Module 4: Lesson 14 – Mini Projects


Name: Dr. Vicky, Victoria
Affiliation: University of Cape Town
Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Vicky is the training coordinator for the Human Heredity and Health in Africa Consortium (H3Africa). She is an active member of the H3Africa Education and Coordinated Training Working Group (ECTWG) and she also supports the H3Africa Fellows’ Club, the Sickle Cell Disease Ontology Working Group and the African Genomic Medicine Training Initiative. She earned her first degree in Chemistry and Microbiology from the University of Cape Town (Maths – Class Medal); graduated Cum Laude for her Hons and MSc degrees from the University of Western Cape (South African Bioinformatics Institute). She earned a PhD in Bioinformatics in 2008 from the University of Cape Town for a thesis titled ‘Genome-wide Analyses of Allele-specific Splicing in Human’. In addition, she was awarded an MPhil in Monitoring and Evaluation in 2012. She has research experience in Bioinformatics and in the Public Health field which includes designing, monitoring and evaluation of projects in the Information Communication Technology field (particularly in mHealth). She conducted numerous mHealth projects which included a public participatory project in the development of the South African National Strategic Plan on AIDS, TB and HIV (2012-2015). To this end, she is collaboratively developing a mobile phone app. She is passionate about evidence based training and in translating genomic research outputs into clinical practise.

Name: Dr. Skelton, Michelle
Affiliation: University of Cape Town
Location: Cape Town, South Africa.
Michelle Skelton did her undergraduate training at the University of the Western Cape. After completing her Masters in Oesophageal Cancer and the role of Tumour Suppressor genes she was employed as a Research officer at the University of Witwatersrand in the Department of Molecular Hepatology. Her PhD explored the role of Hepatitis B Virus genome variation in liver cancer, this was followed by short research projects in HIV diversity at the University of Cape Town where she subsequently enrolled for a Post doctorate with Professor Dandara’s Pharmacogenomics Group in the Division of Human Genetics UCT. During her Post doctorate Michelle was particularly interested in the role of virus restriction genes and how variation in these genes between various ethnicities may contribute to differences in the prevalence of HIV infection. Currently, Michelle is the H3Africa Project Manager. The Human Heredity and Health in H3Africa (H3Africa) Consortium is jointly funded by the NIH and Wellcome Trust and supports 26 Research Sites in Africa. Through supporting cutting edge genomics research in infectious and communicable disease and ethics, the project aims to build capacity and improve health in Africa

This week is geared towards equipping participants for the course mini-projects due at the end of the course. There will be brief introductions to how academic publications are developed. In addition, the participants will be introduced to how they can develop their own research questions and assess them for feasibility. The second session will introduce participants to literature searching, how to select appropriate articles and how to synthesize them.

Learning Outcomes

  • Define an academic publication
  • Outline the process of developing an academic publication
  • Develop a precise and doable research question
  • Develop a research proposal
  • Search for academic publication and select most appropriate articles
  • Synthesis literature

Pre-class Exercise
PubMed is a free search engine which accesses millions of citations and abstracts for biomedical and life sciences literature from the MEDLINE database. When the literature is freely available online, the PubMed citations may include a link to the full text article. Please load your answers to the Vula Platform.
Click here to access Pubmed
1. Type into the PubMed search text box “Genomic Medicine Nurses Africa”
How many articles did you find?
2. Type into the PubMed search text box “Genetics Nurses Africa”
How many articles did you find?
Which article was the top hit? Which institutes or countries are the authors affiliated to?
3. Type into the PubMed search text box “Genomic Medicine Nurses”
How many articles did you find?
4. Have you ever searched for published academic articles? Comment on your experiences if any? Do you have access to a library where you can access or request academic articles?

Class Videos 

Class Slides

Class Exercise
Question 1: Complete the PICOT table based on your research idea (only used P & O for qualitative research)
Question 2: Complete a FINER table for your research question.
Question 3: Write a draft proposal even in point for. The most important aspect to for us to coordinate the collection of data for those who need and to encourage collaborations for those with similar ideas.
Title (Authors and Affiliations)
Background research and problem statement
Research question
*If it is a quantitative question – please include a:
Specific Aim
Expected findings
Expected broad impact
Task allocation and timelines

Class Evaluation
See course evaluations section.

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Extra Readings
Free Training Resource for Systematic Reviews (Credit: Cochrane)