Prof. Theresa Rossouw (MBChB, PhD)

SAIS President

Theresa is a professor in the Department of Immunology at the University of Pretoria (UP), South Africa. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) cum laude from Stellenbosch University. She then completed two Masters’ degrees, both cum laude (Master’s in Philosophy – Biomedical Ethics – Stellenbosch University, and Master’s in Public Health – Epidemiology and Biostatistics – UP) and two doctoral degrees (PhD Philosophy, Stellenbosch University, and PhD Immunology, UP). She worked as the clinical head of the HIV clinic at Pretoria Academic Hospital from 2005 and then as HIV consultant for Tshwane district from 2014, after which she transitioned into research as Head of the Immunopathology Laboratory in the Department of Medical Immunology at UP in 2016. She mainly works in the field of HIV and related infections where she is specifically interested in HIV-associated drug resistance and systemic immune activation as well as the impact of COVID-19 on people with immunodeficiency. She is a member of the World Health Organization’s Research and Innovation Working Group, HIVResNet, as well as various scientific committees, and is the current president of the South African Immunology Society. She also has a keen interest in ethics. She is the co-chairperson of the Research Ethics Committee (REC) of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Pretoria and the immediate past chairperson of the REC of the Human Sciences Research Council. She is an NRF-rated scientist and received the silver medal from the South African Medical Research Council, a scientific merit award in recognition of excellence in research, in 2023.

Dr Sabelo Hadebe (PhD)

Vice President

Sabelo is a senior lecturer in Immunology and a researcher in the Department of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He completed his PhD at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) and his first post-doctoral training at the Francis Crick Institute, formerly MRC National Institute of Medical Research (London). He returned to South Africa after being awarded a Robert Bosch Fellowship in 2017. He joined the Division of Immunology in UCT in 2018 as a group leader and lecturer in 2018, where he is currently based. He leads the Allergy Research Group which is composed of postgraduate students. His main research focus is on allergic diseases and infection. He investigates mechanisms of allergic disease from inception to resolution using in vitro systems, transgenic and gene knockout experimental models. His interest is expanding more towards translation of basic science. He is funded by the SA Medical Research Council and National Research Foundation. He is also passionate about teaching Immunology and convenes both undergraduate and postgraduate courses at UCT. In 2021, he was nominated to be part of DHET Future Professors Programme. He has spent some time on sabbatical research leave in Bristol focusing on the genetics of allergic diseases in humans.

Dr Luyanda Kwofie (PhD)

SAIS Treasurer

Luyanda is 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. She is actively involved in lecturing undergraduate and postgraduate students and is responsible for laboratory training of scientists and medical students. Her role extends to the co-supervision of MSc and PhD students. Luyanda is also involved in HPCSA accreditation and monitoring intern medical scientists in training and involved in the examination of intern medical scientist portfolios. Currently, her 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, she has represented the Immunology Expert Committee (EC) as a member of a working group involved in reviewing of the NHLS national handbook. She is also a member of the subcommittee of the EC chairs looking at regulating the NHLS Oracle procurement system. She is an executive member of the South African Immunology Society, SANAS technical assessor, and a member of the SAIS 2021 conference organizing committee.

Nancy is a lecturer and researcher in molecular medicine in the HIV Pathogenesis Research Unit, the Department of Molecular Medicine and Haematology, School of Pathology, University of the Witwatersrand. Her research interests lie in evaluating potential HIV-1 immunogens in preclinical settings. Prior to this, Nancy spent five years in HIV research, mapping antibody specificities in the sera of individuals living with HIV-1. To pursue this, she left a promising career at a start-up Biotech company (KapaBiosystems) as she believes that a focus on public health issues was a better career choice. Nancy received her PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand, an MSc from the University of Cape Town and her Bachelor’s with distinction from Boston University. While her studies and career have spanned three continents, Africa is her home as she strives to see healthcare and education strengthened as well as diversity and equity established here. Nancy has co-authored multiple peer-reviewed articles in international journals and she is devoted to supervising and mentoring the next generation of scientists and academics. Her multilingual and culturally-rich heritage makes her an excellent candidate for bridging the gap in knowledge discrepancy by increasing exposure of the STEM disciplines in resource-limited settings and by fighting the all too prevalent vaccine hesitancy.

Dr Nancy Lola Meulenberg (PhD)

Simone is currently a senior scientist in the Antibody Immunity Research Unit of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and 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’Oréal/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.

Dr Simone Richardson (PhD)

Prof. Clive Gray (PhD)

Clive 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 (, 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 received her PhD in Clinical Sciences at the South African TB Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) from the University of Cape Town in 2014. As a doctoral fellow at SATVI, 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 that is studying cellular immune responses to HIV and TB vaccines. Her team works on intracellular cytokine staining assays 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 in adolescents, that were designed as an experimental medicine trial to allow comprehensive profiling the immune responses after vaccination with three TB vaccines. The aim of this work is to inform 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 them to gain as much information about the potential correlates of prevention/risk. She also established strong ties with the TB research community to ensure that their work 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.

Dr One Dintwe (PhD)

Dr Deepthi Raju Abraham Currently heads the clinical services of the Pediatric Rheumatology and Immunology unit within the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Tygerberg Hospital and Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch university.

Dee is a skilled and inquisitive clinician with an insatiable scientific curiosity. She possesses excellent teaching, organizational and problem solving skills, combined with the proven leadership ability to make decisions, negotiate and explore novel ideas and execute them and work co-operatively with others. She is a protagonist by nature and a positive and effective optimist in action. She believes she is fortunate to have two perspectives when dealing with patients and their conditions, being a lupus warrior herself. She is a wife and a mother of two children. Living with Lupus has helped give her purpose more clarity and help her acknowledge that every moment in life is an act of faith. There is currently a growing prevalence and increasing awareness of rare inborn errors of immunity and other common acquired and congenital immunology disorders and very few clinical paediatric immunologists in the country to care for them. Awareness of immune health and illness has become an invaluable skill in the midst, and aftermath, of a pandemic. Dee sees joining SAIS as an opportunity to embark on a new milestone in her career, which will bring invaluable experiences that will allow her to become a successful, innovative professional and assist her in accomplishing her future goal of training Immunologists for and in South Africa. She is hoping to prove that one can chase ones dreams despite all odds and that by being a lupus warrior, she can survive this condition on her terms by rising and raising others in the process.

Dr Deepthi Abraham MB ChB, FC (Paed), MMed (Paed),Fellowship Paed Rheumatology, PhD candidate(Stellenbosch University)