Mbarara University of Science and Technology also known as MUST is a public university accredited by the National Council for Higher Education in Uganda. It has acclaimed national and international recognition for best practices in outreach and community relations from Association of Commonwealth Universities, European Union, Civil Society of Uganda, produces the best development workers and health care professionals. Its vision as a leading institution is to be a centre of academic and professional excellence in Science and Technology with the goal of providing quality and relevant education at national and international level with particular emphasis on Science and Technology and its application to community development.
The Site Director
Mwebesa Bosco Bwana
Dr. Bwana is the lead clinician at the Mbarara University of Science and Technology-Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital Immune Suppression Syndrome (MUST-MRRH ISS) clinic. He is also an Assistant lecturer for Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine at Mbarara University of Science and Technology. He has been practicing HIV clinical care, teaching, and researching for more than 15 years. Dr. Bwana has a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery from Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Mbarara, Uganda, a Master’s degree in public health from Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, and a postgraduate certificate training in clinical research from University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, USA. Beginning in 2005, he championed the development of a robust electronic medical record system at the MUST-MRRH ISS clinic using the OpenMRS platform which holds data for over 30,000 registered HIV patients and supports both clinical care and research. He is the site principle investigator for the international epidemiologic databases to Evaluate AIDs (IeDEA) East African Consortium. Some of his current research focuses on mechanisms to reduce HIV transmission among sero-different couples who want to conceive a child and resistance testing among patients failing on first line antiretrivral therapy.
With his combination of clinical knowledge, creative problem-solving, and research expertise, Dr. Bwana has published over 23 manuscripts as well as mentor many medical students and post-graduates from Uganda and abroad. A few of his US mentees include Dr. Mark Siedner, a current Associate Professor at Massachusetts General Hospital who went on to obtain NIH funding in the form of a K23, a R21, and two R01s and Dr. Suzanne McCluskey, an Instructor in Medicine, who was recently awarded a K23 award.
Francis Bajunirwe, Senior Lecturer, Department of Community Health, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Mbarara, Uganda
Francis Bajunirwe completed his medical degree training at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and thereafter served as a Medical Officer in the Department of Surgery at Mbarara University Teaching Hospital. He chose a career in research and was accepted as a Fogarty fellow at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio under the AIDS International Training and Research Program. He completed a Master’s degree in Epidemiology under the supervision of Dr. Christopher Whalen and returned to Cleveland for a PhD program, also in Epidemiology which he completed in 2008.
On completion of his PhD, he returned to Mbarara University of Science and Technology where he assumed a position of Senior Lecturer in the Department of Community. In that same year, he received a grant from Doris Duke to implement a mobile pharmacy to deliver antiretroviral therapy to patients living in remote areas in two rural districts in south western Uganda. He supported the initiation of the Masters of Public Health at Mbarara University, and he coordinates this program to-date.
He partnered with his mentor Dr. Christopher Whalen, at Case Western Reserve University to support the successful renewal of the AITRP program and he co-directed the program that oversaw over 30 fellows receiving USA in-country training support.
His current research involves implementation of community based initiatives to expand screening for HIV and non-communicable diseases, uptake and adherence to pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV among key populations. He has an interest in research ethics and recently supported a successful application to the NIH to start a Masters in Public Health with a concentration in research ethics at Mbarara University. He also serves as chair of the Research Ethics Committee at Mbarara University.
Gertrude N. Kiwanuka
Gertrude N. Kiwanuka is the sixth Dean Faculty of Medicine and the first female Dean. She took on Deanship mid-September 2017. Gertrude is head of 24 Departments distributed in the six programs (Disciplines) in the Faculty of Medicine: Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing Science, Pharmaceutical Science, Medical Laboratory Science, and Physiotherapy. She provides administrative oversight of the Faculty, budget for the Faculty and control the Faculty financial vote. As a young leader, she is committed to bring fresh strategic vision and value to the Faculty; strengthen the existing local and international partnerships and seek to increase the visibility and status of Faculty of Medicine at MUST. She seeks to inspire others to attain their full potential.
My research interests range from molecular studies and mechanisms of pathogenesis of infectious diseases, particularly malaria and HIV, to molecular mechanisms of non-communicable diseases e.g. cancer, cardiovascular disease, and genetic determinants of obesity.
