The Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) has appointed eminent HIV scientist Professor Thumbi Ndung’u as its Deputy Director (Science).

In this new executive role Thumbi, who holds a Faculty position at AHRI and is a Max Planck Society Group Leader, will assist AHRI Director Prof Deenan Pillay in leading AHRI’s science agenda and strategy.

Thumbi has made important contributions in the field of HIV vaccine and pathogenesis research. His research programme at AHRI is focussed on understanding how HIV and TB persist and replicate in the face of a hostile host immune system – with the goal of aiding the design of a safe, affordable and effective HIV-1 vaccine or effective immune-based therapies. Thumbi has a special interest in capacity building for biomedical research in Africa, primarily through the Sub-Saharan African Network for TB/HIV Research Excellence (SANTHE) programme, based at AHRI. He also holds a Professorship at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). His new role will further strengthen AHRI’s academic partnership with UKZN.

“AHRI is a unique institute with the capacity to undertake research that translates into immediate positive impact on the health of people living in South Africa – and beyond. It can also develop innovative health solutions for the future and train the next generation of African research leaders.  I am excited to assume this crucial role to ensure that we achieve these goals,” said Thumbi.

“We are delighted that Thumbi has agreed to take up this critically important role at AHRI. We are sure that under his guidance our science will continue to grow in excellence,” said Deenan.

*Follow Thumbi Ndung’u on Twitter here