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Academic staff


Clive Gray

Clive Gray

In 2011 Clive Gray became the Chair and Head of the Division of Immunology. He was formerly Head of HIV Immunology at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg. He obtained his PhD in Immunology in 1994 from the University of the Witwatersrand and in 1995 received the James Gear Fellowship taking up a position at the Center for AIDS Research, Stanford University, USA. At Stanford he was one of the first to do research on the restoration of immunity in HIV-infected individuals receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy and then to examine the specific nature of T cells using MHC tetramers.

He returned to South Africa in 1998 and built up an internationally recognised immunology laboratory at the NICD. His particular interest lies in understanding the immunopathogenesis of HIV, what constitutes survival and differentiation of antigen-specific memory CD4 and CD8 T cells, and what is required for vaccine-induced immunity. He played a formative role in the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative (SAAVI) and was part of the development team for the DNA and MVA candidate vaccines that have completed trials in the US and South Africa. As PI for the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) immunology laboratory in southern African for the past 10 years he was responsible for measuring vaccine immunogenicity in clinical trials in the region.

Prof. Gray is also an Adjunct Professor of Immunology at Duke University, USA and a full member of the IDM. In 2004, he received the International Leadership Award from the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation for developing Immunopaedia, an on-line learning website to simplify immunology for paediatricians and clinicians in general (

Frank Brombacher

Frank Brombacher

Frank Brombacher, PhD, is employed by the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) and holds a South African Research chair and an extramural MRC Research Unit in Immunology and Infectious Diseases in Africa at the IDM. His group investigates immunological mechanisms, regulation and protective host-effector functions in experimental murine infectious disease models, relevant to Africans, e.g. tuberculosis, African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis and helminthic infections, including bilharzia - four of the top ten World Health Organisation declared human threats to combat. In addition, he and his group are interested in chronic diseases, including allergic asthma and colitis, which cause high morbidity and mortality in humans.

Prof. Brombacher is a NRF A1-rated immunologist, scholar of Nobel Laureate Prof. G. Koehler (hybridoma) and previous International Senior Wellcome Trust Fellow for Medical Research in South Africa. Prof. Brombacher is also a Fellow at UCT, Visiting Professor at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and President of the South African Immunology Society.

Muazzam Jacobs

Muazzam Jacobs

Muazzam Jacobs is an NRF Rated Scientist (C2 2011) and Professor in the Division of Immunology. He is the current Program Leader: International Associate Laboratory, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France)/University of Cape Town (South Africa); a member of the IDM at UCT and a Group Leader of the Experimental Tuberculosis and Immunology Research Group.  He obtained his PhD in immunology in 2002. His particular research interests are TB, Malaria – alone and in co-infection, TB drugs and transgenic mouse models.

William Horsnell

William Horsnell is a lecturer in the Division of Immunology and a NRF C2 rated scientist. He is an Associate Member of the IDM. Dr Horsnell obtained his PhD in Cell Biology, from the University of London (United Kingdom) in December 2001. His particular interest is helminth infections including looking at the protective role of such infections in the immune system.

Mark Hatherill

Mark Hatherill is the Director of SATVI and a specialist paediatrician, with accreditation in critical care, and an experienced clinical trialist who is active in the design and implementation of innovative trials of new TB vaccines and preventive therapy, through several consortia. He is a Full Member of the Institute of Infectious Disease & Molecular Medicine (IDM) at the University of Cape Town; a member of the SA Department of Health TB Think Tank, Working Group on Diagnostics, Drugs and Vaccines; and a member of the Global TB Vaccine Partnership, Working Group on Experimental Medicine. Dr Hatherill is funded by competitive grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Joint Global Health Trials scheme (UK MRC/ Wellcome Trust/DfID), SA Medical Research Council, US National Institutes of Health, and multiple Aeras contracts.

Thomas Scriba

Tom Scriba (PhD) is Deputy Director of SATVI and directs SATVI's Clinical Immunology Laboratory. He was trained in Biological Sciences at Stellenbosch University and obtained a DPhil (PhD) in T cell Immunology at Oxford University. He returned to South Africa in 2006 to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in Paediatric and Clinical Immunology in Tuberculosis and Vaccinology at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM), University of Cape Town. He is Full Member of the IDM, member of the AERAS Biomarker and Correlates Working Group and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Collaboration for TB Vaccine Discovery. He is funded by competitive grants from the BMGF, the National Research Foundation, SA Medical Research Council, US National Institutes of Health and the European Union.

