Staff profiles


Professor Moffat Nyirenda is the Director of the MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit. He is the Professor of Medicine (Global Non-Communicable Diseases) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and heads the Non-Communicable Diseases Research Theme of the Unit. Before being appointed Director, he worked as the Deputy Director at the Unit.

He has served as the Director of Malawi Epidemiology and Intervention Research Unit. He was Professor of Research at the College of Medicine and Associate Director of the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme. He served as the Director of the Southern Africa Consortium for Research Excellence (SACORE), funded through the Wellcome Trust’s African Institutions Initiative.

Prof Nyirenda holds a BSc in Immunology from the University of London, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (BMMS) hybrid training from the University of London and the University of Malawi, and a PhD in Molecular Medicine from the University of Edinburgh.

His research interests lie in understanding mechanistic clinical and laboratory phenotyping of the etiology of chronic non-communicable diseases, investigating the risk of obesity, diabetes and hypertension in adulthood. Through various publications, he has contributed to genomics studies of NCDs in sub-Saharan Africa. Moffat has a particular interest in research capacity building in Africa.

He leads the Scientific Advisory Board for GSK Africa NCD Open Lab as chaiperson, and is a member of several other committees such as the Wellcome Trust Public Health and Tropical Medicine Interview Committee, MRC Global Health NCD Working Group, Awards Assessment Panel for Africa Research Excellence (AREF), WHO Working Group on the integration of NCDs in other programmatic areas, the Lancet Commission on Diabetes in Africa, and the Non-Communicable Disease Technical Advisory Committee to the Malawi Minister of Health.


Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu is the Director of the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and former Director of MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit. He is a professor of immunovirology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and heads the Viral Pathogens Theme of the Unit.

He holds a medical degree from Makerere University and a PhD from the University of London. He is a Fellow of Royal College of Physicians-Edinburgh, a Fellow of Imperial College London, Faculty of Medicine, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences of United Kingdom, a Fellow of the Uganda National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences. His main research interests are viral vaccine research including understanding protective immune responses in relationship to viral diversity, transmission, and disease progression. He is also actively involved in studies of HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) having led the initial development of the national HIVDR plan.

He has co-authored more than 360 publications in scientific journals and book chapters. He sits on many national and international committees including those of WHO, Africa CDC, USA NIH and EU-EDCTP. He chairs the HIV drug resistance Technical Working group under the Ministry of Health, he chairs the National COVID-19 Laboratory Quality Assurance Committee, sits on the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Committee and COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory committee. He has trained and mentored many students and scientists.

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Alison Elliott is theme leader for Vaccines Research at the MRC/Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit and Professor of Tropical Medicine at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.  Her main research interest is to understand how chronic and repeated infection exposure, and other environmental factors, determine population differences in immune profiles, disease susceptibility and, in particular, responses to vaccines.   

She became interested in parasitology and research in Africa as an undergraduate and this interest was encouraged further by an elective in The Gambia.  After completing medical training she joined the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and, during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, undertook studies on the interaction between tuberculosis and HIV infection in Zambia.  An infectious diseases fellowship in Denver, Colorado, followed, providing an opportunity to learn about management of drug resistant tuberculosis and about laboratory immunology.  This enabled her to plan and conduct subsequent clinical-immuno-epidemiological studies.  Since 1997 she has been based in Uganda at the MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Unit.  Current research programmes include an NIHR Global Health Group on vaccines for vulnerable populations in Africa; an NIH-funded Tropical Medicine Research Center on schistosomiasis, and work on a controlled human infection model for schistosomiasis in the endemic setting.   

Building capacity in infection and immunity research in Africa is a priority and each programme supports students and post-doctoral scientists, building on the work of the Makerere University – UVRI Centre of Excellence for Infection and Immunity Research and Training which she led from 2008-2022.  This supported many fellows, and contributed to the development of a department of immunology and molecular biology at Makerere, and a Masters course, as well as supporting PhD students and senior fellows.


