By Mark Kawalya
Dr. Anthony Batte has received a 500,000 USD grant from the Fogarty International Center of the National Institute of Health in the US. The K43 NIH Award is a career development award for upcoming global leaders. Dr. Batte is a pediatric nephrologist, a prolific researcher, and a senior lecturer at Makerere University’s Child Health and Development Center (CHDC), under the College of Health Sciences.
The grant will enable Dr. Batte to conduct a five-year research study titled ‘Delineating the kidney-brain axis in children with severe malaria’. The research will investigate the effects of kidney disease on the brains of children who suffer from malaria.
In Africa, severe malaria claims the lives of a large number of children. New evidence indicates that serious malaria may potentially result in acute renal damage. Kidney damage in children can result in long-term behavioral issues and impaired cognitive function, which is a major hindrance to early childhood development.
Following acute kidney injury, some children may not recover their kidney function, a condition known as chronic kidney disease. This may have an impact on how a child learns and result in poor growth and development. According to research, there is an association between kidney illness and brain damage. There is, however, little understanding of the linkages that connect kidney failure and brain damage. Dr. Batte’s study will generate data that will be critical in understanding the mechanisms of kidney-related brain injury in children with severe malaria.
Dr. Batte will work with a team of mentors from Indiana University led by Dr. Andrea Conroy (Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Indiana University) for this award.
“It is a true pleasure to work with Dr. Batte,” says Dr. Conroy, who has been Dr. Batte’s mentor and longtime partner. “He is one of the most gifted clinicians and scientists I have worked with. Dr. Batte is a leader in the field in our understanding of acute kidney injury in malaria. His innovative K43 study will provide new insights into the connection between kidney disease and brain impairment in hospitalized children, and it will have relevance well beyond Uganda’s borders. I’m eager to learn the results of this significant study.”