Dr. Vito Baraka

Dr. Vito Baraka is a Principal Researcher and Head of Biomedical Research Department who holds a PhD in Medical Sciences from the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences Universiteit of Antwerp, Belgium (July 2018). He obtained Masters of Molecular Biology (MSc.) in Vrije Universiteit of Brussels & Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp, Belgium (Oct 2010-Sept 2012) and his B.Sc. in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BSc MBB) from the University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (Sept 2004-November 2007). Dr. Baraka research background applies molecular and genomics epidemiological approaches to solve practical problems in infectious diseases control. He has a strong interest in infectious diseases, malaria in particular, focusing on chemoprevention strategies, disease epidemiology and drug resistance surveillance (AMR). His current projects include the development malaria chemoprevention strategies including Intermittent Presumptive Treatment in different vulnerable populations (IPTp, SMC, IPTsc etc.), impact of climate change on vector borne infections, new COVID-19 diagnostics strategies, clinical trials on uncomplicated and severe malaria, AMR metagenomics, tracking and mapping regional spread of antimalarial drug resistance (artemisinin and partners drugs) using molecular/genomics tools to inform local and regional practices and policies on infectious disease prevention, treatment and elimination efforts.

Dr. Baraka was awarded with the EDCTP Career Development Fellowship. Title of the Project “Molecular markers of resistance to artemisinin and partner drugs (TMA2018CDF-2398). He uses high-throughput next-generation sequencing to determine genetic profiles of drug resistance and population structure of Plasmodium falciparum. The emergence and spread of Plasmodium falciparum resistance present major challenges for malaria control and elimination. Thus, molecular monitoring of drug resistance is considered important for the detection and tracking of drug-resistant parasites. The recent advancement in next-generation sequencing (NGS) facilitates cost-effective high-throughput detection of resistance and the origin of parasite populations with different genetic backgrounds. This is relevant for monitoring antimalarial drug resistance and tracking the geographic spread of parasite populations. Dr. Baraka will use NGS-based approaches to determine molecular markers of resistance to both artemisinin and partner drugs, parasite genetic diversity and population structure in African settings. In addition, the study will also generate evidence on the ex vivo susceptibility of antimalarial drugs. Samples will be collected from study site in Tanzania, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The detection of molecular markers of drug resistance will be carried out using a high-throughput NGS platform (Illumina®-based technology) for targeted amplicon sequencing. Following multiplexing PCR amplification of the targeted sequences and indexing, pooled gene fragments will be sequenced using the Illumina Miseq® platform. The study is expected to generate P. falciparum temporal genotyping data of molecular markers of resistance to artemisinin and resistance to partner drugs. The molecular evidence is critical to inform NMCPs, WHO and others on the efficacy of ACTs as well as drugs used in chemoprevention strategies in the region. Data on the geographical origin and spread of parasite populations is crucial to signal the dispersal of artemisinin-resistant strains to African settings.

More details
https://publications.edctp.org CDF Fellow Vito Baraka

Google Scholar/Citations/Vito Baraka https://scholar.google.be/citations?user=_WIY8zcAAAAJ&hl=en

Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9694-9293


Contacts. Official Email: vito.baraka@nimr.or.tz