Research themes

Research jpeg

Starting 2017, Unit research is based on a thematic approach in order to maximise cross-programme fertilisation and to create more opportunities for synergy of skills in the pursuit of the Unit goals. Following internal and external consultations, leadership activities and delivery of science were restructured to three themes. Theme leaders provide overarching strategic leadership to the research programmes within the themes, thereby ensuring there is collaboration and added value. The Programmes within or across the themes will address specific research questions.

Thematic approach

We introduced a thematic approach to our research in order to maximise cross programme fertilization and to create more opportunities for synergy of skills in the pursuit of the Unit goals. At the advice of SAC last year, we revised our themes to the following; 

  1. HIV and Emerging Infections
  2. Vaccines and Immunity
  3. Chronic Diseases and Cancer
HIV and emerging infections

Head of Theme: Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu

Key questions addressed:

  1. What are the characteristics of the HIV epidemic in general and in high risk populations that hinder meeting National and UNAIDS targets?

  2. What are the best ways to deliver ART and HIV prevention tools and can new tools for prevention be found?

  3. What are the epidemiological, biological and genetic mechanisms of the interaction between HIV infection and non-communicable diseases?

  4. What are the emerging and re-emerging infections of public health importance?

  5. How can we prevent and manage emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases?
Vaccines and immunity

Head of Theme: Professor Alison Elliott

Key questions addressed:

  1. Can we develop and test effective vaccines for the major endemic and emerging/re-emerging infectious diseases that afflict sub-Saharan Africa?

  2. What are the drivers and mechanisms of population differences in vaccine responses?

  3. How can we intervene to optimise vaccine efficacy for low-income, tropical settings?
Chronic diseases and cancer

Head of Theme: Professor Moffat Nyirenda

Key questions addressed:

  1. What is the scale of, and forecast for, the chronic diseases and cancer in Africa, and who will be most affected?

  2. Are the physiology of, and risk factors for, African chronic diseases and cancer similar to those in high income countries?

  3. How can we intervene to stem the African chronic diseases and cancer?