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NIH Announces Two New H3Africa Awards

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded two new grants as part of the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) program. The program is funded by the NIH’s Common Fund in partnership with Britain’s Wellcome Trust. The grants total more than $300,000 and are issued as part of the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) component of H3Africa. The studies are aimed at determining what the populations of Nigeria and Ethiopia understand about genomics. As announced in the NIH press release (available at www.genome.gov/27558535), the new grants are awarded to:

  • Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria, $162,000

    •  Principal Investigator: Clement Adebayo Adebamowo, MD, ScD

  •  Dr. Adebamowo and his colleagues will conduct interviews with community leaders and focus groups in rural and urban populations to gauge how concepts on heritability and genomics are understood in local languages. They will assess the participants’ perception and satisfaction with the informed consent form currently in use, and compare it to a new consent form the researchers will develop. The new form will include language that they hope will better explain genomics terms based on feedback they receive from the interviews and focus groups. The researchers plan to test this on participants enrolling in a diabetes study. The Nigeria project could impact how consent forms for genomics-related projects are written, especially for populations unfamiliar with the concepts of heritability and genomics.

  • Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, $161,151

    • Principal Investigator: Getnet Tadele, PhD

  •  Dr. Tadele and his colleagues are assessing young people’s (ages 15–24) understanding of how genes and the environment interact to cause podoconiosis, an infectious condition prevalent in northern Ethiopia. The disease is caused when people with certain genetic variants are exposed to volcanic soil. An estimated one-fifth of Ethiopians carry the genetic variants that result in the debilitating disease. Researchers will then develop educational …

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