In his role as Chief Operating Office at MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit Jonas ensures that the Unit has the best staff and physical assets as well as robust procedures to conduct world class research that improves health and health equity world-wide. Prior to starting at the Ugandan Unit Jonas was working at MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM as Research Governance & Support Services Manager. This involved oversight and driving operational efficiency of 5 research support departments as well as ensuring the Unit’s research portfolio met international and local regulations and standards and best ethical practice. In line with this he secured EDCTP- funding to support ethics review capacities in Ghana, Ethiopia and The Gambia and is leading the Coast to Coast- Transcontinental Ethics Partnership.

For the coming year Jonas is looking forward to working with Scientists and all Unit staff towards reaching the Unit goal of becoming the leading health research institute in the region. When asked how this will be achieved he says, “We are a research Unit and our strength is in unity across programmes and departments. By working together we will continue to be successful in realising ever more tangible change for people’s health in Uganda, East Africa and the world.”


Monica Badaru was appointed Head of Finance and Deputy Unit Chief Operating Officer in 2022 for MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit after serving as Finance Manager. She has over 15 years of experience in finance and accounting through-out her career in profit and non-for profit organizations with a passion for financial planning and analysis, and artificial intelligence in finance processes.

As the Head of Finance, Monica is responsible for the strategic leadership for the Unit’s finance functions and management of its financial and capital resources. She oversees Budget and Financial planning, financial governance and Reporting, Financial systems development and capacity building, Treasury and liquidity management, Accounts payables and receivables, and staff. As the deputy Unit COO, she assists the Unit Chief Operating Officer to implement continuous operational excellence to support science and research at the Unit.

Monica has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Makerere University, Uganda and a Master of Business Administration degree from Heriot-Watt University, United Kingdom. She also holds certifications with Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA), Certified International Business Leader (CIBL) with IIET, and Cambridge Judge Business School – General Management Programme (GMP)


Professor Eugene Kinyanda is a senior investigator scientist and head of the mental health project at the MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS. He completed his undergraduate studies in Human Medicine at Makerere University and undertook postgraduate training in psychiatry at the same University. He did his PhD at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in the sub-speciality of suicidology. He holds an honorary professor position at the LSHTM in the Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health.

Eugene joined the MRC/UVRI initially as a research manager but later went on to start a mental health project at the Unit. Over the last six years he has undertaken research into the psychiatric and psychosocial complications of HIV/AIDS among adults through funding by DfID (as part of the EfA Consortium) and the European-Developing Countries Clinical Trials Programme (EDCTP; through a Senior EDCTP Fellowship). He is currently undertaking a research project on children and adolescents living with HIV/AIDS through funding from an MRC/DFID African Leadership Award with the Global Centre for Mental Health at LSHTM.

His other research interests include studies into the psychiatric and psychosocial problems of HIV/AIDS orphans, war affected populations, the epidemiology of common mental disorders and studies into the meanings of suicide from an African perspective. This body of work has led to more than 40 publications in peer reviewed journals.


Dr Newton qualified in Medicine in London in 1991, and was subsequently awarded a MRC Research Training Fellowship enabling him to begin a career in epidemiology, initially in Oxford with Dame Valerie Berol FRS and subsequently at the University of York. In 2012, he was seconded to the MRC/UVRI Research Unit in Entebbe, Uganda, where he is the Senior Epidemiologist and Head of the Cancer Epidemiology Group. A major component of his work involves capacity building for cancer research, with responsibility for identifying and developing local talent.

He has more than 30 years of cancer research experience in Africa. His scientific contribution has been to enhance the understanding of the patterns and causes of cancer in sub-Saharan Africa and he has a track record of successfully managing complex research projects on the continent. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Newton conducted a series of cancer studies in Uganda and elsewhere in Africa, that helped to characterise and quantify the key risk factors. More recently, he and others have worked to define the epidemiology of these risk factors in population-based studies, with a view to developing interventions in the future. 


Dr Freddie Mukasa Kibengo is a Senior Scientist and Principal Investigator with the Viral Pathogens and Vaccine Research themes. He completed his undergraduate studies in Human Medicine at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) and post-graduate training in Internal Medicine at Makerere University and in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). He is a Fellow of the Physicians (FCP) of East, Central, and Southern Africa (ECSA). He is also a member of the Uganda Medical Association (UMA), Association of Physicians of Uganda (ASOU), World Federation of Neurology (WFN), and American Society of Microbiology (ASM).

