Global Fellows Research Academy
Institution: KAVI Institute of Clinical Research
Country of work: Kenya
What is your motivation for engaging in HIV cure and remission research?
Having lost several relatives and a few close friends to AIDS, I am driven by the hope and dream of a world without AIDS in my lifetime, with a vaccine readily available and routinely administered across Sub-Saharan Africa, which bares the blunt of this devastating disease. To achieve this novel life-changing goal, I have dedicated my life and research work in helping find a cure and am now at the forefront of discovering novel HIV vaccines and cures.
What is your current area of research?
I am part of a dynamic international scientific team in the Vaccine Immunology Science and Technology for Africa (VISTA) program, which is under the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). Here, we are designing and assessing the next generation of AIDS vaccine immuno-candidates and making a unique contribution to the broader field of HIV vaccine and cure research. In particular, am working on characterizing the early stages of HIV infection to determine the phenotype of the initial target cells for HIV-1 infection in various mucosal tissues and exploring the possible mechanisms underlying the establishment of mucosal viral reservoirs. Additionally, I was recently awarded an Investigator Initiated Early Career Award supporting my research work in characterizing biological signatures in early HIV infection to advance vaccine and treatment design.