Collen Masimirembwa is a pioneer of pharmacogenetics research in Africa and continues to champion its development to clinical applications. He conducted the first molecular genetic studies in African populations in the early 90s leading to the discovery of the African specific CYP2D6 genetic variant, CYP2D6*17. Over the past 25 years he has endeavored to integrated pharmacogenetics in the drug discovery and development value chain with a particular interest in understanding the genomic diversity of African populations and its implications for drug safety and efficacy. He has published over 90 original papers on the metabolism & pharmacokinetics of antiparasitic drugs and on the population genetic polymorphism of ADME genes in Africa. This has allowed him to combine pharmacokinetics modeling & simulation and molecular structural & functional studies of genetic variation of ADME to bridge basic genetic polymorphism research to clinical applications. This research has led to the award-winning pharmacogenetics test and dosing algorithm for the safe use of the antiretroviral drug, efavirenz (EFV). The product, GeneDoseÒ-EFV is now under commercial development.
To build capacity for pharmacogenomics research in Africa Collen has used his institute and extensive international network of collaborators to train Masters and PhD students in Africa, who are, in their various settings conducting basic and translational pharmacogenetics research. This has culminated in an EDCTP (European and Developing Countries Clinical Trial Partnership) training grant to initiate a 2-year Master’s degree in Genomic Medicine and Molecular Diagnostics, whose first intake will be in January 2019. Towards this, Collen is appealing for support from the international pharmacogenetics community to assist with mentorship and opportunities for research project attachment for students of this MSc program through AiBST’s Virtual Global Faculty program (contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org).
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