Julie Makani

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Julie Makani
Fogarty-nih-50th-symposium-speaker-julie-makani (41926010224).jpg
Makani, May 2018
Born1970 (age 48–49)
AwardsRoyal Society Pfizer Award, 2011
Scientific career
FieldsMedical research
InstitutionsMuhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences
External video
"By the time I started working two of my cousins had already died from sickle cell anemia", Royal Society Pfizer Award 2011

Julie Makani (born 1970) is a Tanzanian medical researcher. From 2014 she is Wellcome Trust Research Fellow and Associate Professor in the Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS). Also a visiting fellow and consultant to the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, she is based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.[1] In 2011, she received the Royal Society Pfizer Award for her work with sickle cell disease.[2]


After attending St Constantine's Primary school in Arusha, Tanzania,[3] Makani trained in medicine in Tanzania at Muhimbili University, receiving her medical degree in 1994.[4] In 1997, she attended post-graduate studies in internal medicine at the Hammersmith Hospital, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, University of London, on a Commonwealth scholarship.[3] From there she went to Oxford as a Research Fellow at Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford.[1] She received a four-year PhD training fellowship from the Wellcome Trust in 2003 to study sickle cell disease in Tanzania. She completed her PhD on the clinical epidemiology of sickle cell disease (SCD).[5]

Biomedical research[edit]

In 2004, she received a Wellcome Trust training fellowship and established the Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) programme at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), with prospective surveillance of over 2,000 SCD patients.[6] In sickle cell disease, red blood cells are abnormally shaped, causing problems with the flow of blood through the body and the resulting transport of oxygen throughout the body. A genetic disorder, the disease causes reoccurring episodes of pain and severe organ damage which can result in death.[7] An estimated eight to eleven thousand children per year are born with sickle-cell disease in Tanzania.[8] The focus of Makani's initial work at Muhimbili was to examine factors such as malaria, bacterial infections and stroke, which are considered to significantly contribute to illness and death when interventions are available.[9]

In collaboration with colleagues, she has developed a biomedical research and healthcare programme which is one of the largest SCD cohorts from one centre in the world.[6] Her current interest is in the role of anaemia and foetal haemoglobin in influencing disease burden in SCD.[10]

Makani is working with colleagues to establish networks at a national level in the regional Sickle Cell Disease Research Network of East and Central Africa (REDAC) and Africa (Sickle CHARTA – Consortium for Health, Advocacy, Research and Training in Africa).[7] Makani is co-founder of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.[11] On a global level she is on the technical advisory group of Global SCD Research Network, co-chairing the working group responsible for hydroxyurea therapy in Africa.[7]

Her aim is to use sickle cell disease as a model to establish scientific and healthcare solutions in Africa that are locally relevant as well as having global significance. Achieving success in sickle cell disease will illustrate that with effective global partnerships, inequities in biomedical science and health can be addressed and significant advances can be achieved.[12]

Fellowships and other awards[edit]

Makani received a training (2003) and intermediate fellowship (2011) from the Wellcome Trust for the sickle cell disease programme.[6] In 2007, she received a fellowship to attend the TEDGlobal meeting in Arusha, Tanzania. In 2009, she received an Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship from the African Leadership Institute.[13]

In 2011 she was awarded The Royal Society Pfizer Award. The award grant will be used for research to provide a better understanding of the molecular, genetic and environmental mechanisms of sickle cell disease. In granting the award, Professor Lorna Casselton of the Royal Society, said: "We are extremely pleased to recognise such an impressive individual with the Royal Society Pfizer Award this year... We hope that Dr Makani stands as role-model for other young Africans scientists wishing to make a difference on their continent and worldwide."[2]


  1. ^ a b "Dr Julie Makani". Nuffield Department of Medicine. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Tanzanian scientist wins Royal Society Pfizer Award for Sickle Cell Disease research". The Royal Society. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b Mwangi, Tabitha (6 November 2011). "Painful crisis: Dr Julie Makani's fight against sickle cell disease". The East African Magazine. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  4. ^ "DR JULIE MAKANI: Feeling the pain of sickle cell anaemia". Africa Review. 2 April 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  5. ^ "Dr Julie Makani - Principal Investigator (Haematology)". Muhimbili Wellcome Programme. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  6. ^ a b c "Muhimbili Wellcome Programme". Muhimbili Wellcome Programme. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Sangare, Nene. "FABA (For Africa By Africans): Sickle Cell Disease Research". Africa Strictly Business. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  8. ^ Gribbin, Alice. "The NS Interview: Julie Makani, tropical medicine researcher". New Statesman. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
  9. ^ Makani, Julie; Kirkham, Fenella J.; Komba, Albert; Ajala-Agbo, Tolulope; Otieno, Godfrey; Fegan, Gregory; Williams, Thomas N.; Marsh, Kevin; Newton, Charles R. (May 2009). "Risk factors for high cerebral blood flow velocity and death in Kenyan children with Sickle Cell Anaemia: role of haemoglobin oxygen saturation and febrile illness". British Journal of Haematology. 145 (4): 529–532. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2141.2009.07660.x. PMC 3001030. PMID 19344425.
  10. ^ Makani, J.; Menzel, S.; Nkya, S.; Cox, S. E.; Drasar, E.; Soka, D.; Komba, A. N.; Mgaya, J.; Rooks, H.; Vasavda, N.; Fegan, G.; Newton, C. R.; Farrall, M.; Lay Thein, S. (10 November 2010). "Genetics of fetal hemoglobin in Tanzanian and British patients with sickle cell anemia" (PDF). Blood. 117 (4): 1390–1392. doi:10.1182/blood-2010-08-302703. PMC 5555384. PMID 21068433. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  11. ^ "Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania". Archived from the original on 26 November 2013. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  12. ^ "Julie Makani biography". Global Sickle Cell Disease Network. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  13. ^ "The Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellowship Program". The Personal Blog of Lanre Dahunsi. 26 October 2009. Retrieved 20 March 2014.

External links[edit]