Research Fellow in zoonotic diseases
Head of Public Health and Zoonotic Diseases Studies, SPMC
Program Manager, APOPO TB, Tanzania.
Pest Management Centre (SPMC)
Sokoine University of Agriculture
P.O. Box 3110
PhD. - Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology/Technical University of Berlin, Germany
MSc. - University of Pretoria, South Africa
BSc. - The Open University of Tanzania, Tanzania
Certificate: LITI, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Rodent borne diseases and tuberculosis detection using trained rats
Dr. Georgies Mgode is a Research Fellow at Pest Management Centre, Sokoine University of Agriculture (SPMC) heading the Vector-borne and Zoonotic Disease Studies Section; and is the program manager of APOPO TB involved with novel diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) using trained African giant pouched rats (Cricetomys sp. Swahili: Panyabuku).
Dr. Mgode has research interest in tuberculosis and rodent borne zoonotic diseases including leptospirosis. He is among the pioneer researchers of tuberculosis detection using rats and he explored the specific odour compounds (volatile organic compounds) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis which are targeted by TB detection rats for doctoral degree studies at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology (MPIIB), in Berlin Germany.
His work provided first insights on the specific odour compounds that rats detect to distinguish TB positive and negative patients. In 2012 Dr. Mgode was awarded the presidential Medal of Invention and Scientific Research, from H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of Tanzania for his novel research on TB diagnosis. For past 23 years he has been conducting research on leptospirosis a highly neglected rodent borne disease affecting humans and animals.
His research focuses on mapping of leptospirosis burden domestic and wild animals and humans; understanding the commonly circulating Leptospira serovars for enhancing diagnosis and control strategies funded by COSTECH.
His description of a new Leptospira serovar Sokoine that infects a broad range of domestic and wild animals, and humans contributes to the much-needed local antigens for serodiagnosis of leptospirosis in Tanzania where this disease in not routinely diagnosed. He is currently working towards development of Leptospira antigen panel for scaling-up diagnosis of human and animal leptospirosis to improve public health and livestock productivity in Tanzania and subsequently in other African countries with high prevalence of leptospirosis.
He is also conducting high profile collaborative researches on TB volatiles markers for potential point-of care testing of tuberculosis in high burden countries funded by UBS Optimus Foundation. Dr. Mgode is a member of the National Steering Committee for Public Health Pesticides; the National Malaria Vector Control Sub-committee (Tanzania), the International Leptospirosis society (ILS) and the African Leptospirosis Network.
- Mgode, G.F., Machang’u, R.S., Mhamphi, G.G., Katakweba, A., Mulungu, L.S., Durnez, L., ... & Belmain, S. R. (2015). Leptospira Serovars for Diagnosis of Leptospirosis in Humans and Animals in Africa: Common Leptospira Isolates and Reservoir Hosts. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 9(12).
- Poling, A., Mahoney, A., Beyene, N., Mgode, G., Weetjens, B., Cox, C., & Durgin, A. (2015). Using giant African pouched rats to detect human tuberculosis: a review. The Pan African medical journal, 21.
- Georgies F. Mgode, Stephan Cohen-Bacrie, Marielle Bedotto, Bart J. Weetjens, Christophe Cox, Maureen Jubitana, Dian Kuipers, Robert S. Machang’u, Rudovick Kazwala, Sayoki G. Mfinanga, Stefan H. E. Kaufmann (2014). Mycobacterium Genotypes in Pulmonary Tuberculosis Infections and Their Detection by Trained African Giant Pouched Rats. Current Microbiology. DOI 10.1007/s00284-014-0705-6.
- Mgode GF, Katakweba AS, Mhamphi GG, Fwalo F, Mdangi M, Kilonzo BS & Mulungu LS. (2014) Prevalence of leptospirosis and toxoplasmosis: A study of rodents and shrews in cultivated and fallow land, Morogoro rural district, Tanzania. Tanzania Journal of Health Research 16 (3), 2014.
- Mgode, G. F., Mbugi, H. A., Mhamphi, G. G., Ndanga, D., & Nkwama, E. L. (2014). Seroprevalence of Leptospira infection in bats roosting in human settlements in Morogoro municipality in Tanzania. Tanzania Journal of Health Research, 16(1).
- Mgode, G. F., Mhamphi, G. G., Katakweba, A., & Thomas, M. (2014). Leptospira infections in freshwater fish in Morogoro Tanzania: a hidden public health threat. Tanzania Journal of Health Research, 16(2).
