Professor Pontiano Kaleebu

Head - Pathogen Genomics, Phenotype and Immunity Programme

MRC/UVRI/LSHTM Unit in Uganda

I am the Director of the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and Director of MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit.

The UVRI is the largest Government Research Institution in Uganda dealing in health research pertaining to human infections and disease processes associated with or linked to viral etiology and is host to a number of partner organizations including those funded by US CDC, US NIH, MRC-UK and IAVI, as well as national and regional reference laboratories. The MRC Unit is one of the two MRC-UK Units outside of the United Kingdom and is a multidisciplinary programme studying the HIV epidemic in rural and urban settings, emerging and re-emerging infections and non-communicable diseases. He heads the Pathogen Genomics, Phenotype and Immunity Programme of the Unit.

The Unit became part of LSHTM in 2018.


Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases
MRC - Uganda


I hold a medical degree from Makerere University and a PhD from Imperial College, London. I am a professor of immunovirology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Department of Infection Biology; a Fellow of Royal College of Physicians-Edinburgh and a Fellow of Imperial College London, Faculty of Medicine.


As UVRI Director, I sit on the top and senior management of the Ministry of Health. I lead a number of national and regional networks including the EDCTP East African Networks of Excellence. I am a co-Director of the African Partnership for Chronic Disease Research (APCDR) and co-director of the Uganda Medical Informatics Center (UMIC); a computational resource offering data storage and analysis capacity. I also chair the national HIV drug resistance Technical working group under the Ministry of Health and a member of the National Antiretroviral Treatment committee.

Research Area
Health policy
Public health
Disease control
Disease and Health Conditions
Chronic disease
Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)

Selected Publications

Examining oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) literacy among participants in an HIV vaccine trial preparedness cohort study.
Chimukuche RS; Kawuma R; Mahapa N; Mkhwanazi S; Singh N; Siva S; Ruzagira E; Seeley J; PrEPVacc Study Group
BMC health services research
Uganda Genome Resource: A rich research database for genomic studies of communicable and non-communicable diseases in Africa.
Fatumo S; Mugisha J; Soremekun OS; Kalungi A; Mayanja R; Kintu C; Makanga R; Kakande A; Abaasa A; Asiki G
Cell genomics
A large population sample of African HIV genomes from the 1980s reveals a reduction in subtype D over time associated with propensity for CXCR4 tropism.
Grant HE; Roy S; Williams R; Tutill H; Ferns B; Cane PA; Carswell JW; Ssemwanga D; Kaleebu P; Breuer J
High-resolution African HLA resource uncovers HLA-DRB1 expression effects underlying vaccine response: summary statistics
Mentzer A; Dilthey A; Pollard M; Gurdasani D; Karakoc E; Carstensen T; Muhwezi A; Cutland C; Diarra A; da Silva Antunes R
Short-term oral pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV-1 modulates the transcriptome of foreskin tissue in young men in Africa.
Petkov S; Herrera C; Else L; Lebina L; Opoka D; Seiphetlo TB; Pillay A-DA; Mugaba S; Namubiru P; Odoch G
Frontiers in immunology
Contribution of PEPFAR-Supported HIV and TB Molecular Diagnostic Networks to COVID-19 Testing Preparedness in 16 Countries.
Romano ER; Sleeman K; Hall-Eidson P; Zeh C; Bhairavabhotla R; Zhang G; Adhikari A; Alemnji G; Cardo YR; Pinheiro A
Emerging infectious diseases
QuasiFlow: a Nextflow pipeline for analysis of NGS-based HIV-1 drug resistance data.
Ssekagiri A; Jjingo D; Lujumba I; Bbosa N; Bugembe DL; Kateete DP; Jordan IK; Kaleebu P; Ssemwanga D
Bioinformatics advances
See more Publications