Reto Guler

Reto Guler is a Senior Research Officer in the Division. He currently lectures for the BSc (Med) honours Immunology module; BSc (Med) honours in Nutrition & Dietetics; PhD Immunology semester course and BSc (Med) (Honours) Immunology techniques module. He has also supervised and co-supervised numerous PhD, Honours students and postdoctoral fellows. Dr Guler has received several prestigious PI grant awards from the following agencies: KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for TB-HIV (K-RITH), the MRC, University and Faculty Research Committee funding, the NRF and the Swiss - South African Joint Research Programme supported by NRF/SNF.

Dr Guler has published extensively. His work is frequently cited and his Google Scholar H-index is 19 (August 2016). He belongs to several academic societies including the Federation of African Immunological Societies Conference (FAIS), South African Immunology Society (SAIS), European Cytokine Society and the FANTOM5 consortium led by the RIKEN Center for Life Science.
His current research focus is the identification of drug targets as well as the interplay between macrophages and parasites/pathogens with a specific focus on leishmaniasis, listeria and TB.
Heather Jaspan

Dr Jaspan is currently a Senior Scientist based at the Seattle Children's Hospital and Affiliate Assistant Professor; Department of Global Health and Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, and Member, Center for Global Infectious Disease Research, Seattle Children’s Research Institute. She is also a Senior Lecturer in the Division of Immunology and an Associate Member of the IDM.

She obtained her PhD, in the Molecular & Cell Biology Program, Microbiology & Immunology Department; Tulane University and her MD at Tulane University Medical School.

Her other achievements and awards include being a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics; and, being awarded the AztraZeneca Highly Commended Clinical Research Young Investigator and the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections Young Investigator Award in 2009.

Dr Jaspan’s main research focus has been HIV and currently in the division she is the PI for the Infant study.

Jairam Lingappa

Dr. Lingappa is visiting the Division until April 2017 from the University of Washington. 

Dr. Lingappa has been a faculty member at the University of Washington since 2004 and is currently a Professor in the Departments of Global Health and Medicine and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Pediatrics.  He received his B.A. in Physics from Swarthmore College, Ph.D. in Biophysics at Harvard University, and M.D. at the University of California. He completed residency training in Pediatrics and a fellowship in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Washington.  From 1998 to 2003, prior to starting as a UW faculty, he served as an officer with the US Public Health Epidemic Intelligence Service and a medical epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

His research interests are in HIV-1 prevention clinical trials and observational studies in African heterosexual HIV-1 discordant couples. Most recently, his activities have focused on using samples and data from those prospective cohorts to conduct translational research studies to understand the pathogenesis of HIV-1 sexual transmission and particularly to identify host biological correlates of protection from HIV-1 infection.

Frank Kirstein

Frank Kirstein obtained his PhD from the University of Cape Town in 2008 and has been working since then as a Research Officer in the Division of Immunology. His main area of research interest is investigating immune responses in allergic asthma utilising mouse models and he is the expert in lung function measurements in mice.

Mohlopheni Marakalala

Mohlopheni Marakalala

Mohlopheni joined the Division of Immunology as a Senior Lecturer and a Group Leader, following a three and half year postdoctoral fellowship in Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard University, USA. He obtained his PhD in Chemical Pathology (UCT), receiving the Bronte Stewart award for the most meritorious thesis submitted by a doctoral student in 2008. Between 2009 and 2012, he was a Sydney Brenner Postdoctoral Fellow working with Gordon Brown on innate immunology of TB and fungal infections. He is a 2015/2016 Next Einstein Fellow, and was also honored as a Young Scientist at the 2015 World Economic Forum new champions meeting. He maintains an affiliation with Harvard as a Visiting Scientist in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. He advocates science and technology as the ultimate solution to Africa’s challenges. He also envisions building research capacity on the continent by training PhD scientists from underrepresented communities.

