In January our HALI lab team had the honor of hosting Professor Elizabeth Wellington and her chief laboratory technician David Porter from the University of Warwick. Prof. Wellington and David are collaborating with HALI on the National Institutes of Heath funded project investigating transmission pathways of Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) between animals, people and the environment. M. bovis is a bacterium and causative agent of tuberculosis in cattle, and has the ability to jump the species barrier and also cause tuberculosis in humans.
While at Sokoine University, David organized a special seven day training program for our HALI lab technicians and field staff on various diagnostic methods used to detect M. bovis, focusing on DNA extraction, immunomagnetic capture, and Real Time PCR analysis. During the training, our team practiced these techniques on a variety of field collected samples from our study site in the Ruaha ecosystem, including soil and feces from livestock collected at pastoralist bomas, clinical tissue samples from slaughterhouses in Iringa, milk samples from pastoralist herds, and water and sediment samples from Ruaha River tributaries and other surface water locations in the area. With these skills, our team at the SUA lab will be well-equipped to receive and test samples collected for the NIH project, helping HALI to better understand how M. bovis moves and is transmitted in the landscape, and how best to prevent exposure to M. bovis in animals and people.
The HALI team would like to thank the NIH project for funding the program, especially Professor Rudovick Kazwala and Professor Woutrina Miller for co-ordinating and organising the event. Our sincere thanks also to Prof. Wellington and David Porter for developing and providing this valuable training, and to the SUA laboratory team members for their cooperation in making it successful.
All pictures of the training provided by Dr. Annette Roug, a HALI PhD candidate working with the NIH project.