Organisers: Hugues Abriel and Patricia Teixidor Monsell (University of Bern) in collaboration with Fabian Käser (KFPE)
This online workshop aims to bring together three leading Principal Investigators (PIs) in medical genomics from three different African countries to discuss aspects and opportunities for South-South collaborations in the field. The workshop will also explore the risks and potential benefits of collaborating with medical genetics labs in the European Union and Switzerland.
To discuss the modern challenges and opportunities in medical genomics research in Africa
To share experiences and best practices in medical genomics research among the PIs
To explore new strategies and approaches to advancing medical genomics research through South-South collaborations in Africa
To evaluate the risks and benefits of collaborations with medical genetics labs in the European Union and Switzerland
To develop guidelines for ethical and equitable collaborations with EU and Swiss scientists.
The workshop will feature three young leading PIs in medical genomics from Africa:
The workshop will be held online and include presentations and panel discussions by the three PIs, followed by interactive sessions. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions, share their experiences, and participate in group discussions. Prof. Aimé Lumaka (Kinshasa and Liège), our guest, will be introducing the topic of "Medical Genomics in Africa" during the workshop.
Participants are expected to gain a deeper understanding of the current challenges and opportunities in medical genomics research in Africa. They will also have the opportunity to share their experiences and learn best practices from leading PIs in the field. The workshop will create a network of medical genomics researchers in Africa for future collaboration and knowledge sharing. Finally, the workshop will develop guidelines for ethical and equitable partnerships with collaborators from Switzerland.
Prof. Gerrye Mubungu is a pediatrician and medical geneticist at the Center for Human Genetics, University of Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her work focuses on deciphering the clinical and genetic characteristics of rare diseases, particularly developmental disorders and intellectual disabilities, in patients of African ancestry.
After five years of training at the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Leuven, Belgium, Prof. Mubungu earned her Ph.D. in Genetics and Genomics. She also serves as Vice-Director of the Reference Center for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases at the University of Kinshasa.
Prof. Mubungu is a skilled communicator and teacher, having taught and coached hundreds of students in genetics and neonatology. She supervises several trainees in these fields and helps them improve their communication skills, essential for working in a team and pursuing a scientific career.
One of Prof. Mubungu's notable accomplishments is setting up a collaboration network with maternity hospitals in Kinshasa to research facial dysmorphisms. This project has benefited other researchers and provided visibility to her institution. She has also expanded her network by connecting with colleagues in Cameroon and South Africa during the African Society for Genetics and H3Africa congresses.
Prof. Mubungu regularly lectures on pediatrics and genetics to students from various university institutions in Kinshasa. She recently completed the FAIMER Institute courses in the USA, where she designed an ambitious project to establish a well-structured genetic department at her institution. Her goal is to positively impact the health of Congolese patients by bringing expertise in genetics to those who care for them.
In summary, Prof. Mubungu is a dedicated and skilled medical professional committed to improving the health outcomes of patients with rare diseases in Africa. She is an accomplished researcher, teacher, and communicator who has made significant contributions to her field.
Prof Shahida Moosa is an internationally-trained clinician-scientist. She is a medical genomicist and combines her knowledge and skills in clinical genomics, bioinformatics, molecular biology and molecular genomics to lead both the Medical Genetics team at Tygerberg Hospital, as well as the Rare Disease Genomics in South Africa research group at Stellenbosch University. After completing her specialty training at Wits University, she obtained her PhD at the University of Cologne, Germany (summa cum laude), followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital. Prof Moosa is very passionate about bringing genomics to Africa and using these technologies to benefit African patients, especially those who are still undiagnosed. She is also committed to mentoring younger African scientists and to skills transfer and capacity building in southern Africa.
Prof Moosa has been awarded a C2 NRF rating in recognition of her status as an independent researcher and is the only Medical Geneticist in South Africa with an NRF rating. She serves as Section Editor (Clinical Genetics) for the European Journal of Human Genetics and Associate Editor for the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A. She also serves as an expert on two ClinGen Gene Curation Expert Panels: ClinGen Syndromic Disorder Gene Curation Expert Panel and the ClinGen Skeletal Disorders Gene Curation Expert Panel.
Dr. Laila Bouguenouch is a genetics professor at the Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Dentistry in Fez. Originally from Morocco, she completed her medical studies at the Faculty of Medicine in Fez, followed by a residency in medical genetics.
Dr. Bouguenouch has participated in several research projects funded by the MOFFIT centre, the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Fez, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer and cancer research institute.
She also conducted studies in various fields of genetics, including cardio genetics and genetic of cancers. Throughout her career, she has contributed to the publication of several articles in indexed scientific journals. She is also active in the scientific community by serving on editorial committees and organizing conferences and training workshops.
In addition to her research work, she trains future medical geneticists and supervises masters and PhD students. She also teaches fundamental genetics, medical genetics, and molecular biotechnology to medical and pharmacy students and is involved in outreach activities to encourage young people to pursue scientific careers.
Dr. Bouguenouch is a member of several scientific associations, including the Moroccan Society of Medical Genetics.
She is presently the head of the Medical Genetics and Oncogenetics department at the University Hospital Hassan II Fez, where they perform genetic testing for hematological cancers, solid cancers, mental retardation, malformation syndromes, as well as antenatal diagnosis.