Most diseases – be they neurodegenerative, metabolic or cancerous – can be linked to the failure of genomic processes (e.g. transcription, translation, and alternative splicing). Alternative splicing produces many different types of RNAs from a single precursor RNA molecule. Failures in alternative splicing are implicated in many illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, cancers and metabolic disorders The Biotech Institute will focus on modulating alternative splicing as a general way to solve genetic diseases using various approaches that include G-quadruplexes, antisense oligonucleotides and the revolutionary CRISPR/Cas gene and RNA editing technology.
Many infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria are caused by everchanging microbes that often acquire resistance to the drugs used to eradicate them. AMR is of global concern, particularly in low-income Sub-Saharan Africa due to poor health and diagnostic facilities. The Biotech Institute will investigate the mechanisms of AMR, the epidemiology and the methods to combat it. We will primarily study AMR using advanced genetic tools such as Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), and employ machine learning computational approaches to identify possible new antibiotics to overcome AMR.