Francine Berlange Sado Yousseu

Francine has a Bachelor and a Master’s degree in Clinical Biology at the University of Dschang in Cameroon. She made internships in hospitals to familiarize with some methods, patient care (minor surgery, nursing and semiology) and learn how to collect biological samples (blood, urine, stools, etc…). During her Master’s degree, she acquired skills in molecular biology and virology while working on the theme “Frequency of detection by RT-PCR of Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya viruses in febrile patients consulting at the New-Bell District hospital in Douala”, at the virology laboratory of Centre Pasteur of Cameroon (CPC). During this study, they found that Dengue virus serotype 1 was responsible for a portion of febrile syndromes observed in this health centre. Besides, she was involved in voluntary activities, mainly with the non-governmental organization CASEC (Cancers Awareness Screening and Care) and she administered questionnaires during the determination of immunization coverage by the EPI (Extended Program of Immunization)

Currently, Francine is doing her PhD thesis at CRID on the subject “Neglected arboviruses in Cameroon”. In this project, she is interested in arboviruses that can be transmitted to human and animal by ticks, Culex, Aedes and Anopheles mosquitoes. Special attention will be given to the population at-risk (shepherds, slaughterhouse workers, ruminant sellers) for Rift valley fever and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever. This study will help her identify viruses that can possibly emerge or re-emerge, thereby raising the alarm for the establishment of a sustained surveillance system to detect cases, prevent potential outbreaks and implement arbovirus vector control strategies in Cameroon.

This project is a step forward in her scientific career in tropical infectiology, specifically epidemiology of emerging arthropod-borne viruses. Her objective is to specialize in the field of arbovirology which is neglected in Cameroon and within the Central African Region. Indeed, we cannot afford that other neglected arbovirus-related diseases emerge; leading to massive outbreak like that of Zika virus which was recently declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. This project will also help her gain more experience in human interactions, sample collection and management, new laboratory technique for sequencing (NGS), statistical and genetic data analysis and how to write and submit a grant proposal. This will give her the ability to build a promising career in emerging infectious diseases.

Her short-term objectives are mainly associated to her PhD thesis. Therefore, she wants to establish the current circulation of arboviruses in humans, animals and vectors, in rural and urban areas of Cameroon. Alongside, she wants to participate in conferences to interact with other researchers. She also wants to acquire qualifications in bioinformatics and biostatistics. She will actively be involved in epidemiological surveillance of arboviral diseases within and out of the country by constructing networks with virologists in other research Centres around Africa and abroad.

In the long-term, she would like to become a gold standard arboviologist in the scientific community. She wants to be involved in the development of new methods used in the management, diagnosis, epidemiology and surveillance of arboviral diseases. She also wants to ensure the mentorship of the future generation of scientists.