Eric Mbunwe

Eric Mbunwe

Postdoctoral Fellow

University of Pennsylvania, Department of Genetics



PhD, Medical Sciences (Option: Immuno-genetics) Vrije Universiteit Brussel – VUB, Brussels, Belgium    


MSc, Medical and Pharmaceutical Research (Great distinction) VUB, Brussels, Belgium


MSc, Chemical Pathology (not completed) University of Buea, Cameroon


Bachelor, Medical Laboratory Science (Hons), University of Buea, Cameroon

Conferences, Short Courses, and Seminars


Second African Diabetes Congress, Yaounde, Cameroon


VIB Training Course: Biologic Basis for Novel Therapies in Diabetes, VUB, Brussels, Belgium
54th Annual Short Course on Medical and Experimental Mammalian Genetics, Bar Harbor, Maine, USA (Poster presentation)
HLA-SBT Teaching Session, GenDx, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Career Coaching Course for PhD Students, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium


VIB Research Training Course: Seminar in Transferrable Skills ‘Scientific Writing and Oral Presentations’ Ghent, Belgium
Knowledge for Growth, FlandersBio, Gent, Belgium


Short Course on Drug Development, Brussels, Belgium
Knowledge for Growth, FlandersBio, Gent, Belgium
Networking Skills, Brussels, Belgium
Clinical Research Methods and Governance, VUB, Brussels, Belgium
Project Management Workshop, VUB, Brussels, Belgium


10th Meeting of the Belgian Society of Human Genetics, Gent, Belgium
Master Course: Gene Therapy, VUB, Brussels, Belgium
19th Annual Meeting of the International Genetic Epidemiology Society, Boston, USA (Poster presentation)
Epigenetic Mechanisms in Health & Disease, Brussels, Belgium
VUB PhD Research Day, Brussels, Belgium (Poster presentation)
Presentation Skills in English, Brussels, Belgium


50th Annual Short Course on Medical and Experimental Mammalian Genetics, Bar Harbor, Maine, USA
6th Meeting of the African Society of Human Genetics, Yaounde, Cameroon


4th MIM Pan-African Malaria Conference, Yaounde, Cameroon.

Professional Experience


Assistant Lecturer, Department of Internal Medicine and Specialties, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaounde I, Yaounde, Cameroon.


Co-investigator/Research Assistant on Prof Sarah Tishkoff: Human Genetics Project, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.


Doctoral Research Scientist: Clinical Biology (Genetics Lab), Diabetes Research Center, VUB, Brussels, Belgium


Research Assistant on Prof Eric Achidi: Malaria Immunology/Genetics Projects, University of Buea, Cameroon


Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Labo Lumen Christi, Yaoundé, Cameroon


Clinical Laboratory Scientist, University Teaching Hospital, Yaoundé, Cameroon 

Research and Laboratory Skills

  • PCR: primer/probe design, classical and qPCR assays
  • RFLP
  • HLA typing: PCR-sequence-specific oligotyping and sequence-based typing (including data analysis using GenDX software)
  • Sample collection and processing: venepuncture, preparation of blood smears for malaria
  • Microscopy: thick and thin films for malaria diagnosis, stool and urine parasites    
  • Blood and urine chemistry: colorimetry and spectrophotometry 
  • Field surveys: informed consent/questionnaire administration and  anthropometric measurements (weight, height, waist/hip circumference and skin fold )
  • Statistical packages: IBM SPSS (advanced knowledge) and R-software 

