In order to overcome these limitations and to become a regional leader in the analysis of human microbiome and its relationship to diseases, USFAX — through the MICAfrica Twinning project — aims to increase its staff capacities in:
Our project will therefore focus on three specific objectives:
- Objective 1Capacity building of USFAX and its research staff in metagenomic approaches (deep 16S rRNA, shotgun sequencing, and pyrosequencing) to investigate the association of niicrobiota dysbiosis and diseases.. Ten ER, 10 ESRs and 3 technicians will be trained in human microbiome studies; 3 support staff will also be part of the capacity building effort on transversal topics such as the project management activities. This will enable us to generate 5 publications in high impact-factor journals over the next 5 years (2 during the three years of the project); to send papers to 3 top ranked conferences in the next 3 years and to set-up our own cycle of 6 seminars on the topic over the next 3 years.
- Objective 2Strengthening the scientific staff skills of USFAX in functional studies (metaproteomic and metabolomics) Metagenomics studies of the human microbiome provide information on the large diversity of the bacterial community in one body niche such as the gut. However, to address the microbiome -host interaction, metabolomics and metaproteomic studies are needed to get a direct insight into the phenotypes of microorganisms at the molecular level. We will benefit from the large expertise of our EU partners in metaproteomic and metabolomics approaches, to develop our skills and acquire knowledge, which will allow us to better understand the association microbiome-disease in our population.
- Objective 3Create and coordinate the North African Human Microbiome Consortium (NAHMC) with Rabat University, Morocco; Setif University, Algeria, and Ismailia University, Egypt; this will be materialized through collaboration agreements to be signed with each of the 3 organizations (and possibly with several teams within each country); we will draft with our partners a 5-year strategy for the consortium including an action plan for opening the centralized database and a plan of joint research projects which will include wider collaborations with EU partners too and dissemination of our results; as a group, we will apply to join International Human Microbiome Consortium (lHMC) as NAHMC within 2 years at most after the end of the project.