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back to top button Ambroise Wonkam, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Genetic Medicine | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Ambroise Wonkam, M.D., Ph.D.

Headshot of Ambroise Wonkam
  • Director, McKusick-Nathans Institute, and Department of Genetic Medicine
  • Professor of Genetic Medicine

Languages: English, French

Research Interests

Sickle Cell Disease; Genetic of Congenital Hearing Impairment; Ethics in Human Genetics ...read more

Background

Prof Ambroise Wonkam is a professor of Genetic Medicine, and Director of the McKusick-Nathans Institute, and Department of Genetic Medicine.

After an MD training from the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I (Cameroon), he completed a thesis in Medical Sciences, University of Geneva (Switzerland) and a Ph.D. in Human Genetics (University of Cape Town, South Africa).  Other salient aspects of Prof Wonkam’s background include his education as a medical geneticist at a highly reputable genetics department in Geneva (Switzerland). He subsequently practices medical genetics in both European and African contexts.

His research interests are reflected in more than 180 peer-reviewed publications, which are in molecular, clinical, educational, and ethical aspects of medical and human genetics. His research focuses on 1) Genomics modifiers of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD); 2) Genetics of hearing loss, and 3) Ethical and educational Issues in human genetics.

Prof Wonkam has let successfully over the past 5 years an NIH/NHGRI funded SCD project, and as Co-applicant, a Wellcome Trust - DELTAS grant to develop capacity in human Genetic on the African continent. He has recently been granted from NIH/NHLBI 3.7m USD, to pursue research activities of the Sickle Africa Data Coordinating Centre (SADaCC), for various studies in Tanzania, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Mali, and Ghana. In addition, under the current round of the H3Africa Consortium, he was awarded 3 grants to support the Hearing impairment Genetic Studies in Africa (HI Genes Africa) from the NIH/NHGRI (1.25mUSD) and the AESA/Wellcome Trust (2.07mUSD); and another collaborative center grant from the NIH/NHGRI (2.5mUSD) to support the study of Incidental Findings in Genetic Research in Africa (IFGENERA), and recently from the NIH-NIMH, and this year an important support to investigate Public Understanding of Big data in Genomics Medicine in Africa (PUBGEM-Africa)” (2.m USD) for the next 5 years.

He was awarded the 2003 Denber-Pinard Prize for the best thesis from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, Switzerland, and won the very competitive Clinical Genetics Society International Award for 2014, from the British Society of Genetic Medicine, and 2021 Alan Pifer Award, that honors a UCT researcher whose outreach work has contributed to the advancement and welfare of South Africa’s disadvantaged people.

Prof Wonkam is Associate Editor of the American Journal of Human Genetics, the American Journal of Medical Genetics, the Journal of Community Genetics, and Academic Editor of Plos One, and member of the Editorial Board of Human Genetics.

Prof Wonkam is president of the African Society of Human Genetics, Chair of the steering committee of H3Africa consortium, Board member of the International Federation of Human Genetics Societies, steering committee’s member of the Global Genetic Medicine Collaborative (G2MC). 

...read more

Titles

  • Director, McKusick-Nathans Institute, and Department of Genetic Medicine
  • Professor of Genetic Medicine

Departments / Divisions

  • Genetic Medicine

Education

Degrees

  • MD; University of Yaounde I - Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (1995)

Residencies

  • Medical Genetics; Geneva University Hospital (2005)

Additional Training

Medical genetics Specialist Certificate, University of Geneva, Switzerland (2005)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Wonkam's research interests are reflected in more than 180 peer-reviewed publications, which are in molecular, clinical, educational, and ethical aspects of medical and human genetics. His research focuses on 1) Psychosocial Burden and Genomics modifiers of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD); 2) Genetics of hearing loss, and 3) Ethical and educational Issues in human genetics in Africa.

Prof Wonkam has let successfully over the past 5 years an NIH/NHGRI funded SCD project, and as Co-applicant, a Wellcome Trust - DELTAS grant to develop capacity in human Genetic on the African continent. He has recently been granted from NIH/NHLBI 3.7m USD, to pursue research activities of the Sickle Africa Data Coordinating Centre (SADaCC), for various studies in Tanzania, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Mali, and Ghana. In addition, under the current round of the H3Africa Consortium, he was awarded 3 grants to support the Hearing impairment Genetic Studies in Africa (HI Genes Africa) from the NIH/NHGRI (1.25m USD) and the AESA/Wellcome Trust (2.07m USD); and another collaborative center grant from the NIH/NHGRI (2.5m USD) to support the study of Incidental Findings in Genetic Research in Africa (IFGENERA), and recently from the NIH-NIMH, and this year an important support to investigated Public Understanding of Big data in Genomics Medicine in Africa (PUBGEM-Africa)” (2.m USD) for the next 5 years.

Contact for Research Inquiries

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
773 N. Broadway, MRB 443
Baltimore, MD 21205 map

Activities & Honors

Honors

  • Denber-Pinard Prize for the best thesis, University of Geneva, Switzerland, 2003 - 2003
  • Clinical Genetics Society International Award, British Society of Genetic Medicine, 2014 - 2014
  • Alan Pifer Award, University of Cape Town, 2021 - 2021
  • Gold Scientific Achievement Award, The South African Medical Research Council, 2021 - 2021

Memberships

  • American Society of Human Genetics

    Member, Associate Editor of the American Journal of Human Genetics

  • European Society of Human Genetics

    Member

  • African Society of Human Genetics

    President

Videos & Media

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

World Renowned Geneticist and Sickle Cell Disease Expert Ambroise Wonkam Takes Helm of Genetic Medicine Department at Johns Hopkins, The Ritz Herald (December 28, 2021)

Collect more data from Africa to improve gene therapy, Nature (August 25, 2021)

Game changers: Tinto, Muyembe, Wonkam…Pioneers of African health, The Africa Report (December 16, 2021)

Why Africa urgently needs its own genetic library, My Joy Online (November 2, 2021)

Alan Pifer Award: A hat-tip to geneticist Professor Ambroise Wonkam, University of Cape Town (August 3, 2021)

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