Established in 1947, the UK Medical Research Council’s research centre in The Gambia is the UK’s single largest investment in medical research in a developing country. The Gambia Unit’s research focuses on infectious diseases of immediate concern to The Gambia and the continent of Africa, with the aim of reducing the burden of illness and death in the country and the developing world as a whole
The research portfolio of the unit spans basic scientific research (immunology, microbiology, virology and molecular biology), clinical studies, large epidemiological studies and intervention trials. The field and laboratory-based work draws on excellent research and clinical facilities and attracts international funding. The unit has an established staff complement of about 200 scientists, clinicians and senior administrative staff from many parts of the world, as well as hosting many visiting researchers, and over 500 support staff. There are field sites upcountry – Basse, Keneba and Walikunda (in The Gambia) and Caio (in Guinea Bissau) – each in a different ecological setting, providing varied research opportunities.
In February 2018, the MRC The Gambia Unit became part of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.