Edinburgh Infectious Diseases
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Molecular Biology Laboratory Training in Kampala, Uganda

December 2021: Applying whole-genome sequencing approaches to understand AMR.

Franklin Mayanja during lab activities
Franklin Mayanja during lab activities

Franklin Mayanja is currently one of the Ugandan Fleming Fund fellows focusing on animal health, working on DNA sequencing and genomic analysis. He works as a laboratory technologist at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in Entebbe, about 30 miles south of Kampala. 

As part of his fellowship, Franklin visited the Molecular Biology and Immunology Laboratory at Makerere University in Kampala to receive hands-on training in whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and build technical capacity.

The lab is part of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Biology at the University of Health Sciences, which has state-of-the-art facilities for WGS, including genomics and DNA sequencing labs, a bioinformatics suite, and houses the H3Africa Biorepository.

During his visit, Franklin contributed to DNA extraction from over 800 samples. His activities contributed to ongoing work in the Molecular Biology and Immunology Laboratory to prepare samples for WGS from bacterial isolates collected as part of a project launched by the first cohort of Fleming Fund fellows in 2020. Analysis of these samples will help assess the impact of antibiotic use in hospitals and communities on the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.

Molecular Biology Laboratory Training in Kampala, Uganda
Franklin Mayanja at the Molecular Biology Laboratory in Kampala

Franklin also received basic training in bioinformatics and the power of whole-genome analysis in studying antibiotic resistance, particularly in pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Mycobacterium tuberculosis that cause infections in humans. 

This training has enhanced Franklin's understanding of whole genome sequencing (WGS) and bioinformatics tools for analysing genomic data. He will share the skills he has acquired with his colleagues at his workplace to help develop broader use of this technology in combatting AMR in the animal health sector.

I would like to thank Mot MacDonald as the Fleming Fund Management Agent for providing me with the opportunity for a fellowship in Bioinformatics and Sequencing in Animal Health and logistical support for the 25-day training in the Molecular Biology Laboratory at Mulago.

My special thanks to the team at the University of Edinburgh for the support/coordination and capacity building granted to me.

Likewise, I would like to thank my institution, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, for giving me the time to complete this training for the benefit of the institution and my professional development related to the global threat of AMR.

And finally, special thanks to the Molecular Biology Laboratory training team for all the skills and knowledge they shared with me.

Franklin MayanjaSequencing fellow in Animal Health, Laboratory Technologist, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Uganda

Related links

About the Fleming Fund

Roslin Institute

Makarere University, Department of Immunology and Molecular Biology