Laboratories, space and equipment: Immunology
Over the years, the Department of Medical microbiology has built capacity for research and training in immunology. The department has the first and only fully fledged immunology training laboratory in the University. The laboratory collaborates with the Makerere University Walter Reed, Medical Research Council and Join Clinical Research Centre Laboratories. The laboratory can perform and teach all T-cell and immunoglobulin based immunological techniques.
Equipment available in the immunology lab: Water baths, centrifuges, pipette aides; ELISA reader; ELISA washer; ELISA spot; Refrigerators and freezers; Liquid nitrogen tanks.
The Department started as a clinical microbiology department for the University and has been on the fore front of promoting clinical microbiology for the University and country. Below is a summary of the recent developments in the department:
- Clinical Microbiology Laboratory: The Department of Medical Microbiology has the oldest teaching clinical microbiology laboratory in the country that has embarked on an international (ISO) accreditation process. This laboratory has taught well qualified and successful 10 students in Master of Medicine in Microbiology as well as 3 doctoral students.
Equipment available in the Clinical Microbiology lab: Microscopes; Centrifuges; Freezers; Refrigerators; Incubators; Fluorescent Microscope; Autoclave; weighing scale.
- BSL-3 Mycobacteriology laboratory:The Department has just completed construction of a state of the art BSL-3 laboratory that can enable it handle highly infectious agents. It is the only one in the University. This will enable the Department to practically teach on wide range infectious agents that no other University in the country can.
Equipment available in the BSL-3 laboratory: A high containment area, well equipped P3 facility; MGIT machine; 2 Level two bio-safety cabinets CO2 incubators; inverted microscopes; refrigeration facilities.
- Mycology laboratory:The Department of Medical Microbiology has the only clinical mycology laboratory in the country. It has been instrumental in detecting existing and new fungal infections in the era of HIV/AIDS. This will be a powerful resource to disseminate knowledge on diagnosis of fungal diseases.
- Virology: Currently the Department collaborates with Uganda Virus Research Institute to teach practical virology. This collaboration will continue as we aim to build our own capacity.
Molecular biology laboratory
- The Molecular Biology Laboratoryis the main research and training laboratory in the department. Research scope is wide, spanning from basic molecular studies to apply and operational research in infectious diseases that cause most of the disease burden in Uganda. Other studies focus on TB Molecular Epidemiology, Drug resistance studies and Molecular Diagnostics services offered to the teaching hospitals and other research laboratories in Uganda.
- Equipment available in the molecular Diagnostic laboratory: Two Thermocyclers; Real time PCR machine; Gel documentation systems (UV illuminators and Stratalinker, networked gel Bioimaging system); Basic equipment for manipulation of DNA/RNA (Incubators, spectrophotometers, electrophoretic apparatus (vertical and horizontal), etc), air and water incubators, hybridization oven, Gene quants, Vacuum blotters, pH meter; Ice making machine, autoclave, water distiller, Refrigerators and freezers, equipped dark room.
- Molecular Diagnostic laboratory:The Department has acquired funds to construct a clinical diagnostic molecular laboratory. It will be the first one in the region. This will tremendously increase the capacity of the Department to teach and introduce molecular techniques in the diagnosis of ailments in the University and country at large.
Lecture Space of the department of Medical Microbiology
The Department has nine spacious office laboratories, one of which is being used as a computer room for post-graduate students. There are also two study rooms reserved for MSc and PhD students. The department has a big teaching laboratory, accommodating up to 400 students. The College of Health Sciences has provided funds for extensive renovation of this teaching laboratory: the learning environment has never been better for student in the College of Health Sciences.
The Department has a computer laboratory (6 x 8 meters) for post-graduate students, equipped with 5 desktop computers, each fully connected to internet.
The department of Medical Microbiology has a total number of 15 academic staff members. Two are full Professors, two associate Professors, two senior lecturers, four full lecturers, three assistant lecturers and two teaching assistants. Five of the academic staff members are doing doctoral studies and they are in the advanced stage of their studies. 90% of the support staff members have first degrees and 50% have master’s degrees.
- Clinical microbiologists:The Department has 7 well trained clinical microbiologistsand 5 technologists.
- Immunologists:The department is working with five dedicated immunologists and many visiting immunologists with keen interest to develop the proposed program.
The College of Health Sciences has a well equipped library containing current editions of text books of immunology and clinical microbiology which are available to students. The library also has access to the leading journals and electronic books in immunology and clinical microbiology. Graduate students are also provided passwords to access medical literature electronically using the WHO/HINARI initiative (World Health Organization / Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative). In addition, the department also has a fully equipped book bank. Page Break
The department has two running graduate programmes:
- MMED Microbiology
- Doctoral program: The department has gone ahead and started a doctoral program in immunology with 5 fully sponsored PhD immunology students. The doctoral program will also serve as an avenue for the masters graduates. Although it is new, the doctoral program has been very favourably reviewed by Welcome Trust, Karolinska institute and Case Western Reserve Universities that are well recognized immunology teaching institutions. With capacity to handle a doctoral program, it should be feasible to start a master’s program and later an undergraduate one.
Researchers wishing to utilize the departmental research facilities are welcome.