University of the Free State | UFS | Universities | Next Generation Sequencing Unit

4. Affiliate doctoral fellow expresses gratitude for his experience during his visit to the UFS-NGS Unit.

Mr. Kennedy Chibesa, is a Doctoral Student at the University of the Free State within the UFS- NGS Unit and Division of Virology, and an esteemed affiliate of the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ). Mr. Chibesa’s doctoral research at the UFS-NGS Unit is centred on elucidating the intricate interactions between the gut microbiome, environmental enteric dysfunction, and immune responses, with a specific focus on the advanced ETVAX vaccine against enterotoxigenic E. coli in children from Zambia. This multifaceted research requires him to collaborate across borders, conducting work at the UFS-NGS unit and CIDRZ in Zambia. His recent visit spanned from June 1st to September 22nd, 2023. During his visit to the UFS-NGS unit, Mr. Chibesa had the privilege of participating in the 2023 edition of the Bioinformatics workshop: From Raw to Publication, which took place from 03 – 07 July 2023. He expressed the significance of this workshop in advancing his research goals, particularly in the domain of 16S/ITS metagenomics data analysis. 

These newfound skills are integral to addressing his research objectives related to the gut microbiome. In addition, Mr. Chibesa acknowledged the broader spectrum of bioinformatics expertise he acquired during the workshop, which he eagerly anticipates sharing with his colleagues and mentees. Furthermore, Mr. Chibesa was a delegate at the UFS-NGS unit-organized Illumina Viral Surveillance Panel (VSP) training from 10 – 13 July 2023. 

This training, originally focused on VSP, also offered a valuable introduction to short-read NGS sequencing, a fundamental skillset. He lauded the comprehensive nature of the training, which addressed his specific interests in gut microbiome research and equipped him with the essential tools to excel in his work. In summary, Mr. Chibesa’s four-month sojourn at the UFS-NGS unit was exceptionally productive. He not only attended the aforementioned training sessions but also actively engaged in laboratory work, collected data for his Ph.D. research, participated in mentorship meetings, and made valuable contributions to presentations and various other activities.

Mr. Chibesa is profoundly grateful for the expert guidance provided by his academic advisor and mentor, Prof. Martin M. Nyaga. In his words, “I eagerly look forward to my next research and study excursion in 2024, with expectations of achieving even greater milestones in my academic journey”.