Since her B.Sc. graduation, She has been interested in biomedical research to support the body of knowledge in medicine. She has had the intention of employing a combination of field-based research with laboratory-based studies. The only way to achieve this is through collaborative research and this characterizes her short-and long-term goal. Through much of her career, her focus has been on the molecular biology of malaria parasites to study the diversity of the parasites, its contribution to epidemiology and the pathogenesis of anemia.
She has been interested in studying the interaction of the biology of the parasites and the host’s immune system. However, with increasing vector control methods, improved diagnosis and treatment of malaria cases, as well as promising results from malaria vaccine trials, her research interests are stretching to studies of non-communicable diseases (NCDs): cancer, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Non-communicable diseases have outstripped infectious diseases in being the leading cause of mortality worldwide. She is currently supervising four Masters students doing research projects on different aspects of diabetes and insulin resistance.
Gertrude is passionate and enthusiastic about enforcing, promoting and training of research ethics both at the institution and national level. As vice chairperson of Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) Institution Research Ethics Committee (REC), she has provided leadership in evaluating research ethics issues and regulation of research activities approved by MUST REC for more than four years. Her work involves, among others, evaluation of research proposals to ensure that all human research is conducted in accordance with the highest ethical standards; that the participants’ rights and welfare are not violated; monitoring research sites and research ethics training. As a way of improving human participants’ protection, she revised MUST REC research ethics evaluation tools, specifically the informed consent document and consent template for storage of biological specimens to the current form. The current formats provide guiding notes to both participants and investigators for mutual understanding of their rights, responsibilities and expectations. She is currently involved in reviewing the Standard Operations Procedure and Policy of MUST REC.
Dr. Muhindo is a full-time clinician and administrator at Mbarara University of Science and Technology and its teaching affiliate hospital, Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH) where she is the joint head of the Internal Medicine Department. Dr. Muhindo is also a senior lecturer at MUST and Physician at the government run MRRH.
As a physician, she has served as an Associate Lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in the Nephrology unit of Johannesburg Hospital and also spent time at the prestigious McMaster University in Canada under the International Outreach program where she cut her reputation in nephrology.
For the last 7 years, Dr. Muhindo set out to start renal medicine services at the Mbarara Regional Referral hospital and has since been its head with a task accomplished. Her commitment together with her mentors have made it possible to offer the much-coveted renal treatment let alone dialysis services in the South-western region of Uganda. Her research interests are focussing on kidney disease, particularly but not limited to understanding the short and long term impact of sepsis on Acute Kidney Injury: describing the glomerular characteristics of patients with glomerulonephritis in South-Western Uganda among others.
Dr. Joseph Ngonzi
Dr. Ngonzi is a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology department at Mbarara University in southwestern Uganda. He has done work in HIV/AIDS among pregnant and postpartum women in Uganda. He has researched on HIV disclosure facilitators and hinderances among pregnant women in Uganda as well as on HIV Infection and risk of postpartum infection, complications and mortality in rural Uganda. He has interest in cervical cancer control among HIV infected women. His focus in gynecology work and research has been in cervical cancer screening, while his focus in Obstetrics has been in maternal safety, including management of maternal HIV infections, maternal hemorrhage and maternal sepsis.
Dr. Ngonzi has also personally witnessed numerous maternal deaths and obstetrical near misses, many of which have been caused by postpartum sepsis. These experiences have also inspired his research interests on understanding causes of sepsis, means to prevent it, and the responsible use of antibiotics especially among HIV infected women. His research focus now is to improve maternal outcomes through appropriate antibiotic use and sepsis prevention in resource-limited settings among HIV infected and un-infected women.
