DFG-Meeting in Yaoundé

The this year’s annual meeting of the DFG-partners in the field of Neglected Parasitic Diseases in Africa took place in Yaoundé, the catital of Cameroon.

About 100 partners met in the Dejeuga palace hotes from the 1 st to 5th of June to present their on-going projects. Prior to the presentation, a young-scientist’s workshop provided insight into the skills of writing grant applications and managing DFG-funded projects. Read more

Dies universitatis of the University of Tübingen – Presentation of Programme Onchocercoses

Like every semester, the dies universitatis of the university of Tübingen takes place during the first week of the lectures. This time on the 15th of October.

Programme Onchocercoses was present on the Morgenstelle (Hörsaalzentrum) from 14 to 16 hrs and in the Neuen Aula from 18 to 20 hrs.

See: https://www.uni-tuebingen.de/aktuelles/dies-universitatis-2015.html


UT-research-2015-Dies universitatis-RENZ










It was a long day of presentations, from 14 to 20 hrs! And a very interesting experience for all of us.

Thanks to Sophia Stiegler, Francois Korbmacher and Freya Zettl, which just had come back from Cameroon and Babette Abanda, a PhD-student from Cameroon, the set-up of our installation with two microscopes and posters went quickly. We showed parasites from Cameroon and their vectors. The aim was to give an impression of our on-going work in the Programme Onchocercoses fieldstation in Cameroon and to motivate students to join our team.

Dies universitatis 2015 - Morgenstelle-our team






The site for the – only two! – presentations of the Faculty of Natural Sciences had been quiet unfavorably selected in the Hörsaalzentrum on the Morgenstelle. In a place, where it was dark and where only few students passed, mostly in a great hurry between their lectures.

Dies universitatis 2015 - Morgenstelle-5


At the left site, there was the laser-show of the presentation of the Institute of Physics (PD Dr. Sebastian Slama): For better visibility, we had moved to the other, more illuminated site of the floor.




Dies universitatis 2015 - Morgenstelle-our team



However, only very few visitors came – so we were mostly occupied by ourselves, since this was for the first time that the students met after their stay in Cameroon. And there was plenty of time to answer emails!



At 16 hrs, we moved to the Neue Aula, the main university building. There, the Hall was booming of students, visiting the about 100 presentations of the ‘Markt der Möglichkeiten’. From 18 to 20 hrs, we had the occasion to present our field-work in Cameroon, to show parasites and vectors under the microscopes and discuss with students and teachers. This was a great success. A number of students now intend to attend the ‘Cameroon-Seminar’ of Babette Abanda and some were asking to do their practical in Cameroon. We hope that this shall be possible by the funding of the Baden-Württemberg-Stiftung, which is supporting our Africa-German collaboration.

Dies universitatis 2015 - Neue Aula-14 Dies universitatis 2015 - Neue Aula-11 Dies universitatis 2015 - Neue Aula-9 Dies universitatis 2015 - Neue Aula-8 Dies universitatis 2015 - Neue Aula-6 Dies universitatis 2015 - Neue Aula-3 Dies universitatis 2015 - Neue Aula-1 Dies universitatis 2015 - Neue Aula-17

Reports of Tübingen students on their fieldwork in the Programme Onchocercoses laboratory in Ngaoundéré, Cameroon

Three students from the Tübingen University came to the Programme Onchocercoses laboratory in Ngaoundéré in the summer 2015 to do their practicals. They were assisted during their field work by Babette Abanda from the University of Ngaoundéré and Albert Eisenbarth and Alfons Renz from the Tübingen University.



Francois Korbmacher studied the occurrence of protozoan and bacterial pathogens in ticks: The predominant tick-species that bite on cattle  in Northern Cameroon, Amblyomma variegatum and Boophilus decoloratus, are vectors of Piroplasmidae, Rickettsiae, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia and, possibly, also Borrellia species.

Using consensus primers and a PCR-approach, Francois tried to identify positive ticks.

=> Read more about the work of Francois => Francois-Korbmacher-2015-Field report





Freya Labor

Freya Zettl



Freya Zettl  took video-movies of live microfilariae of various Onchocerca species. It is astonishing to notice, that different species have microfilariae of very different sizes and movements, though they are living in the same environment, the skin of cattle. However, they are transmitted by different species of blood-sucking arthropods (Simuliidae and Ceratopogonidae etc.). There must be a link between the size and movements of microfilariae and their specific vectors!

