Young Scientists

Doing experimental science in Africa : how to ? - 6. Alpha Kabinet Keita: a beginning in Senegal

A doctor in Guinea, Alpha Kabinet Keita became a researcher in microbiology.

"My name is Alpha Kabinet Keita. I am a medical doctor and a specialist in micro-biology.

I listened to Veronica with great interest because I realized that there are similarities although we work in different disciplines.

Today I will tell you about my experience of research in Guinea, and perhaps also in other African countries where I had the luck to work.

I studied medicine in Guinea, and at the end of my medical studies I wanted to be a scientist.

A few years ago, until 2013, I was working on a bacterium that few people know about, called Tropheryma whipplei. It is responsible for a multisystem disease that can be confused with anything that exists as diseases responsible for fevers, abdominal pain, and so on.

I have had the opportunity to work on this bacterium and to be the one who, for the moment, has provided the most arguments to support the epidemiology of this bacterium: I am talking about its way of transmission to humans and its natural reservoir.

I would have been someone else, I would have quietly hidden behind my successes in working with this bacterium.

At the end of my thesis, I agreed to go to work in Senegal, where I did almost two years of post-doctoral work. And during those years, I found a research station where patients had been followed for more than 20 years already. It had been set up by the IRD.

I was working in an IRD team that was then URMITE: a research unit on emerging tropical infectious diseases, under the responsibility of Professor Didier Raoult and Florence Fenollar.

In this unit in Dakar I was responsible for the follow-up of the febrile patients of the Dielmo station. And during these two years I started by introducing molecular biology diagnosis of malaria in this station. And while in Senegal I also had the opportunity to undertake studies in Guinea on bacteremia and the study of malaria as well, and other causes of fever."

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