Research Projects

  • Genomic and phenotypic diversity of human populations in Cameroon: Implication for African population history, modern human origins, and human disease”. Professor Sarah A Tishkoff, University of Pennsylvania, USA: Principal Investigator.
    My role in the project: Co-investigator (field and laboratory investigator). 2013 - presen
  • PhD project. “Contribution of screening for HLA class I alleles to prediction of type 1 diabetes in risk groups”. Diabetes Research Center and Belgian Diabetes Registry, Brussels Free University - VUB.
    My contributions: HLA class I/II typing, data analysis, in-house and international presentation of results and publication of results as first author. 2008 - 2013
  • VLIR-OWN Initiative 2007 (Cameroon Diabetes Epidemiology and Registry project). “Contribution to diabetes epidemiology in Cameroon by risk analysis in patients and first degree relatives” (Belgium-Cameroon collaboration). Prof Bart Van Der Auwera, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium: Principal Investigator.
    My contributions: field-worker in Cameroon, collection of genetic data (HLA class II and INS -23 HphI SNP), presentation of genetic data to stakeholders in Cameroon and Belgium, development of activity/financial reports and publication of genetic data. 2007 - 2013
  • “The Malaria Genomics and Epidemiology Networks” and  “Antibodies, cytokines and gene polymorphisms in the pathogenesis of severe malaria, MIM/TDR Research Capability Strengthening Grant; 2001 – 2005 (Multi-institutional grant with the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research Accra Ghana)”. Prof Achidi Eric, University of Buea, Cameroon: Principal Investigator.
    My contributions: As Laboratory Manager, I organized fieldwork for recruitment of participants, sample collection and processing and the day-to-day running of the Malaria Research Laboratory.  2004 - 2006


  • Promoter Fellowship, 2012 - 2013
  • Doctoral Training Fellowship, Research Council - Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 2008 - 2012 
  • Scholarship for Master’s study, Research Council - Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 2006 - 2008


  • Asanghanwa M, Gorus FK, Weets I, Van der Auwera BJ, Aminkeng F, Mbunwe E, Goubert P, Verhaeghen K, Sobngwi E,  Wenzlau J, Hutton JC, Pipeleers D,  Keymeulen B, Mbanya JC, van Schravendijk C, on behalf of the Belgian Diabetes Registry and the Cameroon Diabetes Epidemiology and Registry (CAMDER) Project. "Clinical and biological characteristics of diabetic patients under age 40 in Cameroon: relation to autoantibody status and comparison with Belgian patients" Diabetes Res Clin Pract 103:97-105, 2014
  • Apinjoh TO, Anchang-Kimbi JK, Njua-Yafi C, Mugri RN, Ngwai AN, Rockett KA, Mbunwe E, Besingi RN, Clark TG, Kwiatkowski DP, Achidi EA, in collaboration with The MalariaGEN Consortium. "Association of cytokine and Toll-like receptor gene polymorphisms with severe malaria in three regions of Cameroon" PLoS One 8:e81071, 2013
  • Mbunwe E , Van der Auwera BJ, Weets I, Van Crombrugge P, Crenier L,  Coeckelberghs M, Seret N, Decochez K, Vandemeulebroucke E, Gillard P, Keymeulen B, van Schravendijk C, Wenzlau JM, Hutton JC, Pipeleers DG, Gorus FK, the Belgian Diabetes Registry. "In antibody-positive first-degree relatives of type 1 diabetic patients, HLA-A*24 and HLA-B*18 ― but not HLA-B*39― are predictors of impending diabetes with distinct HLA-DQ interactions" Diabetologia 56:1964-1970, 2013.
  • Mbunwe E, Van der Auwera BJ, Vermeulen I, Demeester S, Van Dalem A, Balti EV, Van Aken S, Derdelinckx L, Dorchy H, De Schepper J, van Schravendijk C, Wenzlau JM, Hutton JC, Pipeleers D, Weets I, Gorus FK; Belgian Diabetes Registry. "HLA-A*24 is an independent predictor of 5-year progression to diabetes in autoantibody-positive first-degree relatives of type 1 diabetic patients" Diabetes 62:1345-1350, 2013.
  • Achidi EA, Apinjoh, TO, Mbunwe E, Besingi R, Yafi CN. Wenjighe Awah N, Ajua A and Anchang JK "Febrile status, malaria parasitaemia and gastro-intestinal helminthiases in schoolchildren resident at different altitudes, in south–western Cameroon"  Ann Trop Med & Parasitol 102:103–118, 2008.


Member of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG, since 2012)
Member of the Belgian Society of Human Genetics (BeSHG, since 2010)
Member of the African Society of Human Genetics (AFSHG, since 2009)
Member of the International Genetic Epidemiology Society (IGES, since 2009)