Global Fellows Research Academy
Institution: Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA)
Country of work: South Africa
What is your motivation for engaging in HIV cure and remission research?
While all current HIV treatments target the virus, immune-based therapies are being considered. ART achievements are remarkable, however ART must be taken daily for life, necessitating the need for prospective studies to monitor long-term effects. Furthermore, discontinuation of ART in almost every case leads to viral rebound within weeks. This has led many to consider if host-directed therapies, including anti-α4β7 Ab that is clinically approved for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, could improve treatment and prevention outcome.
What is your current area of research?
My training is in infectious disease immunology, host genetics and epidemiology, with a focus on HIV and sex worker cohorts in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently my work at CAPRISA in Durban, South Africa focuses on understanding the mucosal determinants of HIV transmission and disease progression. Specifically my research focuses on understanding the role of integrin a4b7 and interferon signaling in HIV acquisition and disease progression. Furthermore, in collaboration with Dr. Kogie Naidoo I have been looking at the effect of type I interferon levels and signalling on anti-TB immune defence in HIV infected individuals on ART.