Stephen Asiimwe is the Program Director of the Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)-Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Global Health Collaborative (GHC). He is a Physician Scientist with many years of collaborative clinical and population based research as well as program design and implementation in Uganda. Previously, he was the Executive Director of ICOBI, a national NGO with leading community interventions and research into HIV, TB and Malaria. He has a degree in Medicine & Surgery from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda (1999) and a Masters Degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Case Western Reserve University Ohio (2006) as well as a doctorate in public health Epidemiology and Health Policy at the University of Georgia, USA (2013). Before taking on the role of Program Director, he was involved in 8-10 years of active clinical practice (general medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology and surgery). His work seeing patients in the clinic with preventable illnesses led to his interest in population health, particularly in work related to HIV and STI prevention and management. Stephen is now Principal and Co Principal Investigator at the Kabwohe Clinical Research Center (KCRC) and Integrated Community Based Initiatives (ICOBI) respectively in Uganda, both of which are centers of excellence in clinical and community-based medical research in Uganda that conduct, multi-center HIV prevention clinical/community trials among others. He is also an attending Clinician, and Co-Investigator, involved with teaching and collaborative research projects with colleagues at the University of Washington (Seattle), University of Georgia, Harvard Center for Global Health, Makerere University and Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Uganda. Stephen is also an adjunct faculty and honorary lecturer of epidemiology and biostatistics at the MUST department of community health and assists train for the NIH supported MURTI program at MUST.
Associate Professor Sam Maling
Professor Maling has a 22-year history of health care services and health professionals training in Uganda. He is the immediate former Dean of Faculty of Medicine and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Mbarara University of Science and Technology in which he is responsible for the training and mentorship of medical doctors, medical laboratory scientists, pharmacists, graduate nurses, physiotherapists and pharmaceutical scientists in the faculty of medicine. In addition, he oversaw and guided the curriculum review and implementation of both undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the faculty, in improving clinical training in both the hospital and community setting, student assessment and planning and implementing community based medical education.
As a faculty leader, he has nurtured both local and international collaborations and guided departments in achieving their academic missions. He is the core trainer in the Leadership Development Program in the Faculty of Medicine, MUST. He has previously been co-investigator of MEPI-Medical Education program in Uganda named Medical Education for Equitable Services to All Ugandans (MESAU) funded by NIH (Grant No. R24 TW008886 (PI-Nelson Sewankambo). Currently, he is a Co-Program Director of another NIH-funded training program: Mbarara University Research Training Initiative (MURTI) being implemented at Mbarara University of Science and Technology. As a MURTI Co-PD he is directly responsible for the mentor-mentee relationship, coordinate and oversee the mentor-mentee relationship, monitor trainee progress including their research projects and career development. He is a member of the MURTI Program Implementation Committee and the Training Advisory Committee. He is a fellow of the Foundation for Advancement of Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) undertaken with Sub-Saharan Africa-FAIMER Regional Institute (SAFRI) in which he underwent training in medical education principles, curriculum development, assessment, teaching, mentorship, leadership and scholarship. He is a recipient of the Rogers Fellowship under the Medical Research Council in which he studied HIV/AIDS infection among severely ill mental patients in Uganda. He also underwent a mentorship program implemented by International College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CINP). He is an author of a chapter in a book titled: Psychiatric Problems of HIV/AIDS and their Management in Africa (Eds Segane Musisi & Eugene Kinyanda) and also a chapter author in a book titled: Psychiatry for Primary Health Care in Uganda (Ed Emilio Ovuga). As a native Ugandan, he has worked as a psychiatrist in a resource-limited setting since 2002 and a physician since 1995 and regularly provide care to patients living with Alzheimer’s and other related dementias, HIV Associated Dementia and other psychiatric disorders seen in rural communities as well as clinical settings. He has also conducted and published research in southwest rural Uganda, and has partnered with international researchers in some of these efforts. In addition, he leads and coordinate the addiction, psychopharmacology and geriatric psychiatry modules to residents at the department of psychiatry.
Elias Kumbakumba is a specialist pediatrician, a university senior lecturer and a researcher in child development and infectious diseases.
Dr. Muzoora is a HIV physician-scientist with formal training in clinical research. He has been involved in HIV care for the last 10 years with special interest in tuberculosis and cryptococcal meningitis. He jointly runs the TB HIV clinic and the infectious disease unit of the Medical ward at Mbarara regional referral hospital. His main research goals have been in the improving the diagnosis of Tuberculosis especially in HIV infected patients and the improved treatment of HIV-associated cryptococol meningitis. He has conducted three clinical trials involving cryptococcal meningitis and several other projects in HIV and TB. As a result of his expertise, he was invited as by the World Health Organization to participate in the writing the recently published Cryptococcal meningitis management guidelines. Additionally, Dr Muzoora is the Mbarara site PI for two clinical trials: Ambition and RIFT.