Host organisation: Imperial College London, United Kingdom

Project title: Developing metabonomics skills to understand chronic hepatitis B infection and identify new biomarkers

Dr Gibril Ndow obtained his medical degree (MB ChB) from the University of The Gambia and postgraduate training in Infectious Diseases at Cheikh Anta Diop University (Senegal). For his PhD at Imperial College London, he studied disease progression and treatment outcomes in adults with chronic hepatitis B infection in The Gambia.

Gibril’s current research aims to use metabolomics to understand why some Africans with chronic hepatitis B infection develop active liver disease and others do not.

AREF Fellowship research project:

Dr Ndow says “There are significant gaps in our understanding of the mechanisms underlying hepatitis B disease evolution in African patients. As a result, there are poor guidelines for treating and monitoring patients, poor capacity for identifying patients at risk of liver disease, and no definitive cure for hepatitis B. 

“Recent advancements in metabolomics provide a unique opportunity to answer some of these urgent questions in hepatitis B and unlock potentials to identify risk factors of disease progression, biomarkers for early diagnosis and targets for curative treatment.

“In a follow-on research project, I will use metabolomics applications to investigate the molecular characteristics underlying hepatitis B disease evolution and outcomes in a well-defined cohort of African patients with chronic hepatitis B.”

In this AREF-EDCTP fellowship, Dr Ndow will spend nine months at Imperial College’s Systems Medicine division. During the placement, he will develop expertise and skills in metabolomics and metabolic profiling through taught courses and practical on-the-job training; and generate pilot data on the metabolic characteristics of hepatitis B patients in The Gambia. These will help to refine the research questions for his proposed future study, demonstrate its feasibility, and lead to a more competitive intermediate fellowship application.”