Dr Gibril Ndow, a 2020 AREF Fellow, has been awarded a Wellcome Trust International Training Fellowship for his research into chronic Hepatitis B (CHB) infection.

CHB is a potentially life-threatening infection where the Hepatitis B virus attacks the liver. It is a leading cause of liver cancer, causing 820,000 deaths worldwide in 2019 alone*. And despite the World Health Organisation’s ambitious targets to eliminate CHB by 2030, there are still large gaps in our understanding of how to control and treat it in African patients.

During his 3-year Wellcome Trust Fellowship, Dr Ndow will study the expression of metabolites (small molecules and chemicals) at various stages of CHB infection in African adults. He aims to understand how these metabolites influence the persistence, progression and clearance of the virus, to propose chemical pathways in the body that could be targets for new treatments.

This research is successive of Dr Ndow’s 2020 AREF Fellowship, where he developed expertise, knowledge and skills in metabolomics during his nine-month placement at Imperial College London, UK. The pilot data that he generated during his AREF fellowship on the metabolic characteristics of CHB patients in The Gambia helped to demonstrate the feasibility of his proposed future study, and lead to a more competitive intermediate fellowship application.

Dr Ndow said: “My success in this Wellcome Trust Fellowship is a direct result of the training, competence, pilot data and collaborations/networks generated during my AREF preparatory fellowship. I am truly grateful to AREF for all the support and opportunities – the fellowship, the grant writing course and all the informal support from AREF staff.”

Professor Sir Tumani Corrah, Founder and co-President of AREF, said:

“By winning this prestigious Wellcome Trust Fellowship, Gibril is staying in Africa focussing his research on a debilitating disease that affects over 60 million Africans. We at AREF are proud of this significant achievement and wish him a successful research career.”

Find out more about our Research Development Fellowships.

*World Health Organisation, 2019: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ht epatitis-b