Prof Theresa Rossouw - SAIS President
Prof Theresa Rossouw is a professor and head of the Immunopathology laboratory in the Department of Immunology at the University of Pretoria. She is a clinician scientist and has a double PhD, one in Immunology and one in Philosophy. She is an NRF-rated scientist and mainly works in the field of HIV and related infections where she is specifically interested in HIV-associated drug resistance and systemic immune activation. She is a member of the World Health Organization’s Research and Innovation Working Group, HIVResNet, as well as various scientific committees, including the Southern African HIV Clinician Society. She also has a keen interest in biomedical ethics is currently the chairperson of the Human Sciences Research Council’s Research Ethics Committee as well as the deputy-chairperson of the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Health Sciences’ Research Ethics Committee.


Catherine Worsley - SAIS Vice President
Catherine Worsley is a joint appointment principal medical scientist and senior lecturer in the Department of Immunology at the University of Pretoria/NHLS. She is involved in teaching, research and diagnostics. Her PhD topic is looking at immunology in the tumour microenvironment. She has also worked in the private sector, and was a laboratory manager responsible for diagnostic testing of haematological malignancies, immunological disorders and transplantation. Her other interests include immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, immunology, molecular biology, infectious and non-communicable diseases and evolutionary biology. She is also responsible for supervising post graduate students as well as training registrars, scientists and technologists.


Committee members


Gauteng:

melindasuchard

Dr Melinda Suchard, MMED(Clin) - Past President
Dr Melinda Suchard obtained her MBBCh degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2000 after which she obtained her MMED and FCPath qualifications in clinical pathology. Since 2013 she heads the Centre for Vaccines and Immunology at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases with a joint appointment to Chemical Pathology, University of the Witwatersrand.

Dr Suchard is a ministerially appointed member of the National Advisory Group on Immunization and the National Polio Expert Committee and has attended meetings of the World Health Organisation in Geneva for polio and measles. Dr Suchard’s prior experience includes running a diagnostic laboratory for renal transplantation. She currently chairs the Expert Committees of the National Health Laboratory Service. The focus of her research is immune tolerance, particularly related to infectious diseases such as HIV and Tuberculosis. Her research group is investigating host biomarkers for Tuberculosis and improved methods for monitoring T cell immunity.


Dr Heena Ranchod, PhD – Treasurer
Heena Ranchod is a Research Scientist at the Centre for Vaccines and Immunology, National Institute of Communicable Diseases, with a joint appointment as a Lecturer at the Department of Chemical Pathology, University of the Witwatersrand. She is currently involved in research focused on investigating host biomarkers for Tuberculosis. Heena holds a BSc in Biochemistry and Physiology from the University of the Witwatersrand, a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry, and an MSc & PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Pretoria. Upon completion of her PhD degree, conducted a year of post-doctoral training at the University of Kansas, USA. Her primary research interests are in TB with emphasis on improving the diagnostics and therapeutics of the disease as well as exploring host responses. Her secondary interests includes HIV/AIDS as burden of TB-HIV coinfection in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa is prominent. In her role as a lecturer, Heena teaches basic Immunology to post-graduate students within the Health Sciences faculty of the University of the Witwatersrand.


Simone Richardson
Simone is currently a Senior Scientist in the Antibody Immunity Research Unit of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Her research focuses on the role of Antibody function in HIV, COVID-19 and Influenza infection and vaccination and the improvement of HIV broadly neutralizing antibody function for passive immunization. She holds the prestigious L’Oreal/UNESCO South African Women in Science Award and has held two Bill and Melinda gates fellowships that supported her training at the Ragon Institute of MIT, Harvard and MGH as well as Dartmouth College. She is an early career fellow of both the HIV Vaccine Trials Network and the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She is passionate about science communication and was recognised this year as a vaccine luminary by the UK government for her partnership with Team Halo to cartoon vaccine concepts and dispel vaccine hesitancy.

* City: Johannesburg
* Designation: Communications and social media portfolio


Dr Luyanda Kwofie
I am a Senior Medical Scientist in the Department of Immunology, National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) with a joint appointment as a Lecturer and Research Specialist at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Immunology, University of Pretoria. I am actively involved in lecturing undergraduate and postgraduate students and responsible for laboratory training of scientists and medical students. My role extends to the co-supervision of MMed and PhD students. I am also involved in HPCSA accreditation and monitoring intern medical scientists in training and involved in the examination of intern medical scientist portfolios. Currently, my research is focused on transplantation immunology and diagnostic procedures to optimize compatibility matching as well as identifying novel methods for assessing donor/recipient compatibility in renal transplantation. In addition, I have represented the Immunology Expert Committee (EC) as a member of a working group involved in the reviewing of the NHLS national handbook as well as a member of the subcommittee of the EC chairs looking at regulating the NHLS Oracle procurement. I am a Board member of the South African Immunology Society, SANAS technical assessor and a member of the SAIS 2021 conference organizing committee.


