Makerere University Welcomes SOT International ToxScholar Rumbeiha


Remember Application Deadline is October 9

Wilson K. Rumbeiha(photo at left), Professor of Veterinary Toxicology, Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, was one of this year’s recipients of the Society of Toxicology (SOT) International ToxScholar Outreach Grants. Dr. Rumbeiha used the grant to promote toxicology at Makerere University in Uganda, his alma mater. He gave a talk titled "Career Pathways in Toxicology” to faculty and undergraduate students in professional programs in the College of Veterinary Medicine on Monday, July 29, 2013.

The talk covered a wide range of topics about SOT, the role of toxicologists in society, and career opportunities for toxicologists. Makerere University is a leading institution of higher learning in Uganda and the entire East and Central African region. Reflective of this, attendees included students from Uganda, Kenya,Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Sierra Leon. Besides questions on how to pursue graduate education in toxicology, the audience asked about toxicology-related issues of importance to the country. For example, they wanted to know whether “nodding disease,” a devastating, fatal neurological disease that has afflicted children in Northern Uganda, is caused by toxicants. The audience also wanted to know whether environmental application of DDT is safe to control mosquitoes, which spread malaria, a disease that claims lots of lives in this country.

v2EjobiPicture1.jpgThey also asked about how best to preserve the ecosystem in the wake of discovery of large petroleum reserves in the Albertine region of western Uganda where oil exploration is scheduled to start in a few years. The Albertine region is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. It is clear from this interaction that the profession of toxicology needs to be strengthened in Uganda. Although Makerere University has trained toxicology graduates, it lacks an interdisciplinary toxicology training curriculum. The audience was made aware of the SOT Global Senior Scholar Exchange Program that would be of value to strengthen toxicology training at Makerere University. Pictured (left) is Francis Ejobi, Chair, Department of Biosecurity, Ecosystems and Veterinary Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, who was the host at Markerere University.

The SOT Education Committee urges SOT members to extend toxicology expertise around the globe. There is still time to put together a proposal to apply for an International ToxScholar Grant by the deadline of October 9. A letter of support from the host at the proposed institution is part of the application package.

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