Zambia to benefit from the £5 million International Centre for Genomic Research

Zambia has entered into a new strategic partnership with University College London (UCL) as part of the new £5 million International Centre for Genomic Research supported by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC). 

The MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases is a partnership between the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology and UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (ICH), and Newcastle University. 

The New International Centre’s mission is to create a trans continental genomics research and capacity building partnership between the UK and official Development Assistance Lower and Middle Income Countries (ODA-LMICs) with an initial focus on Zambia, India, Brazil, South Africa & Turkey. 


The centre will discover new disease genes, understand comparative genetic architecture and explore disease mechanisms. It will also increase the number of patients with an accurate genetic diagnosis, build trial ready cohorts and ultimately improve health outcomes from patients with neuromuscular diseases drawn from a population of over 1.5 billion.

Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom His Excellency Mr Muyeba Chikonde expressed gratitude to Professor Fiona Watt CEO of the MRC for considering Zambia on the Rohram that was launched at the House of Lords and said that the new initial will benefit parents with neurological disease in Zambia which falls within the Zambian Government Policy of Healthcare for all without leaving anyone behind. 

“I am very pleased about this exiting initiate and partnership to benefit Zambians and train Zambian doctors in this field. Additionally, the program provides for exchange of expertise in neuromuscular diseases through a global network,” he said. 

This new initiative will support specialist training of neurologists in Zambia to identify, diagnose and develop care for children and adults with neuromuscular diseases. Zambia will become part of an international network led by Profession Michael Hanna Director of the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology. 

Professor Hanna said advances in genomic medicine mean that patients with muscle wasting neurological diseases can potentially be diagnosed more quickly, enable potential entry into clinical trials and can result in improved care. 

“I am honoured and delighted to be part of this exciting research plans to train neurologists in genomic medicine and to help identify and diagnose more patients. We anticipate funding a significant program in Zambia as part of this MRC award over the next five years. We foresee this initiative will create a momentum that will attract additional inward funding to Zambia for more neurology trainees from research funders, industry and philanthropists. In addition, the new genetic knowledge we will gain will help diagnose and care for patients with these diseases in the UK and worldwide” he said.

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