I have been working in the HIV immunology field for 15 years, beginning with applied HIV vaccine research, and then focusing on basic research to understand HIV immunity and pathogenesis, and how HIV affects immunity to major co-infections in our setting, such as TB. In my laboratory, we investigate how HIV affects the immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis in HIV-TB co-infected individuals, both in blood and at the site of disease, the lungs, with a focus on adaptive immunity. We also study the immunology of HIV pathogenesis, seeking to understand how immune hyperactivation results in ineffective immunity and drives progression to disease. Current work focuses on characterizing an understudied CD4+ T helper subset, Th22 cells, which may be important in protective immunity to TB.
The work in the laboratory is funded by the Wellcome Trust, the NIH and the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Platform (EDCTP), with additional local funding from the SA Medical Research Council, National Research Foundation and the PRF.