=> Read more about the work of Freya => Freya Zettl – Project Report-2015








Sophia Stiegler -2015

Sophia Stiegler injected microfilariae of Onchocerca ochengi into the thorax of neonate Simulium flies.

Even in those flies, which normally do not bite on man or cattle. The proportion of microfilariae surviving and developing to the L3-stage varies and is an indicator of the vectorial ability of Simulium species and strain.

=> Read more about the work of Sophia =>Report Sophia Stiegler-2015










Students and staff  in the Programme Onchocercoses laboratory in Ngaoundéré.






Second meeting of the Ethiopia Onchocerciasis Elimination Expert Advisory Committee in Addis Ababa

Ethiopia is Africa’s second largest country and onchocerciasis (river blindness) is highly endemic in many districts. Yet the state of knowledge on the local vectors and transmision indices is still limited.

PD Dr. Alfons Renz has been nominated to be member of the internatioal Expert Advisory Committee, that shall assist the Ethiopian Ministry of Health to eliminate onchocerciasis until 2020. Fly-catching near Simulium breeding sites in the center of the so-called ‘transmission zones’ shall deliver the entomological criteria for successful elimination. Less than one fly per 2000  flies caugzt on nman – or on a trap – should be infected with Onchocerca volvulus L3 in their head. This level is still exceeded at many sites in the country. Ivermectin mass-treatments havbe already started in most of the districts but in some, the status of oncho-endimicity and transmission is still unclear.

There is definitively a lot of work to be done, but the enthousiasmn and the strong support by national and international agencies make the goal of elimination feasable!

The Committee met in Addis Abeba from October 4th to 8th.


Alfons Renz is supported by the Carter Center, Atlanta, USA, http://www.cartercenter.org/health/river_blindness/oepa.html

Congratulation, Dr. rer. nat. Albert Eisenbarth!

On the 23rd of September, Albert Eisenbarth defended his thesis at the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the Tübingen!

Examiners were Prof. Peschel, Prof. Betz, PD Streit, PD Renz.



Afrika-Festival Tübingen 2015

The Afrika-Festival Tübingen 2015 has started!

The Programme Onchocercoses team presents its activities in the ‘Cameroon village’. 19 pagode tents are grouped together to represent Cameroon, which shall be the country in focus of this year’s festival.


Start of the Festival on Thursday: Situated close o the ntrance of the ‘Cameroon Village’, our tent shall be the first to be seen by the visitors when they enter the village. However and unfortunately, the guests from Cameroon had not received their visa in time!! The German Embassy in Yaounde had not benn capable to grant them the visa necessary for travel to Germany. This was true as well for the guests of the festival as for our four students from Cameroon, which we had invited. These students from the universities of Ngaoundéré and Bamenda should have participated in the presentation of the Programme Onchocercoases project. Then, starting on Monday, they were expected to participate in a two wekks workshop on new molecular techniques in medical entomology, held by Albert Eisenbarth and Babette Guimbang.

On Friday, the Africa-Business-Meeting and Embasadors Talk to place in a large tent on the festival. Mr. Otto Erbe, head of the Industrie und Handelskammer welcommed the guests and introduced the speakers. After the talk, his Excellency Jean-Marc Mpay, Embasssador of Cameroon to Germany and his wife visited the Programme Onchocercoses presentation. They highly appreciated the work done in collaboration with IRAD and the universities of Bamenda and Ngaoundéré and had a long talk with Ms Babette Guimbang, who recently had received a teach-at-tübingen grant.

On Friday evening, a heavy thunder-storm went over the festival and forced the visitors to refugee under the tents.

On Saturday however, a very heavy storm sadly forced us to finish our exhibition. Many tents were destroyed.

In summary, we had a strong and interesting presentation at the festival, which this year was extremely well prepared by the organisors. Unfortunately, the Cameroon Village was left deserted because of the problems in obtaining the visa for the representatives of Cameroon.

