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UB faculty members partnering with Zimbabwe university in research training for HIV fight

University at Buffalo faculty members will help train doctoral candidates and postdoctoral fellows in Zimbabwe in clinical pharmacology research aimed at prevention and improved treatment of HIV.

The John E. Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health has awarded a five-year, $1.3 million grant to UB and the University of Zimbabwe for the HIV Research Training Program.

Through the program, UB faculty members will serve as mentors and collaborators with University of Zimbabwe students and faculty.

“We are building a critical mass of clinical and translational scientists who will conduct important research as access to HIV medications increases in Zimbabwe,” said Gene D. Morse, principal investigator, a SUNY distinguished professor in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Morse is also director of the UB Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences.

“Global orientation with a focus on the development of sustainable infrastructure and scientific resources is essential to the future success of HIV prevention and treatment research.”

The University of Zimbabwe Center of Excellence in Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences looks to address the issues that complicate HIV treatment.

It is conducting research into the large number of patients currently on or seeking medications for maternal-fetal transmission; drug resistance; dietary factors; use of traditional and herbal medicines; and co-infection with hepatitis B, tuberculosis and malaria.

In spite of the downward trend of HIV occurrence in Zimbabwe, the country still has a high HIV rate, currently estimated at 10 percent of adults, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS, or UNAIDS.