GINGER graduates poised to elevate neuropsychiatric genetics research across Africa

Graduates from the Global Initiative for Neuropsychiatric Genetics Education in Research program gathered for a virtual ceremony on May 20, 2020

June 5, 2020 – The Global Initiative for Neuropsychiatric Genetics Education in Research (GINGER) celebrated a virtual graduation of its first cohort of research fellows on May 20, 2020. After three years of study, 17 fellows from across Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa graduated from the program, which is hosted through the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in collaboration with the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research.

Led by principal investigator Lori Chibnik and team members Bizu Gelaye, Kristi Post, and Courtney White, all from the School’s Department of Epidemiology, the GINGER program aims to increase the number of neuropsychiatric genetics researchers globally by offering research and professional training to a select group of early-career investigators who are associated with partner research and academic institutions including Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, Makerere University in Uganda, the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust and Moi University in Kenya, and the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

GINGER research fellows and team members gather in 2018 in Hampshire, UK, during a workshop

“Of all the things that I do and the different research collaborations that I have, the time that I spent with you all—the GINGER fellows—is one of the biggest highlights and one that gave me a great joy,” Gelaye told graduates during the virtual ceremony. “Often times, I hear people mention that Africa is the hardest place to do research work, especially genetics research. You dispel that misconception big time. You are a living example of what is possible in the continent.”

Chibnik noted that the 17 fellows’ partnerships with the program do not end with graduation, but rather that it marked the “beginning of a new chapter” and that she is “looking forward to continued collaborations and celebrating achievements over the years to come.”

A new cohort of GINGER fellows will begin training in September.

Learn more 

New program aims to build genetics research capacity in Africa (Harvard Chan School news)

Chris Sweeney

Photos: Courtesy of the Global Initiative for Neuropsychiatric Genetics Education in Research