His research interests focus on the epidemiology of infectious diseases, particularly in the fields of early and recent HIV infection, HIV transmission networks, development of HIV and other infectious diseases vaccines, and novel and cost-effective strategies to improve the management of HIV/AIDS-related opportunistic infections (including tuberculosis and cryptococcosis) and other co-morbidities. His other research interests include optimisation of childhood vaccines, HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), and other novel HIV preventive technologies. 



Dr. Deogratius Ssemwanga is a Molecular Virologist with a PhD in Molecular Virology from Makerere University Kampala.  

He is the Head of the Unit’s Sequencing Platform, a national and regional reference laboratory to several viral pathogens and party to the H3ABionet consortium, an African conglomerate of Bioinformaticians dedicated to developing bioinformatics capacity in Africa. He is actively involved in work that is aimed at the development of molecular tools for virus discovery, surveillance, and diagnostics. He has mentored and trained several undergraduate and postgraduate students both locally and internationally and continues to contribute to research capacity building through his work.

Dr. Ssemwanga’s main research areas include the study of the virological and immunological correlates of HIV-1 superinfection, a phenomenon where confirmed HIV infected individuals subsequently become infected with other HIV variants, information that is important to inform vaccine design and development. This work involves the use of next generation sequencing with bioinformatics approaches to determine HIV superinfection and neutralization assays to determine the development of neutralizing antibodies prior to and after superinfection. His other research interests include studies in HIV drug resistance and molecular epidemiology of HIV in Uganda. 



Dr Yunia Mayanja is a scientist working with the HIV Interventions program of the MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit. She holds and medical degree from Makerere University- Uganda and has post graduate training (MPH) from Makerere University. She is currently pursuing doctoral studies at Karolinska Institute – Sweden (2022-2026). The overall aim of the doctoral studies is to improve HIV prevention among adolescent girls and young women in Kampala, Uganda.

From 2012-2019, she led a research team that worked with the first cohort of female sex workers (FSWs) in Uganda (The Good Health for Women Project). The cohort was established to study HIV/ STI epidemiology in this population; she led other studies including HIV vaccine preparedness studies among FSWs and studies investigating Hepatitis B infection. Since 2019, Yunia has been principal investigator on projects among adolescents and young women, funded by IAVI-ADVANCE and EDCTP (TMACDF2016-1574). She is a co-applicant on an on-going project “Universally Accessible Prevention Technologies for African girls and young women through Knowledge applied from behavioral Economics” (UPTAKE); funded by EDCTP2, CSA2018HS-2525 (2020-2024).

Yunia is an ITAPS/ IAVI Alumni who was trained in manuscript writing in 2015 at the University of California, San Francisco, and later as a mentor in 2018. She mentors scientists writing manuscripts for submission to peer reviewed journals.


His current research goal is to apply his expertise in fundamental cellular immunology to the investigation of tuberculosis in Uganda, a setting in which this disease is still highly endemic. In his previous posts, he undertook research into lymphocyte migration and trafficking, studies which were performed in mice and gave him key skills in isolating lymphocytes from tissues, multi parameter flow cytometry and immunofluorescence techniques.

He joined the MRC/UVRI research Unit on AIDS in 2009 and his focus has since changed to human Immunology. He is a named co-investigator and project lead on an MRC funded project to look at whether a latent TB infection in mothers affects their infant’s response to BCG. He is also undertaking other projects like the non-specific effects of BCG in infants and a post-mortem study being piloted at Mulago Hospital collaboration with the Pathology Department to look at the immune response to TB in the tissues, the site at where the infection is.

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Dr Jennifer Serwanga is a cellular Immunologist in the area of HIV/AIDS. She received her PhD training at Murdoch University, Western Australia, after accomplishing a BVM degree at Makerere University, Kampala. She is a scientific leader in Immunology, Basic Science programme where she takes charge of a team that aims to improve understanding of correlates of protection in HIV-1 disease progression, resistance to infection and HIV-1 super infection that will inform relevant vaccine formulation.

