World TBD Day: Early Career Grant research into TB

24 Mar 2022
Tubeculosis bacteria

This World TB Day, we asked a number of our Early Career Grant (formerly known as Small Grant) recipients who were awarded grants for their research into TB why they chose to undertake research in this area.

Leukotriene A4 hydrolase (LTA4H) polymorphisms and treatment outcomes in tuberculosis – A prospective observational cohort study

“It is a known fact that India has the highest burden of Tuberculosis in the world. Just the sheer population density and favourable environmental conditions aid the bacteria to stand untouched, despite the tremendous improvement in public health. TB related research was one of my priorities, and we did find significant paucity of evidence on therapeutics which could alleviate the morbidity due to tuberculosis, especially in Indian population. More than the disease, the so called ‘paradoxical treatment response’ after initiation of ATT seems to contribute to adverse outcomes. Hence this study was designed to look at the status of these polymorphisms and response to treatment. And I believe the findings of the study if proven in a larger cohort, will help us target the population at risk for severe illness as well as TB paradox.”

Dr Karthik Gunasekaran
RSTMH Small Grant awardee 2019 (now called Early Career Grant)

Spatial analysis and mapping of TB: identifying factors influencing subnational TB notifications in the current context of Nepal

“Despite being preventable and curable, TB is still a major public health problem in Nepal. Despite the burden, many TB cases are not notified and are missed out on diagnosis and care. So, my research focused on identifying those contextual factors that contribute to the gap in case notifications through using spatial analysis tools and techniques. I believe those research findings will be insightful for TB prevention and control efforts.”

Samjhana Shrestha 

RSTMH/NIHR Small Grant awardee 2021 (now called Early Career Grant)

Computational prediction of multi-drug resistance mutations in Mycobacterium tuberculosis

“Tuberculosis claims about 1.4 million lives each year. A sizeable portion of TB-related deaths can be attributed to drug-resistant TB. Conventional diagnostic tests are not able to identify all resistant cases and can take a long time to produce results. AI-based identification of predictive biomarkers in drug-resistant TB could potentially help develop more accurate and efficient diagnostic assays.”

Parikshit Prasai
RSTMH/NIHR Small Grant awardee 2021 (now called Early Career Grant)

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Tuberculosis Service Delivery, Birat Nepal Medical Trust, Nepal

“Tuberculosis is common in Nepal and mainly affects the poorest members of our society. This RSTMH/NIHR funded research is one of the first studies in Nepal that aim to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on access or delivery of TB services during the pandemic. We know that TB services were badly affected in many countries, I am exploring this issue from both the patient and providers perspective. Nepal, like other low income countries, has a fragile health system and is underprepared for any external emergency conditions like this pandemic. Therefore, this study will enable us to understand the effects and is important to repair the damage and rebuild more resilient TB services for the future.”

Kritika Dixit
RSTMH/NIHR Small Grant awardee 2020 (now called Early Career Grant)

Characterising and addressing the psychosocial impact of tuberculosis in Indonesia

"People with TB are still often stigmatized by others, and it will harm them physically and mentally. I hope this study, funded by RSTMH/NIHR, will direct a breakthrough strategy on how to help them—and the community."

Dr Ahmad Fuady
RSTMH/NIHR Small Grant awardee 2021 (now called Early Career Grant)

Apply for an Early Career Grant

The RSTMH Early Career Grants Programme – formerly called the RSTMH Small Grants Programme – is open for applications. Applicants can apply for a grant of up to £5,000 (GBP) to deliver a project over one year. The projects can be on any topic related to tropical medicine and global health, from across the research spectrum of lab, translation, implementation and policy. 

Apply by 17:00 on the 29 April 2022.