Brenda Kwambana-Adams

Senior Lecturer (Career Track) - Wellcome International Intermediate Fellow

Brenda Anna Kwambana-Adams is a Wellcome International Intermediate Fellow and Senior Lecturer (Academic Career Track) at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Clinical Research Programme. Brenda is also an Honorary Senior Research Fellow within the Division of Infection and Immunity at University College London.

Brenda won a Davis-Wellesley United World College scholarship and graduated with honours from Wellesley College in Massachusetts, USA in 2005. In 2007, Brenda obtained an MSc in Medical Microbiology (Virology) from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on a competitive Leverhulme Scholarship. In 2011, Brenda completed her PhD at the University of Leicester supported by a competitive MRC Capacity Development PhD Scholarship. Her doctorate studies at the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia investigated the impact of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine on the microbiome and pneumococcal communities of the upper respiratory tract among infants.

Brenda’s research interests are to characterise the mechanisms that modulate transmission of the pneumococcus using cutting-edge “omics”, with the aim to guide the development of more effective control strategies. As part of her Wellcome International Intermediate Fellowship, Brenda is using an innovative vaccine-probe study to investigate the role of under-fives in within-household transmission of the pneumococcus to infants.

In the process of doing this, Brenda is also developing tools for early, rapid, and accurate diagnosis of acute bacterial meningitis (ABM) and bacteraemia that could improve case ascertainment in resource limited settings. Brenda also works with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Regional Reference Laboratories supporting surveillance of acute bacterial meningitis across Africa. She led the WHO technical mission which investigated the 2016 pneumococcal serotype 1 meningitis outbreak in Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana. Brenda contributed to the development of the current WHO guidelines on controlling pneumococcal outbreaks in the African “meningitis belt” and the WHO Defeating Meningitis 2030 Global Roadmap. Brenda has won numerous awards including the first prestigious MRC-LSHTM West Africa Global Health Research Fellowship.

Wellcome International Intermediate Fellowship
MRC-LSHTM West Africa Global Health Research Fellowship
MRC Capacity Development PhD Scholarship
LSHTM Microbiology Leverhulme Scholarship

Selected publications

  • Chaguza C, Senghore M, Bojang E, Gladstone RA, Lo SW, Tientcheu PE, Bancroft RE, Worwui A, Foster-Nyarko E, Ceesay F, Okoi C, McGee L, Klugman KP, Breiman RF, Barer MR, Adegbola RA, Antonio M, Bentley SD, Kwambana-Adams BA. Within-host microevolution of Streptococcus pneumoniae is rapid and adaptive during natural colonisation. Nat Commun 2020; 11(1): 3442. 10.1038/s41467-020-17327-w

    Senghore M, Chaguza C, Bojang E, Tientcheu P-E, Bancroft RE, Lo SW, Gladstone RA, McGee L, Worwui A, Foster-Nyarko E, Ceesay F, Okoi CB, Klugman KP, Breiman RF, Bentley SD, Adegbola R, Antonio M, Hanage WP, Kwambana-Adams BA. Widespread sharing of pneumococcal strains in a rural African setting: proximate villages are more likely to share similar strains that are carried at multiple timepoints. Microbial Genomics 2021; 10(1099). DOI 10.1099/mgen.0.000732

    Chaguza C, Senghore M, Bojang E, Lo SW, Ebruke C, Gladstone RA, Tientcheu PE, Bancroft RE, Worwui A, Foster-Nyarko E, Ceesay F, Okoi C, McGee L, Klugman KP, Breiman RF, Barer MR, Adegbola RA, Antonio M, Bentley SD, Kwambana-Adams BA. Carriage Dynamics of Pneumococcal Serotypes in Naturally Colonized Infants in a Rural African Setting During the First Year of Life. Front Pediatr 2020; 8: 587730. 10.3389/fped.2020.587730

    Kwambana-Adams BA, Asiedu-Bekoe F, Sarkodie B, Afreh OK, Kuma GK, Owusu-Okyere G, Foster-Nyarko E, Ohene S-A, Okot C, Worwui AK, Okoi C, Senghore M, Otu JK, Ebruke C, Bannerman R, Amponsa-Achiano K, Opare D, Kay G, Letsa T, Kaluwa O, Appiah-Denkyira E, Bampoe V, Zaman SMA, Pallen MJ, D'Alessandro U, Mwenda JM, Antonio M. An outbreak of pneumococcal meningitis among older children (≥5 years) and adults after the implementation of an infant vaccination programme with the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in Ghana. BMC Infectious Diseases 2016; 16(1). 10.1186/s12879-016-1914-3

    Senghore M, Tientcheu PE, Worwui AK, Jarju S, Okoi C, Suso SMS, Foster-Nyarko E, Ebruke C, Sonko M, Kourna MH, Agossou J, Tsolenyanu E, Renner LA, Ansong D, Sanneh B, Cisse CB, Boula A, Miwanda B, Lo SW, Gladstone RA, Schwartz S, Hawkins P, McGee L, Klugman KP, Breiman RF, Bentley SD, Mwenda JM, Kwambana-Adams BA, Antonio M. Phylogeography and resistome of pneumococcal meningitis in West Africa before and after vaccine introduction. Microb Genom 2021; 7(7). DOI: 10.1099/mgen.0.000506

    Franklin K, Kwambana-Adams B, Lessa FC, Soeters HM, Cooper L, Coldiron ME, Mwenda J, Antonio M, Nakamura T, Novak R, Cohen AL. Pneumococcal Meningitis Outbreaks in Africa, 2000-2018: Systematic Literature Review and Meningitis Surveillance Database Analyses. J Infect Dis 2021; 224(Supplement_3): S174-S83. 10.1093/infdis/jiab105