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ISID/BMGF Research Capacity Building: Cohort I – Mentorship Update

ISID's research grants are one of the Society’s signature programs and are instrumental in fulfilling ISID’s commitment to funding researchers from countries that bear the greatest health and economic burden from infectious diseases. ISID's first cohort of researchers have recently completed their first quarter (Q1) of the program and have shared their stories with us.

As ISID opens applications for its next cohort of mentees for the joint ISID/BMGF Research Capacity Building grant program this Fall, be sure to see what a few of our current mentees are up to:

Bawa Boya, Benin

Project: Resistance and virulence factors of Salmonella spp. strains isolated from cholera endemic waters
→ Read abstract here


Water samples were collected from June to August 2023. The collection was carried out in two phases, one in June 2023 and the other in July 2023. A total of 220 water samples will be collected using the Rodier technique at a rate of 20 samples per commune. Presumptive salmonella strains were isolated using Salmonella-Shigella (SS) culture media from water collected in 11 cholera-endemic communes, namely Abomey-Calavi, Dassa-Zoumé, Savalou, Djougou, Cotonou, Porto-Novo, Sô-Ava, Parakou, Sèmè-Kpodji, Athiémey and Aguégué. biochemical identification is underway.


During the first three months of the study period, water samples were collected from April to August 2023. A total of 220 water samples were collected using the Rodier technique, with 20 samples per commune. Water samples were collected in 11 cholera-endemic communes: Abomey-Calavi, Dassa-Zoumé, Savalou, Djougou, Cotonou, Porto-Novo, Sô-Ava, Parakou, Sèmè-Kpodji, Athiémey and Aguégué. After water sampling, Salmonella was isolated after pre-enrichment in indole-free peptone-water broth (Sanofi Diagnostic Pasteur, Marnes-La-Coquette, France) at 37°C for 24 h. This was followed by selective enrichment in Rappaport-Vassiliadis broth (RV10; OXOID), incubated at 37°C.  After the selective enrichment step, colonies were isolated by plating on Salmonella-Shigella agar and incubating at 37°C for 24-48 h.

Water sample collection

Hilary Okunbor, Nigeria

Project: Prevalence and patterns of carriage of vancomycin -resistant Staphylococcus aureus among in-patients in a teaching hospital in South West Nigeria

Read abstract here


  • After having received the ISID/BMGF research capacity building grant, I prepared the research protocol and relevant formats as its annexures under the guidance of local guides and my ISID mentor, Dr Anil K Bhola. With continuous guidance and support from the guides, I successfully obtained the ethical clearance from the Babcock University Health Research Ethics Committee (BUHREC 613/23 dated 7 July 2023) within one month time as per the proposed timeline
  • Procuring reagent was a challenge here in Nigeria due to regulatory policies
  • However, I was able to contact a supplier from United States of America
  • Bench work began on August 7, 2023 with media preparation


  1. Resolving institutional administration related challenges pertaining to research. There were slight changes to the institutional fee and the protocol review fee
  2. Obtained approval from Babcock University Health Research Ethics Committee (BUHREC)
  3. Resolved challenges with procurement of Telavancin Epsilon-test and Tedizolid strip by contacting a vendor in the United States of America who promised to produce the E-test and send it to Nigeria
  4. In the next quarter (September-November 2023), antimicrobial susceptibility testing and polymerase chain reaction, of Staph. aureus for some resistance gene will be done
Babcock university teaching hospital laboratory facility with molecular and biobanking equipment
Nasal swab specimen collection, gram staining, inoculation, and characterisation of isolates

Raj Kumar Shrestha, Nepal

Project: A pilot study to investigate community-associated risk factors for gut colonization with 3rd generation cephalosporin-resistant Enterobacterales in neonates after introduction into the community
→ Read abstract here


  • Addition of one more study site for patient enrollment
  • Completion of study protocols, case report forms, and other follow-up forms
  • Preparation for the research assistant training completed


An introductory meeting on 12th June and 1st quarter’s meeting on 3rd August were held online with my ISID mentor, Professor Alison Holmes. We discussed the overall aspects of the project and upcoming plans. A submission of the proposal and protocols was made to the Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC) for ethical review on the 6th of July. We have already addressed and responded to the comments from the two assigned reviewers. We are anticipating receiving ethical approval from NHRC around the 2nd to 3rd week of September. Furthermore, procurement of the deliverables is completed except for the PCR reagents, which will be done by the mid of October.

Siddhi Memorial Hospital (SMH) is a 50-bed pediatric and maternal hospital located in Bhimsensthan-7, Bhaktapur, Nepal. The hospital is a not-for-profit non-governmental hospital. Annually, SMH provides outpatient services to about 16,000 and inpatient services to over 500 children. There are over 600 deliveries in the Obstetrics department of the hospital on average per year.

Research assistants, for sample collection, are short-listed and will be finalized by the end of August. In the second week of September, the selected candidates will be invited for a 3 days training at the primary study site (Siddhi Memorial Hospital). The training will be delivered by local researchers and will cover the fundamentals of clinical research including topics like introduction to clinical research, Good Clinical Practice, Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (for laboratory personnel), informed consent, and ethical considerations for research involving vulnerable populations. Assistants will be trained in data and sample collection procedures. Competency testing will be carried out to document proof of competency in sample collection and transport.

We expect to initiate the participant enrollment around the 4th week of September to the 1st week of October depending on when we will be granted the ethical approval.

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