- Mgode GF, Weetjens BJ, Nawrath T, Lazar D, Cox C, Jubitana M, Mahoney A, Kuipers D, Machang’u RS, Weiner J, Schulz S, Kaufmann SHE. (2012) Mycobacterium tuberculosis volatiles for diagnosis of tuberculosis by Cricetomys rats. Tuberculosis 2012; 92: 535-542.
- Mgode GF, Weetjens BJ, Cox C, Jubitana M, Machang'u RS, Lazar D, Weiner J, Van Geertruyden JP, Kaufmann SH. (2012) Ability of Cricetomys rats to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis and discriminate it from other microorganisms. Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2012 Mar;92(2):182-6. Epub 2011 Dec 24.
- Mgode GF, Weetjens BJ, Nawrath T, Cox C, Jubitana M, Machang'u RS, Cohen-Bacrie S, Bedotto M, Drancourt M, Schulz S, Kaufmann SH. (2012) Diagnosis of tuberculosis by trained African giant pouched rats and confounding impact of pathogens and microflora of the respiratory tract. J Clin Microbiol. 2012 Feb;50(2):274-80. Epub 2011 Nov 30.
- Thorben Nawrath, Georgies F. Mgode, Bart Weetjens, Stefan H. E. Kaufmann, Stefan Schulz (2012). The volatiles of pathogenic and nonpathogenic mycobacteria and related bacteria. Beilstein J Org Chem. 2012, 8, 290–299.
- Beyene N, Mahoney A, Cox C, Weetjens B, Makingi G, Mgode G, Poling A (2012). APOPO’s tuberculosis research agenda: achievements, challenges and prospects. Tanzania Journal of Health Research, 14(2).
- Mahoney AM, Weetjens BJ, Cox C, Beyene N, Mgode G, Jubitana M, Kuipers D, Kazwala R, Mfinanga GS, Durgin A, Poling A (2011). Using giant African pouched rats to detect tuberculosis in human sputum samples: 2010 findings. Pan Afr Med J. 2011;9:28. Epub 2011 Jul 18.
- C. G. Faulkes, N. C. Bennett, F. P. D. Cotterill, W. Stanley, G. F. Mgode, E. Verheyen (2011). Phylogeography and cryptic diversity of the solitary-dwelling silvery mole-rat, genus Heliophobius (family: Bathyergidae). J Zool 2011, 285 (4): 324-338. 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2011.00863.x
- Georgies F. Mgode, Robert S. Machang’u, Margarida Collares-Pereira, Maria Luisa Vieira, Marga G. A. Goris, Mirjam Engelbert and Rudy A. Hartskeerl (2010). Challenges in determining the pathogenicity status of Leptospira isolates with phenotypic methods: The need for a polyvalent approach. Afr J Microbiol Res, 4 (23): 2528-2533.
- Chris G. Faulkes, Georgies F. Mgode, Steven C. Le Comber and Nigel C. Bennett (2010). Cladogenesis and endemism in Tanzanian mole-rats, genus Fukomys: (Rodentia: Bathyergidae): a role for tectonics? Biol J Linnean Soc, 100: 337–352.
- Alan Poling, Bart J. Weetjens, Christophe Cox, Georgies Mgode, Maureen Jubitana, Rudovic Kazwala, Godfrey S. Mfinanga, and Diana Huis in ‘t Veld (2010). Using Giant African Pouched Rats to Detect Tuberculosis in Human Sputum Samples: 2009 Findings. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 83(6): 1308-1310.
- Bart J Weetjens, Georgies Mgode, Witkind Davis, Christophe L Cox and Negussie W Beyene (2009). African giant rats for tuberculosis detection: a novel diagnostic technology. Global Forum Update on Research for Health Vol 6: 41.
- Weetjens B.J., G. F. Mgode, R. S. Machang’u, R. Kazwala, G. Mfinanga et al. (2009). African pouched rats for the detection of pulmonary tuberculosis in sputum samples. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis 13(6): 1–7.
- Makundi, Rhodes H. Apia W. Massawe, Loth S. Mulungu, Abdul Katakweba, Thomas J. Mbise and Georgies Mgode. (2008). Potential mammalian reservoirs in a bubonic plague outbreak focus in Mbulu District, northern Tanzania, in 2007. Mammalia 72: 253-257.
- Lies Durnez, Miriam Eddyani, Georgies F Mgode, Abdul Katakweba, Charles R Katholi, Robert R Machangu, Rudovick R Kazwala, Francoise Portaels, Herwig Leirs (2007). First findings of mycobacteria in African rodents and insectivores using stratified pool screening. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Dec7:18065608.
