University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), HIV Pathogenesis Program (HPP), Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine is based in Durban, South Africa. HPP is a research initiative that was collaboratively founded by UKZN and Harvard Medical School in 2002. The HPP laboratory is located at the Doris Duke Medical Research Institute and serves as a center for training of African scientists through regular workshops. UKZN and Harvard work closely on research and training efforts, and approximately 5-10 African students and researchers annually have been sponsored to visit the Ragon Institute at Harvard and MIT in Boston for short-term training. The HPP laboratory serves as both a facility for exploratory pathogenesis and translational research into HIV and TB, as well as a sample repository for all HPP studies samples. UKZN is also an integral part of the Wellcome Trust funded Africa Centre for Population Studies (recently renamed as Africa Health Research Institute), with a large rural population based research program, with which Harvard faculty have had a longstanding research and training collaboration.
The Site-based Director
DR. THUMBI NDUNG’U (BVM, PhD)
Scientific Director of the HIV Pathogenesis Programme at the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. He is a virologist with a PhD from Harvard University, Boston, USA. His main research interests are in host-virus interactions and immune responses in HIV-1 infection. He is also interested in the development of biomedical interventions that can be used in resource-limited settings to prevent or treat HIV/AIDS. He is an Associate Professor in HIV/AIDS Research at the the Doris Duke Medical Research Institute, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal. He holds the South African Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation (DST/NRF) Research Chair in Systems Biology of HIV/AIDS.
Michelle Gordon, PhD is a Virologist and Lecturer in the Department of Virology at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, UKZN, as well as a Senior Scientist at the HIV Pathogenesis Programme (HPP). She supervises 4 Masters’ students at HPP and is involved in many of the research projects. Her research focuses mainly on HIV ARV drug resistance. She also has extensive bioinformatics experience and has co-authored several papers on the characterization of HIV-1 subtype C and is also a co-author on several bioinformatics papers.
Jaclyn Mann, Lecturer and Researcher
Jaclyn Mann, PhD (Virology), is employed as a lecturer and researcher in the HIV Pathogenesis Programme (HPP), School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, UKZN. Her research is focused on investigating the effect of immune-driven mutations on the function of HIV-1 proteins and the replication capacity of the virus, with the broad aim of identifying which immune responses may be effective in controlling HIV-1 infection.
Zaza Ndlovu, Honorary Lecturer
Dr. Zaza Ndhlovu’s studies seek to understand the mechanism by which rare people who are able to control viral replication in the absence of therapy (elite controllers) achieve long-term asymp¬tomatic infection. Dr. Ndhlovu and his colleagues have made significant discoveries about key features of HIV-specific killer T lymphocyte subsets that are able to inhibit viral replication and drive immune escape in elite controllers; characterizing these T cell subsets is crucial to the development of T cell based vaccines for HIV and other infectious agents.
Christina Thobakgale- Tshabalala, Senior Lecturer and Researcher
Dr. Christina Tshabalala is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the HIV Pathogenesis Programme (HPP) at University of KwaZulu-Natal. She graduated with a PHD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, followed by a Postdoctoral Fellowship with the HPP and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard. For the past few years her research focused on understanding cellular and viral factors that influenced disease progression in HIV-infected infants.
Thumbi Ndung’u, Scientific Director