Africa Center of Excellence ACE2

Obituary of Dr Georgies Mgode

Dr. Georgies Mgode a Research Fellow at Pest Management Centre and Africa Centre of Excellence For Innovative Rodent Pest Management and Biosensor Technology Development (ACE IRPM & BTD) at Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania, passed away after a short illness on July 5th 2021. Dr Mgode headed the Vector-borne and Zoonotic Disease Studies Section and was the Program Manager of the research dealing with novel diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) using trained African giant pouched rats (Cricetomys anisogei. Swahili: Panyabuku) as biosensor species.

Dr Mgode was among the pioneer researchers of tuberculosis detection using rats and was responsible for exploring the specific odour compounds (volatile organic compounds) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis detected by trained rats for his doctoral degree studies at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology (MPIIB), in Berlin, Germany. His research 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 by H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of Tanzania, for his novel research on TB diagnosis. For the past 24 years he conducted research on leptospirosis a highly neglected rodent borne disease affecting humans and animals. His research focused on mapping of leptospirosis burden in domestic and wild animals and humans; understanding the commonly circulating Leptospira serovars for enhancing diagnosis and control strategies.

He described a new Leptospira serovar named Sokoine that infects a broad range of domestic and wild animals, and humans which is now a key antigen in serodiagnosis of leptospirosis in Tanzania. He led a high profile collaborative research on TB volatiles markers for potential developing a point-of care test for tuberculosis in high burden countries funded by UBS Optimus Foundation.

Dr Mgode graduated with a BSc in Biology from the Open University of Tanzania, a Master’s Degree from the University of Pretoria, South Africa and a Phd from Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Technical University of Berlin.

He leaves behind a widow and five children.

You can watch Dr Mgode in TED Talk describing his pioneering work on this U-Tube link: Trained Rats are Detecting Tuberculosis and Saving Lives | Georgies Mgode | TEDxKenmoreSquare – YouTube


Prof. Rhodes H. Makundi

Deputy Centre Leader


Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania