Eunice Wavinya Kiamba from Kenya, currently pursuing based in The Gambia, is our ambassador of the month. Eunice is a PhD student in immunology researching on understanding early innate and adaptive immune responses associated with HPV vaccination and how these responses influence the generation of the protective antibody mediated immunity. She joined the Immunopaedia team in March 2019 and has made valuable contributions by writing articles and showcasing Immunopaedia.
Position: Doctoral student
Research Institute: Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Research interests: I am passionate about vaccine immunology particularly antibody mediated immunity as well as the early innate and cellular mechanisms that drive the generation of sustainable antibody responses for long-term protection. I have developed and still learning relevant molecular and immunological skills applicable in solving immunological problems around relevant diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa where disease burden is highest. My current PhD project is aimed at understanding early innate, plasma cell, memory B cells and T follicular helper cell responses to HPV vaccination and how these responses influence the generation of the excellent serological protection that is usually observed from current HPV vaccines.
Recent publications: Plasmodium PHISTc (PF3D7_0936800) is a target of naturally acquired immunity to malaria (manuscript under revision).
Why I love immunology: Immunology helps us understand how the body functions in health and in disease, and this has helped in design and development of various life-saving vaccines and therapies. As an essential part of healthcare research, there are lots of un-unanswered immunological questions around various diseases and vaccines hence lots of more opportunities for us to learn in this field. At a time when many vaccines have been empirically developed, it is important to understand specific immunity to various antigens as this would facilitate novel approaches in vaccine design and development of more effective vaccines.
If I wasn’t an immunologist I would be: A molecular biologist. Immunology and molecular biology are two very necessary disciplines in health research today and especially in the wake of current technological advancements where we are able to integrate genetic and various other types of data to deduce important messages in health research.
Tips for young people who want to enter the field of immunology: If you are interested in Immunology, it is such an incredibly exciting and broad field meaning there is a lot that people can learn and do in this field. It is important to bear in mind that, just like any other research field, everything does not always happen smoothly and part of the learning process is to be able to address challenges as we encounter them.
What being an Immunopaedia Ambassador means to me: This to me means an opportunity to make more people aware of the Immunopaedia online platform and its role in disseminating immunological knowledge in both clinical and basic healthcare research.
How I have contributed to Immunopaedia so far: I became an Immunopaedia ambassador in March 2019 having attended IDA 2018 in Cape Town in October 2018. Since then, I have contributed to immunopaedia by creating awareness in my current host institution where I gave an Immunopaedia talk on 2019 in the Vaccines and Immunity Theme meeting and people were very happy to learn about it. I have also submitted content for Immunopaedia publication two times, a highlight on the Vaccinology in Africa course that was organized by University of Oxford in collaboration with MRC Unit the Gambia at LSHTM in Gambia and an interview for the October 2019 Immunologist of the month, Professor Jayne Sutherland. I have also been sharing relevant Immunopaedia opportunities within the Unit so those interested can apply. I plan to contribute towards this noble course more in this year as I have opportunities to attend various International conferences from where I can highlight conference contents and interview various Immunologists for publication on the Immunopaedia platform.
The Immunopaedia Ambassador program is a network of early-career immunologists -Graduate students, Post-Docs and Junior Principal Investigators- who work to spread the word about our website in their home countries and institutions. The program started in 2017, and every month since we have recognised ambassadors who have made valuable contributions to the website. This month we are highlighting contributions of our top 5 Ambassadors.
Thandeka Moyo, by far is our top contributing Ambassador. Thandeka has conducted multiple interviews and written many articles for Immunopaedia. From 2016-2017, she was a member of the Immunopaedia Communications team, and was responsible for coordinating the Immunopaeida Ambassador Program.
Jennifer Enciso Garcia, soon to be PhD Graduate from Mexico, was our September 2017 Ambassador of the month. During her tenure, she has conducted multiple interviews of researchers who have presented at conferences in Latin America, as well as assisted with the organisation of the Immuno-Informatics-Mexico. Jennifer has worked closely with Juan Carlos Balandran Jaurez, also from Mexico and October 2018 Ambassador of the Month. Juan has conducted multiple interviews and written news articles for Immunopaedia. Video Interviews conducted by Jennifer and Juan can be watched on our Youtube Page: ALAI/SMI Immunopaedia Interviews. Cristina Artaza Irigaray, from Spain based in Mexico, was one of the first ambassadors to present a Poster on Immunopaedia at an international conference (ALAI-SMI-Congress in May 2018). During this conference, she conducted audio interviews and wrote news articles summarising key highlights of the meeting. Cristina was our December 2017 Ambassador of the Month.
Last but not least is Kenneth Omollo, from Kenya (February 2018 Ambassador of the month). He has written news articles on HIV and TB immunology, and conducted a written interview of prominent Immunologist Lyle McKinnon. Other top contributing Ambassadors are Amy Mónaco, Katrhin Held, Maria Bernadette Madel and Dana Manuela Savulescu.
These individuals are not the only Ambassadors who have contributed to Immunopaedia. We would like to thank those who have contributed but are not highlighted in this article. Your commitment and contributions are much appreciated.