Stellah Mpagama, MD, MSc, PhD. Dr. Mpagma is the Director of Research and Innovation at the national referral hospital for drug-resistant TB and the regional infectious diseases center of excellence, Kibong’oto Infectious Diseases Hospital. Kibong’oto partners with the affiliated Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute (KCRI) for major research projects and training of scientists, and she serves as Lecturer at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College (KCMUCo) as well as Teaching Faculty at nearby Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NMAIST). Dr. Mpagama was also recently named Adjunct Research Faculty at UVA. She is a proud PhD graduate as part of a prior FIC GIDRTP studying drug-resistant TB with Drs. Heysell and Houpt, and therefore knows firsthand what it takes to succeed but how difficult it was to obtain further postdoctoral training that finally accelerated her career. She has since become a passionate advocate for building teams of Master’s, PhD and post-doctoral students to create capacity for independent research in Tanzania. She has published 40 TB related manuscripts in the last 5 years alone. Her trajectory of research accomplishments is remarkable, but with each, she has paired the training of a student, and sees the research/education missions as inseparable. Dr. Mpagama has become a sought after speaker at national and international TB meetings of scientists and policy makers. Locally she leads a team of more than 15 technical staff that includes clinicians, pharmacists, nurses, laboratory personnel and research regulatory administrators. She has received additional training in implementation science in preparation for her work with Dr. Heysell on the WHO project to define the role of molecular diagnostics for M. tuberculosis throughout the country and a new nationwide implementation strategy.
Scott Heysell, MD, MPH. Dr. Heysell is a tenured Associate Professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases and International Health, and Pinn Scholar at UVA. Dr. Heysell’s work has contributed to the paradigm shift that TB treatment failure can be significantly driven by individual pharmacokinetic variability and M. tuberculosis quantitative susceptibility differences, rather than a patient’s non-adherence to medication or other programmatic deficits. His findings have informed a new WHO commissioned group to determine recommendations for the use of minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) in TB care, and his work defined the impact of therapeutic drug monitoring for hastening culture conversion in patients with TB and diabetes which contributed to the revised ATS/IDSA Guidelines for the treatment of TB. During his leadership of the multi-country U01 International Collaborations in Infectious Diseases Research (ICIDR), his team made the discovery that enteric infection burden and composition of pathogen carriage adversely modulated anti-TB pharmacokinetics among undernourished children. Throughout, he has worked continuously to build capacity for infectious diseases research more broadly in Tanzania, Bangladesh and in Siberia. Dr. Heysell is a TB consultant for the state of Virginia, advising on the management of complex drug-resistant or HIV co-infected cases. He has mentored or is mentoring Masters and PhD students in various facets of TB science (molecular diagnostics for drug susceptibility testing, pharmacokinetics, TB/diabetes epidemiology) from Tanzania, Bangladesh, South Africa and Siberia.
Together, Drs. Heysell and Mpagama offer a truly hands-on, face-to-face leadership to this GIDRTP.