Structure
& Governance

The Africa Health Research Institute Director, Professor Deenan Pillay, leads the institute and oversees its scientific programmes. The Director is assisted by a Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Information Officer and Senior Advisor.

Leadership

Deenan Pillay

Deenan Pillay

Director

Prof Deenan Pillay is an academic clinical virologist with a research and clinical interest in HIV transmission, antiviral therapy and drug resistance. He is a Professor in Virology in the University College London Division of Infection & Immunity. His research work at UCL and AHRI focusses on HIV virus evolution, in particular how HIV escapes drug selective pressure. His research spans wet (genomic, phenotypic) and dry (bioinformatics) laboratory approaches, as well as linking in vitro data to national and international population estimates. Prior to his posting as Director of Africa Health Research Institute, he served as Director of the Africa Centre for Population Health. He has held a number of other senior scientific roles, including Head of the Division of Infection and Immunity at UCL, and Director of the UCL Biomedical Research Centre.

Thumbi Ndung’u

Thumbi Ndung’u

Deputy Director: Science

Prof Thumbi Ndung'u is an eminent HIV scientist who 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 is a Max Planck Society Group Leader and holds a Professorship at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. In his executive role at AHRI, he assists our Director in leading AHRI’s science agenda and strategy.

Raynold Zondo

Raynold Zondo

Chief Operating Officer

Before joining AHRI in 2018, Raynold Zondo was a Group Executive at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), a position he held for over a decade. Raynold’s initial degree was in Biochemistry and Mathematics. He also holds a BCom degree in Commercial Law, an MSc in Project
Management and a Master’s in Biotechnology. Previously with Smith & Nephew Pharmaceuticals as a Regulatory Affairs Manager, Raynold joined the CSIR in 2002 as a Quality Assurance Manager. He was appointed Group Manager: Management Services in 2005 and went on to lead the CSIR’s
Shared Services portfolio as a Group Executive from 2007. He is also a former Chairperson of the Board of the South African Quality Institute.

Dilip Kalyan

Dilip Kalyan

Chief Financial Officer

Dilip Kalyan qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1988. Shortly thereafter, he joined the SA Clothing Industries as a Proactive Accountant where he quickly moved up through the ranks and was appointed Group Financial Director in 1997; a position which he held for 11 years. He was then headhunted to join a startup multi-national engineering company where he was appointed Financial Director responsible for group financial responsibilities. Dilip describes himself as results driven; a strong motivator with good business acumen. At AHRI he is responsible for financial planning, financial record keeping, financial reporting, and the management of financial risks.

Kobus Herbst

Kobus Herbst

Chief Information Officer

Dr Kobus Herbst is a public health specialist. In the early 1990s, he contributed to the establishment of the post-apartheid health system through the development and implementation of ReHMIS (Regional Health Management Information System), the first computerised public health care facility inventory in South Africa. Prior to AHRI's formation, Kobus was Deputy Director of the Africa Centre and also led its demographic surveillance programme. As AHRI's Chief Information Officer, Kobus is responsible for ensuring that information governance and management at the Institute supports and enhances our research mission. He is also Deputy Director of the South African Population Research Infrastructure Network (SAPRIN) at the SAMRC, a large investment by the Department of Science and Technology to integrate the three Health and Demographic Surveillance sites in the country into a common population research infrastructure.

Board of Directors

AHRI is governed by a Board of Directors composed of outstanding scientific and global health leaders. The Board meets twice a year and is tasked with reviewing and authorising major institute decisions. Professor Peter Piot currently serves as the Board’s chairman.

Board of Directors

Prof Hoosen Coovadia

Prof Hoosen Coovadia

Professor Hoosen (Jerry) Coovadia is an Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health and Emeritus Victor Daitz Professor of HIV/Aids research at UKZN. Prof Coovadia was chairperson of the Mandela government’s first Commission on Maternal and Child Health to design appropriate policies for a new country. He also has had major interests in pursuing justice, democracy, development and freedom during and after apartheid. He headed the largest International Aids Conference to be brought to South Africa and has done much research on prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV. Prof Coovadia has published more than 327 papers on maternal child health.

Ms Faith Kobo

Ms Faith Kobo

Ms Faith Kobo is an accomplished South African risk management professional with over 18 years of industry experience in corporate governance, risk management and compliance. She has substantial experience in public sector risk management and has worked in the office of the Accountant-General at National Treasury. She is an associate member of the Institute of Risk Management South Africa and founding CEO of Kobzit Consulting (Pty) Ltd. Ms Kobo is a certified Sangoma and Traditional Medicine Practitioner. She is also pursuing a degree in African Traditional Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Dr Simon Kay

Dr Simon Kay

As Head of International Operations and Partnerships at Wellcome Trust, Dr Simon Kay leads Wellcome's efforts to build biomedical and health research capacity in Africa and India. Dr Kay has expertise in charitable and not for profit international governance arrangements, and in capacity building in Lower and Middle Income Countries. He is also a Governor at Ardingly College in West Sussex, a Trustee of the Malaria Consortium, a Director of the Africa Research Consortium for Health (ARCH) in Kenya and a member of the Partners' Group which provides governance oversight to the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA).

Prof Nelson Sewankambo

Prof Nelson Sewankambo

Professor Nelson Sewankambo is a Professor of Internal Medicine and former principal of Makerere University College of Health Sciences, an external member of US National Academy of Medicine, a Fellow of African Academy of Sciences, and TWAS. Prof Sewankambo was among the first scientists to publish data on Aids in Africa and is a researcher of the Rakai Health Sciences program, founded 30 years ago. He has served on numerous local and international advisory committees and Boards. These include the Working Party on the Ethics of Clinical Research in Developing Countries of the Nuffield Council for Bioethics, the Joint Learning Initiative, the WHO African Advisory Committee on Health and Research Development, and the Board of the International Clinical Epidemiology Network.

Prof Carol Gross

Prof Carol Gross

Professor Carol Gross is a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and Cell and Tissue Biology at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Prof Gross studies bacterial gene control and gene circuits.

Prof David Lomas

Prof David Lomas

From August 2015, Professor David Lomas has served as the Vice-Provost (Health) at University College London. Previously, he was Dean of UCL Medical Sciences and Chair of Medicine, a position he held since the start of 2013. An outstanding clinician scientist, Prof Lomas was also a Professor of Respiratory Biology in the University of Cambridge and Honorary Consultant Physician at Addenbrooke’s and Papworth Hospitals, and Deputy Director of the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research.

Prof Deresh Ramjugernath

Prof Deresh Ramjugernath

Professor Deresh Ramjugernath is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). He is also a Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Co-Director of the Thermodynamics Research Unit at UKZN. Prof Ramjugernath is a member of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa, a Fellow of the South African Academy of Engineers, a Fellow of the African Academy of Science, as well as a Fellow of UKZN.

Scientific Advisory Board

AHRI’s Scientific Advisory Board, chaired by Prof. Janet Darbyshire, is composed largely of international experts in HIV and TB research. It meets semi-annually to advise the Director and the science programmes at AHRI.

Scientific Advisory Board

Prof Janet Darbyshire

Prof Janet Darbyshire

Chair

Professor Janet Darbyshire has had and continues to have an outstanding career in Epidemiology. Her work has had a major impact on world health, starting with her involvement and design of clinical trials in the epidemiology, effect of treatment and prophylaxis in tuberculosis, particularly in Africa. Since her appointment as Director of the UK MRC Clinical Trials Unit and in her position of Professor of Epidemiology at UCL, she has taken the lead in working with the National Cancer Research Network in applying clinical trials for the improvement of cancer management in the UK.