Global Fellows Research Academy

Fredrick Lutwama

Nationality: Uganda
Institution: UVRI-IAVI HIV Vaccine Program
Country of work: Uganda

What is your motivation for engaging in HIV cure and remission research?

My long-term goal is to have a career dedicated to the design of vaccines and immunomodulatory interventions for pathogens of global significance such as HIV. My initial interest in HIV was formed while working at the Infectious Diseases Institute, an urban HIV and AIDS care and research center. I noted the challenge of taking lifelong HAART. I have since longed to be part of research that will lead to discovery of a cure for HIV and AIDS. The HIV cure workshop will equip me with knowledge on strategies being used to develop therapies that can cure patients with HIV-1.

What is your current area of research?

I am a physician scientist with training in Medicine and Surgery from Makerere University, and post graduate training in Clinical sciences and Immunology from the University od Cape Town. I am currently working with the UVRI-IAVI HIV vaccine Program as a postdoctoral research fellow. My research project focuses on assessing the sensitivity of HIV-1 envelope clones isolated from participants in the lake victoria basin to broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs). I isolate HIV-1 RNA from plasma samples, amplify the HIV-1 envelope gene and use this to produce HIV-1 envelope-typed pseudoviruses. I then test these viruses for sensitivity to a panel of bNABs. I hope that these studies will contribute to our understanding of how we can utilize bNAbs in the cure of HIV-1.