Host organisation: University of Oslo, Norway, and University of Hildesheim, Germany

Project title: Using data mining and machine learning to develop novel treatments for drug resistant tuberculosis

Dr Aga is a data scientist working in Armauer Hansen Research Institute on TBGEN Project. She completed her PhD on machine learning and natural language processing from University of Hildesheim in Germany.

AREF Fellowship research project:

Tuberculosis (TB) is a major cause of disease globally, especially in Ethiopia. In resource-poor settings such as Ethiopia, where susceptibility of the bacteria to drugs is not performed prior to initiation of therapy, the patient has to take antibiotic drugs for some months to find out if the bacteria are drug resistant or not.

Data science and machine learning can offer new approaches to this problem. This research builds a machine learning model that identifies the variants of the drug resistance genes, using whole genome sequencing information as an input on Ethiopian TB patients isolates. Identifying drug resistant genes earlier improves patient treatment by applying the most effective drugs earlier, and avoiding exposing them to unnecessary drug side effects.

Dr Aga’s fellowship will take place at two institutions. First, at the University of Oslo to train in computational biology, specifically data handling, pre-processing and cleaning in a medical context. Second, at the University of Hildesheim where she will work with Dr. Lars and will learn how to use artificial intelligence on medical complex data.