J Claire Hoving

Dr Hoving is a basic immunologist and her research aims at understanding host immune responses to disease with a particular focus on HIV-related fungal infections and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Fungal infections are often an overlooked clinical and public health issue. Pneumocystis jirovecii is an opportunistic fungal pathogen of immunocompromised hosts and is a common cause of pneumonia and death in patients with HIV/AIDS. There are very few researchers dissecting the mechanisms of fungal infections in Africa, yet research in this field will provide new insights into protective immunity and may lead to improved treatments for immunocompromised hosts.  Dr Hoving is a National Research Foundation (NRF) Research Career Advancement fellow, an NRF Y-rated researcher and an honorary member of the Aberdeen Fungal Group, MRC Centre for Medical Mycology, University of Aberdeen, UK. She is funded by both the NRF and South African Medical Research Council.


Elisa Nemes

Elisa completed her PhD in HIV-specific T cell immunology in Italy and France. She then worked on paediatric immune responses to HIV and TB in Cameroon. She joined SATVI in 2011, where she has been involved in basic immunology studies, clinical trials of new TB vaccines and studies of host correlates of risk of TB disease in BCG-vaccinated infants and of BCG/TB immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome in HIV-infected children.

Katherine Smith

Dr Smith holds an European Commission Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellowship, which supports her two-year secondment to the University of Cape Town from Cardiff University in the UK.  She is an Honorary research associate in the Division of Immunology and an associate member of the IDM.  Katie received her BSc (Hons) from Imperial College, London and obtained her PhD at Cambridge University.  From 2007 to 2014, Katie was a postdoctoral researcher studying immune-regulation in the lab of Prof Rick Maizels at Edinburgh University.

Katie is interested in how helminth infections affect inflammatory conditions, including lung inflammation and cancer. Her current fellowship focuses on how parasite infection can influence colorectal cancer. She recently received NRF Competitive Support for Unrated Researchers funding to support 1 MSc student and 1 PhD student on this project at UCT.

Adam Penn-Nicholson

After receiving his PhD in the USA, Adam worked in industry on the development and manufacture of vaccines. He joined SATVI in 2011. Adam’s main focus is on the discovery of blood-based biomarkers that prospectively predict TB disease risk, and understanding the biology involved in progression from latent M. tuberculosis infection to active TB disease. He also provides scientific oversight of several clinical TB vaccine trials currently being conducted at SATVI.

Jeffrey Dorfman

Jeff Dorfman is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Division of Immunology. His lab studies neutralising antibody to HIV and early HIV phylogeny. Recent advances from his laboratory include new information about variability in HIV-1 Envelope glycan shield vulnerability, and the implications for immune escape and future vaccines. Recently, he and his colleagues have published evidence suggesting that there are or were many more than 9 “pure” subtypes of HIV-1 group M, and that genome fragments of several unappreciated subtypes persist today within circulating recombinant form (CRF) viruses from the Congo basin. These subtypes were likely left behind during the initial migratory waves that triggered the global epidemic.

Jeff designed the postgraduate Research Immunology course offered within the Division, and has convened it from 2011 until 2016.

Jeff received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, studying target recognition by natural killer cells, followed by postdoctoral fellowships at the National Institutes of Health (USA) studying T cell receptor signalling and at the Wellcome Trust Research Unit in Kilifi, Kenya, studying B cell memory to P. falciparum malaria. He joined the Division in 2009.


Nai-Jen Hsu

Dr Nai-Jen Hsu obtained her PhD from the University of Cape Town (Department of Human Biology) in December 2007 in Neuroscience and Cell Biology. Since 2008 she has been a full-time post-doctoral researcher in the Division of Immunology. In 2008 she obtained a TB-REACT Postdoctoral Fellowship. From 2009 to 2011 she held an NRF Innovation Postdoctoral Fellowship and from 2011 to 2012 an NHLS Research Trust Developmental Grant. Her current area of research interest is identifying TB infection in neuron cultures as well as testing anti-TB drugs for toxicity and efficacy in vitro.


Enock Havayarimana

Infant-feeding group researcher


Support and laboratory staff

Nonthobeko Tena-Coki - Project Manager Infant Study
Lizette Fick - Histology Assistant
Rodney Dreyer - FACS Facility Manager
Wendy Green - Laboratory Supervisor/Technical Assistant
Berenice Alinde - Laboratory Manager
Fadwah Booley - Research Assistant
Faried Abbass - P3 Assistant
George Jacobs - Laboratory Assistant
Joey Paulse - Laboratory Assistant

Administrative staff

Dhuraiyah Abdullah - PA to Head of Division

Bon Holtak – Immunopaedia Communications Officer