title="Staff, partners and associates of the College of Health Sciences with Prof. Sewankambo, Prof. Volderbing and Prof. Greene at the launch"IDI and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology – both part of the College of Health Sciences at Makerere University – on 28th January 2015 hosted guests at the launch of their new research translational laboratory. The remodelling of the laboratory space was supported by the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) - Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, Centre for AIDS Research. The translational laboratory supports areas in Immunology, Virology, Pharmacokinetics, Molecular Biology, Bacteriology, Mycology and Diagnostics.

The ceremony was graced by, among others, Prof. Nelson Sewankambo, the Principal of the College of Health Sciences; Prof. Harriet Mayanja-Kizza, the Dean of the School of Medicine in the College of Health Sciences; and the guests of honour, Prof. Warner Greene and Prof. Paul Volberding from UCSF.

Dr. Andrew Kambugu, the Head of the Research Department at IDI, underscored IDI’s commitment to promoting translational science as it aims to influence global policy and practice, having supported the completion of over 22 studies, 16 of which had resulted into peer-reviewed publications.  The Department had also contributed to two major landmark studies: The Cryptococcal Optimization of Antiretroviral therapy Outcomes (COAT) study, which looked at optimising the management of cryptococcal meningitis; this study had led to changes in global and national guidelines in the management of HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis. The Europe Africa Research Network for Second line Treatment (EARNEST) study looking at second line treatment findings will potentially lead to the substantial reduction of costs in HIV treatment. Both the COAT and EARNEST studies were published in the New England Medical Journal in 2014.  Dr. Richard Brough, Acting Executive Director of IDI and Prof. Josaphat Byamugisha, the Head of the Department of Obs & Gynae at the School of Medicine in the College of Health Sciences emphasised the importance of creating and sustaining partnerships in the development of resources such as the translational laboratory.

Prof. Volberding and Prof. Greene, eminent Professors of Medicine in the United States of America highlighted the increasing importance of teaching and instruction in basic science as a fundamental approach to improving health. Prof Volberding emphasized that “providing laboratory services will help provide a platform for young scientists to conduct research and do PhD work in Uganda without having to travel abroad; it will also give them an opportunity to ask and answer questions that are relevant to the health problems faced by patients at Mulago Hospital”. Prof. Greene pointed out that “the translational laboratory is an opportunity to fill the void of discovery of key scientific breakthroughs for Ugandan students, fellows and faculty at the College of Health Sciences". In his closing remarks, Prof. Nelson Sewankambo re-echoed the need for strong partnerships such as those that had made it possible for the translational laboratory to be created, and highlighted the need for scientists to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that the lab had created to conduct translational research.