Global Fellows Research Academy
Institution: Cape Town HVTN Immunology Laboratory
Country of work: South Africa
What is your motivation for engaging in HIV cure and remission research?
While HIV remains a worldwide problem, Africa is deeply affected by the HIV pandemic, and needs every tool possible to control this problem. While there have been great advances in therapeutics (ARV’s) which I appreciate, cure or prevention still hold the key to permanently tackling this problem. Hence why I feel that focusing on cure or prevention is so important and would be the most cost effective and long term solution to this pandemic, not only on our continent Africa, but worldwide. We as Africans have a responsibility to help tackle this problem.
What is your current area of research?
Our lab focuses on profiling cellular immune responses to vaccination using techniques such as multi-parameter flow cytometry and next generation sequencing. My main area of research is trying to understand HIV vaccine induced CD4 T cell memory and trying to determine what kind of memory response is important for protection against HIV infection. I have also recently begun investigating the role of T memory stem cells in the context of HIV vaccination and how long this population of cells can be detected after vaccination. I look at both the phenotypic differences and gene expression profiles of HIV vaccine induced cellular responses and compare them to those of efficacious vaccine such as those for Yellow fever and Hepatitis.