACTEC machine, incubators, biosafety cabinets, fluorescent microscopes (iLED Primostar Zeiss & Zeiss mercury vapor lamp), a molecular section (RT-PCR machine (AB 7500), convectional PCR, bio-fire machines, Gene Xpert) , an immunology section (FACS Canto II flow cytometer, MiniMACs cell separator, Luminex MAGPIX, ELISA washer and plate reader), and a PK section (2 HPLC machines and a mass spectrophotometer). 

Site contact: Dr. Barbara Castelnuovo

Infectious Diseases Research Collaboration (IDRC)

The Infectious Diseases Research Collaboration (IDRC) is a not-for-profit organization, established in 2008 by Ugandan health scientists from Makerere University and the Ministry of Health (MoH) to conduct research in infectious diseases. IDRC has active memoranda of understanding with Makerere University, MoH and UCSF to conduct research in infectious diseases, including malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis. The mission of IDRC is to conduct high-quality research in infectious and other diseases of public health importance through collaboration and partnerships. Specific objectives including: I) To build capacity through training, technology advancement and improvement of local health service infrastructure; II) To conduct research in infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other diseases of public importance; III) To disseminate results of research and promote an evidence-based approach to policy making by linking researchers and policy makers; IV) To support the efforts of the Uganda Ministry of Health, Mulago Hospital and other health institutions in Uganda in prevention, care and treatment of infectious diseases.

The collaboration includes over thirty faculty at MU and UCSF, with a budget of $10 million and over 50 publications annually. Some of the important projects that could be leveraged for training future GloCal fellows include:

  • A Multisectoral Strategy to Address Persistent Drivers of the HIV Epidemic in East Africa.
  • Program for Resistance, Immunology, Surveillance, and Modeling of Malaria in Uganda.
  • Optimal chemo-preventive regimens to prevent malaria and improve birth outcomes in Uganda.
  • Integrated HIV/HTN, (Leveraging the HIV platform for hypertension control in Uganda).
  • Programs studying immune responses to malaria infection, antimalarial drug resistance and treatment efficacy, antiretroviral therapy initiation, HIV-associated pneumonia, and TB.

FIC, GloCal, K43 and G11 funded programs have trained and built capacity of over 80 Ugandan junior scientists and administrators. IDRC has facilities and resources with over 20 administrators to support trainees. The facilities include office space at its headquarters and research sites in Tororo, Mbale and Mbarara; a reference malaria laboratory; a research infrastructure for clinical, translational, and molecular research; and modern data management centers in Kampala and Tororo.

Site contact: Dr. Moses Kamya

Uganda TB Implementation Research Consortium (U-TIRC)

Established in 2008, the Uganda TB Implementation Research Consortium (U-TIRC) is a collaboration of research scientists at Makerere University led by Dr. Achilles Katamba, public health officials at the Uganda Ministry of Health and the Uganda National TB and Leprosy Programme in Uganda, and research scientists at UCSF and other institutions. U-TIRC focuses on improving TB diagnosis and care by undertaking high-quality clinical, epidemiological and implementation science research that seeks to identify barriers to TB prevention and care, develop strategies to address the barriers, and evaluate the uptake and impact of these strategies.

U-TIRC facilitates higher-level training of Ugandans through the NIH D43 Pulmonary Complications of AIDS Research Training (PART) program, which supports a number of trainees currently pursuing PhD or Masters degrees. PART trainees are paired with a mentor to work on a project focused on pulmonary complications of HIV/AIDS and are provided funding and mentorship support for up to 3 years. In addition, trainees have an opportunity to attend modular courses on mixed methods and implementation science (ImS). Both courses are organized in a series of four workshops spread over the course of one-year with work in-progress sessions in between.  The mixed methods course covers mixed methods design, data collection and analysis and manuscript writing. The ImS course covers introduction to ImS, individual/ organizational behavior change strategies; stakeholder engagement, implementation frameworks; study design and evaluation; and manuscript writing. U-TIRC currently supports 20 PART trainees and has over 25 alumni from the program.

In 2019, U-TIRC shifted its administrative base from Makerere University to WALIMU, a local non-government organization. Walimu/U-TIRC provides in-country logistical, personnel/human resources, grants management, accounting, procurement, customs clearance, computing/ information technology, secretarial and ancillary support. Walimu/U-TIRC maintains dedicated office space for investigators with access to telephone service, desktop computer, scanner, printer, and locked file cabinets. Conference call facilities to support interactions with US-based investigators and staff are available using a voice-over-internet protocol connection provided by Zoom. Current research staff include 10 project coordinators, 45 research assistants and 7 administrative staff. Current projects have developed research infrastructure at >40 health centers in 30 districts of the country.

Site Contact: Dr. Achilles Katamba