Yaoundé-Bielefeld Graduate School Natural Products with Antiparasite and Antibacterial Activity (YaBiNaPA)

The Yaoundé–Bielefeld Bilateral Graduate School Natural Products with Antiparasite and Antibacterial Activity (YaBiNaPA) is a collaborative project between Bielefeld University (Germany) and the University of Yaoundé 1 (Cameroon).

Microbial and parasitic diseases are a dramatic public health problem in tropical countries. Therefore, strategies for improving the health status of the population in a sustainable and affordable way are of prominent importance for economic development. Synthetic drugs are usually not affordable for a large percentage of the population. Medicinal plants are used locally to combat these diseases and some of them have so far been subjects of investigation in different African research groups. However, due to lack of network coordination, instrumental facilities, and specific training, most of the investigations have often been limited to preliminary screening or determination of the chemical composition.

The improvement of the training of doctoral candidates to become specialized experts and academic lecturers with broad knowledge of ethnobotany, phytochemistry, analysis, as well as the development of drugs for therapy of parasitic and bacterial diseases based on ethnopharmaceutical principles is urgently needed.

YaBiNaPA has the mission to overcome this problem by educating PhD students in an interdisciplinary and translational way and also to create a scientific communication platform between biologists, chemists, pharmacologists, the public, and traditional healers.

The training programme relies on concerted learning, a combination of introductory training, hands-on learning “on the bench”, teaching by peers, and training in additional skills. YaBiNaPA focuses on establishing timely research infrastructure in Yaoundé as a scientific platform equipped with appropriate high-end instrumentation for structure analysis and quality control (LC-MS) as well as biological screening methods with access to appropriate ICT media (scientific databases, literature, e-learning).

The Yaoundé – Bielefeld Bilateral Graduate School Natural Products with Antiparasite and Antibacterial Activity (YaBiNaPA) intends to exert impact in three dimensions:

  • Improvement of Graduate Education: The network of scientists involved, together with improved technical resources and access to modern research technology will provide the members of the Graduate School with a broad scope of timely disciplinary and interdisciplinary skills.
  • Sustainability and translational research: The combination of the disciplines in relationship to potential application of natural products as isolated compounds or standardized extract preparations for therapeutic applications will confer the idea of translational research to the members of the Graduate School. The necessity of sustainable supply of plant derived natural products or extracts will be especially considered.
  • Improvement of quality of life: The joint research effort of the scientists from different disciplines is expected to lead to progress in the therapy of parasitic or microbial diseases. Microbial infections and especially diseases like malaria and leishmaniasis require treatment affordable for the poorer population.

YaBiNaPA closely collaborates with universities and institutions in Cameroon and other African countries:

  • University of Bamenda, Cameroon
  • University of Buea, Cameroon
  • University of Douala, Cameroon
  • University of Dschang, Cameroon
  • University of Maroua, Cameroon
  • University of Ngaoundéré, Cameroon
  • Molecular Biology Center, Yaounde, Cameroon
  • Centre Pasteur (CPC), Cameroon
  • Alango Foundation, Center of Phytotherapy, Dschang, Cameroon
  • Traditional Healers Association, Cameroon
  • Abomey-Calavi University (Benin)
  • Jimma University (Ethiopia)
  • Bahir Dar University (Ethiopia)
  • University of Antananarivo (Madagascar)
  • African Centre of Excellence for Public Health and Herbal Medicine, University of Malawi (Malawi)
  • Edo University (Nigeria)
YaBiNaPA PhD students and PIs during the 2018 Network Meeting
Purification of active fractions
High-end scientific instrumentation for chemical analysis (LC-MS)