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The University Research Office is based at the Govan Mbeki building on Westville campus

The University of KwaZulu-Natal currently has more than 250 post-doctoral fellows

Funds requests must be directed through the Colleges at the office of the College Dean of Research

You can upload your own publications on IRMA and ResearchSpace

ResearchSpace is the institutional repository of UKZN. It is a collection of full text theses and also includes research publications produced by UKZN academics.


Professor Thumbi Ndung'u holds position of Associate Professor in HIV/AIDS Research at UKZN and is Director of the HIV Pathogenesis Programme (HPP), a collaborative initiative between the University, Harvard Medical School and the University of Oxford in England.

HPP is dedicated to understanding host-pathogens interactions in HIV and tuberculosis infections, particularly immune responses and to the training of globally competitive African scientists. Ndung’u, his team and their collaborators are currently studying how certain individuals are able to resist HIV-1 infection despite evidence of persistent exposure and how certain HIV-1 infected people are able to achieve relative control of HIV-1 replication. The knowledge gained from studies of people able to resist or control HIV-1 may eventually be used to develop novel vaccines or therapies against HIV and AIDS.

He and his team have recently shown that during the early phases of HIV-1 infection, before full seroconversion has been achieved, the body is unable to mount detectable cellular immune responses to some viral epitopes despite the presence of wild-type virus sequences that should induce such an immune response, based on patterns of responses seen in chronically infected persons.

They also demonstrated that genetic polymorphisms in the immunoregulatory cytokine inter leukin 10 (IL-10) may affect the quality of immune responses, providing mech-anistic evidence of earlier observations that IL-10 geneticvariation can influence HIV infection outcome.

Further, they have explored the consequences of immune-driven sequence variation for the virus and clinical disease outcome. Using a population of over 400 chronically infected people, they showed that recombinant viruses constructed using patient-derived Gag-protease proteins can differ widely in their replicative fitness. Viral fitness varied significantly across different immune genes called HLA-B class I alleles and viral fitness differences correlated with disease outcome. These studies have shed new light on how a vaccine may be designed to attenuate the virus.

In other studies, they have described emerging patterns of drug resistance among children and adults in KwaZulu-Natal. A graduate of the University of Nairobi and Harvard University, Ndung’u is a molecular virologist by training based at the Doris Duke Medical Research Institute at UKZN’s Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine. In 2007 he was awarded the prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s award for exceptional research and research-related scholarly activities. He was previously awarded the Edgar Haber Award (Harvard University) for outstanding doctoral thesis research.

Ndung’u’s previous significant accomplishments include the development of the first full-length infectious clone of HIV-1C from Africa, an important reagent for detailed genetic studies of this strain. This genetic tool allows for various studies on drug sensitivity and vaccine design to be conducted. He is also credited with the generation of the subtype C simian human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV), a genetic chimera between HIV and SIV vaccine tests.

Ndung’u’s main research interests are in the host-virus interactions underlying HIV and AIDS pathogenesis and antiviral immune responses. He is also interested in the development of biomedical interventions that can be used in resource-limited settings to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS.

He has a special interest in the training and development of young scientist

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