More pictures from the festival on the homepage of the local newspaper: http://www.tagblatt.de/Home/bilder/bilder-lokales_autoplay,1_mmid,5797.html#454092

Alfons Renz

Kamerun-Zeltstadt-Afrika-Festival-2015Cameroon-village Aufbau-2 Cameroon-village Aufbau Zelt Programme Onchocercoses 2 Zelt Besucher Programme-Onchocercoses-Zelt Mikroskope Mikroskop Zelt-Prog-Oncho 4 Team Zelt-Prog-Oncho 3 Albert Besuchertin aus Kenya Besucherin aus KenyaCameroon-village-2 Cameroon-village-3 Freitag-1 Freitag-2-Kameruner-Botschafter Freitag-2-Kameruner-Botschafter-2 Freitag-2-Kameruner-Botschafter-3 Freitag-2-Kameruner-Botschafter-4 Freitag-3-Business-Forum Freitag-3-Business-Forum-2 Freitag-3-Business-Forum-3 Freitag-3-Business-Forum-4 Freitag-3-Business-Forum-5 Freitag-3-Business-Forum-6 Freitag-3-Business-Forum-7 Freitag-4-Cameroon-village Freitag-4-Cameroon-village-2 Freitag-4-Cameroon-village-3 Freitag-4-Cameroon-village-4 Freitag-5-Festival Freitag-5-Festival-2 Freitag-Besucher-1 Freitag-Besucher-2 Freitag-Besucher-3 Freitag-Besucher-4 Freitag-Besucher-5 Freitag-Besucher-6 Freitag-Besucher-7 Freitag-Besucher-8 Freitag-Besucher-9 Freitag-Prof-Eichner Freitag-Prof-Eichner-2 Kamerun-Zeltstadt-2-Afrika-Festival-2015 Kamerun-Zeltstadt-Afrika-Festival-2015 Mikroskop Mikroskope Programme-Onchocercoses-Zelt Zelt Besucher Zelt-Prog-Oncho 4 Team Zelt-Prog-Oncho 5 Team Zelt-Prog-Oncho 6 Team Zelt-Prog-Oncho 7 TeamFriday-storm-in-the deserted-village-1Heavy-storm-Impossible-to-open-doorHeavy-storm-3Fighting-against-the-storm Fighting-against-the-storm-2Heavy-storm-2Heavy-storm  Friday-storm-in-the deserted-village-tent-destroyed  Destroyed-tent

Teaching grant for Babette Abanda Guimbang!

Within the Initiative for Excellency of our university, young lecturers from foreign academic institutions are invited to teach in Tübingen. Ms Babette Abanda Guimbang from the University of Ngaoundére is amost those selected to teach at the faculty of natural sciences.

During the summer semester 2015 she shall share with us her knowledge on the epidemiology and control of human and cattle parasites in Africa. Moreover she shall participate in lectures on the vectorbiology and control of Neglegted Tropical Diseases and organize a seminar on the particular aspects of those parasitic diseases endemic in Cameroon. Together with Albert Eisenbarth, she shall prepare a practical on laboratory methods of molecular tools of vector and parasite identifications. She shall also prepare a group of students from the Tübingen university to participate in an excursion to Cameroon in summer 2015, soon after the end of the semester.

Congratulations for this new grant!

Congratulations for this new grant!

Cameroon-Excursion 2014

At the end of the summer semester in Tübingen, Alfons Renz and Albert Eisenbarth went back to Cameroon on the 29th of July, together with two students, cand. biol. Patrick Bürgel and Dipl. biol. Alexander Schinko.

Read more

Charitable donation received!

Programme Onchocercoses thanks to a private donor for his support of our research in Cameroon. He wrote:

“Sie haben mir von Ihrem persönlichen Einsatz bei der Bekämpfung der Flussblindkrankheit erzählt und mich mit Ihrer Schilderung der Genese dieser Krankheit und den Chancen ihrer Bekämpfung gefesselt, dabei auch meine biologischen Interessen angesprochen. Ich glaube und hoffe, dass Sie auf einem guten Wege sind. Aber auch, wenn Ihre Forschungen eines Tages nicht zum gewünschten Ziel führen sollten, haben Sie doch Menschen in Afrika und auch Ihren Studenten zu einer guten Beschäftigung und sinnvollen Aufgabe verholfen. Dazu wollte ich ein wenig beitragen.”

The donation of 1.000,- Euro shall be used to support young students in learning field-work methods of medical entomology.

Issek’s New Wheel Chair

These photos show Issek, a Cameroonian artist receiving his new wheelchair. A big thank you to Dr. Irmgard Schreier from Tübingen, Germany for donating the wheelchair and Air France for priority transportation of the chair.
Issek is an artist based in Cameroon. He designed the logo for Programme Onchocercoses with Dr. Renz.