- G.F. Mgode, R.S. Machang’u, M.G. Goris, M. Engelbert, S. Sondij and R.A. Hartskeerl (2006). New Leptospira serovar Sokoine of serogroup Icterohaemorrhagiae from cattle in Tanzania. Int J Systemat Evol Microbiol 56:593-597.
- G.F. Mgode, G. Mhamphi, A. Katakweba, E. Paemelaere, N. Willekens, H. Leirs, R.S. Machang’u and R.A. Hartskeerl (2005). PCR detection of Leptospira DNA in rodents and insectivores from Tanzania. Belg J Zool 135:17-19.
- Kilonzo, B., Mhina, J., Sabuni, C. and Mgode G (2005). The role of rodents and small carnivores in plague endemicity in Tanzania. Belg J Zool 135: 119-125.
- Machang'u, R. S., G. F. Mgode, J. Assenga, G. Mhamphi, B. Weetjens, C. Cox, R. Verhagen, S. Sondij, M.G. Goris,& R.A. Hartskeerl (2004). Serological and molecular characterization of Leptospira serovar Kenya from captive African giant pouched rats (Cricetomys gambianus) from Morogoro Tanzania. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol 41:117-121.
- Machang’u R, Mgode G, Asenga J, Mhamphi G, Hartskeerl R, Goris M, Cox C, Weetjens B, Verhagen R (2003). Characterization of Leptospira isolates from captive giant pouched rats, Cricetomys gambianus. In: Rats, Mice and People, Rodent Biology and Management. Eds, Singleton, GR, Hinds, LA, Krebs, CJ, and Spratt, MD. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra, 2003.
- Kilonzo, B.S., Ngomuo, A.J., Sabuni, C.A., Mgode, G.F (2001). Effects of Azadirachta indica (Neem) extracts on livestock fleas in Morogoro district, Tanzania. Insect Sci. Applic. Vol. 21, No. 1.
- Machang'u RS, Mgode G, Mpanduji D. (1997). Leptospirosis in animals and humans in selected areas of Tanzania. Belg J Zool Vol. 127 (1): 97–104.
- Machang'u, R.S. Mgode, G. and Mpanduji, D.G. (1997). Serosurvey of leptospirosis in rodents, dogs and cattle in selected areas of Tanzania. Tanz Vet J 17(3): 72-75.
- Machang’u, R.S., Mgode, G. and Gisakanyi, N. (1997). Recurrent Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome in Children. Report of two cases. East Africa Med J 74 (9): 603-604.
- Machang'u, R.S.; Mgode, G.; and Kessy, A.J. (1996). Leptospirosis: A public health threat at the Morogoro slaughterhouse. Tanz Vet J 16 (2).
- Machang'u, R.S., Mgode, G. and Mpanduji, D.G. (1994). Experiences in growth and maintenance of leptospires in the laboratory. Tanz Vet J 14: 136-140.
1. Mgode, G.F. Determination of Mycobacterium tuberculosis odour compounds detected by Cricetomys gambianus rats for diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis in low-income settings. PhD Dissertation. Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin, Germany, and Technical University of Berlin, Berlin Germany (2011).
2. Mgode, G.F. Application of a multidisciplinary approach to the systematics of Acomys (Rodentia: Muridae) from northern Tanzania. MSc. Dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa (2006).
3. Mgode, G.F. Comparison of conventional phenotypic methods and molecular (genotypic) characterization of pathogenic and saprophytic leptospires. BSc. Research project. Open University of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (2003).
STUDENTS SUPERVISION / CO-SUPERVISION
Co-supervised MSc students
- Elikunda Kimaro – Sokoine University of Agriculture
- Mungo Kisinza – University of Pretoria
- Epiphan Shao -2016
- Yusuph Mahungo - 2015
- Huruma Mbugi - 2013
- Evance Nkwama - 2013
- Dickson Ndanga - 2013
- Michael Thomas - 2013
- Isaac John - 2013
ONGOING PROJECTSEvaluation of Tuberculosis odour compounds in samples detected by trained rats (UBS Optimus Foundation, 2015-2016).
Development of Leptospira antigen panel for scaling-up diagnosis of human and animal leptospirosis to improve productivity in Tanzania (Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) 2015-2017.
Role of rare mole rat species co‐existing with humans in northern Tanzania in transmission of neglected zoonotic diseases (International Foundation for Science (IFS)-2015-2017).
Study on rare mole rat species diversity assessment and conservation in northern Tanzania (International Foundation for Science (IFS).
Active TB case detection in high risk population using trained rats