Western Cape:

Dr Clive Gray, PhD - Past President
Prof Clive Gray is Head of Division of Immunology at the University of Cape Town, Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine and Department of Pathology, with a joint appointment to the National Health Laboratory Service. He holds a Faculty positions as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Immunology, Duke University, North Carolina, USA. Prof Gray’s early research was in transplantation immunology and understanding allo-recognition and innate immunity in solid organ transplantation. Subsequently, he moved into HIV/AIDS research, seeing this as a priority in the South African context. He was awarded the prestigious James Gear Fellowship in 1995, which allowed him to work at the Center for AIDS Research at Stanford University as a Post-doctoral Fellow. Since then he has been actively involved in the scientific agenda of vaccine development in South Africa including directing a SAAVI and HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) southern African Central Immunology Laboratory at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. He has published over 90 papers on various aspects of the immune system. Since moving to UCT, his research has shifted to understanding how HIV exposure impacts on immune checkpoint balance in infants and mucosal/epithelial tissues. He has a keen active interest in implementing novel teaching and learning strategies around immunology and is the creator of Immunopaedia (www.immunopaedia.org), originally funded by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation International Leadership Award. He is the vice chair of the Clinical Immunology Committee of the IUIS and works closely with the Education Committee around devising regional immunology workshops in Africa.


One Dintwe
One Dintwe received her PhD in Clinical Sciences at the South African TB Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) from the University of Cape Town in 2014. She has a background in TB immunology. As a doctoral fellow at the South African TB Vaccine Initiative, at the University of Cape Town, she carried out research to understand the role that memory T cells play in protecting against TB disease. Her work provided novel immunological tools to characterize the memory phenotype and function of TB antigen-specific CD4+ T cells after vaccination and in infection.

In 2015, she joined the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) and leads the endpoints team studying cellular immune responses to HIV and TB vaccines. Her team works on HIV clinical trial endpoints using the intracellular cytokine staining assay to determine which vaccines to take further in clinical trials. One has also worked on TB vaccine trials within the organization, one in infants and another trial in adolescents that was designed as an experimental medicine trial to allow us to do a comprehensive profile of the immune responses after vaccination with three TB vaccines with the aiming of informing the work to be done on the larger Aeras 040-40 prevention of infection trial, should an efficacy signal be found. As co-investigator on these studies she has worked with the team that laid the groundwork for the proposed research by developing assays that would allow us to gain as much information about the potential correlates of prevention/risk and established strong ties with the TB research community to ensure the work we did was of the highest standard and was relevant to the field.

One has molecular and flow cytometry assay skills, experience in clinical trials and the application of ISO15189 quality management standards in a research laboratory setting.  One retains a Staff Scientist position at Fred Hutch Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division.


Sabelo Hadebe
I am a Senior Lecturer in immunology and a researcher at the University of Cape Town, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences. I did my PhD at the University of Aberdeen (UK) under Prof Gordon Brown, FRS. My PhD was funded by CIDRI-Africa and University of Aberdeen College studentship. I did my first Post-Doctoral training at the Francis Crick Institute, formerly MRC National Institute of Medical Research (UK) under Prof Anne O’Garra, FRS. I returned to South Africa after being awarded a Robert Bosch Fellowship as part of a brain gain programme under mentorship of Prof Brombacher. I was then recruited by Division of Immunology as a Group leader and Lecturer in 2018, where I am currently based. I lead Allergy Research Group which is composed of postgrad students at all levels. My main research focus is on allergic asthma and eczema. I investigate mechanisms of allergic disease establishment, maintenance and resolution using in vitro systems, transgenic and gene knockout experimental models. I collaborate across Faculty and outside the country with fellow basic scientists and clinicians to find new targets and biomarkers for allergic diseases. So far I have been funded by Medical Research Council and National Research Foundation. I am passionate about teaching immunology and convene both undergraduate and postgraduate courses at UCT. Since 2021, I have been nominated to be part of DHET Future Professors Programme.