She is directly involved in the research activities undertaken by the team, in mentoring their career development, and in providing targeted training to support their undertaken research. The involved research areas include: studies to evaluate alternative reagents for assessing clade A and D cellular responses; screening clade A and D infected populations for correlates of broadly neutralising antibodies; evaluating pre-existing immunity to Adenoviruses to provide information relevant for vaccine design; and defining T-Cell correlates of protection in HIV clade A and D populations.

Dr. Serwanga is involved in developing Immunology capacity in the country by supporting laboratory capacity building, training in the annual ‘Immunology in the tropics’ course and providing methodological support and training in flow cytometry and neutralisation assay procedures. Over the years, she has taken lead in coordinating the Institutional effort to mitigate consequences associated with handling and working with potentially infectious hazardous chemical and biological agents. She currently serves on Ministry of Health advisory panels including the National Infection Control Committee and the National Committee for the Laboratory Containment of Polio.


Dr Sylvia Kusemererwa heads the IPM project at the MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS field station in Masaka. She holds a degree in Medicine and Surgery as well as a Master in Public Health from Makerere University.

She was involved in HIV treatment and care for four years at The AIDS Support Organization. She participated in the Partner’s PrEP study and currently coordinates the Ring Study evaluating the safety and efficacy of a vaginal microbicide.


Dr Rwamahe Rutakumwa is a Post-Doctoral Social Scientist in the Social Science Research Programme. He holds a baccalaureate in Social Sciences from Makerere University, as well as a MSc. and a PhD in Rural Sociology from the University of Alberta, Canada. His research background is in the area of poverty and health, public policy in the developing world, and how structural forces at national and global levels interface to impact the incidence of and efforts to alleviate poverty.

In the 11 years prior to joining the MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS, Rwamahe was involved in multiple social science and health research projects and has authored/co-authored various publications. Though his current research cuts across the three thematic areas of the Social Science research program, he is especially interested in structural drivers of HIV and other illnesses.


Harriet is a clinician and epidemiologist whose main research interest is investigating the causes of the increasing prevalence of asthma and other chronic inflammatory diseases in developing countries. She obtained her Master’s degree (Epidemiology) and PhD training from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

She joined the MRC Unit in 2003 to work with the Entebbe Mother and Baby Study (EMaBS). She took an active role in aspects of EMaBS investigating the relationship between worm infections and allergic conditions, and has published in this area. She is currently a Wellcome Trust fellow investigating the risk factors associated with asthma among children in Uganda, with emphasis on chronic immune-modulating infections such as worms and malaria. With colleagues within the Co-infections Studies Programme, she is interested in the possible therapeutic role of worms in the management of asthma and other chronic inflammatory diseases.


Agnes Ssali is a senior social scientist at the MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit and Research Fellow in the department of Global Health and Development at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). She has been with the Unit since 2003. She trained at Makerere University for her Bachelor’s (SWSA) and Master’s (Social Sector planning and Management). She holds a post graduate diploma in public health from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Her doctorate in International Development was obtained from the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the United Kingdom. Her doctoral research was on the informed consent process in HIV clinical trials in Uganda; an area she continues to pursue in research and intervention projects.

She has been engaged in social and behavioural research on HIV, including looking at the social aspects of health and livelihoods of research volunteers, for over twenty years. She led on an intervention project supported by PEPFAR through CDC for four years. The project targeted the reduction of HIV in a key population of female sex workers, their male regular sexual partners and children in Kampala, the Uganda MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Research Unit was one of the implementing partners in the Kampala region. In addition to HIV research, she is currently working with a multi-disciplinary team targeting to research on how to control schistosomiasis in Uganda through a controlled Human Infection study which would contribute to vaccine development for the control of the infection in Uganda and elsewhere. Agnes is also involved in vaccine confidence research in maternal vaccine research being conducted in Kampala under the Makerere University John Hopkins collaboration (MUJHU). She is a mentor and supervisor of research students in the social science discipline.

As a behavioural scientist she continues to conduct research and contribute to several collaborative research projects within the MRC Unit and with collaborating research partners. She has experience in strategic planning. Her major areas of research interest are HIV and the ethics of the conduct of biomedical research and exploring potential interventions for vulnerable populations in both rural and urban communities. She served on the Uganda Virus Research Institute Research and Ethics Committee (REC) for 3 years. She is a member on the Compassion International Uganda board and a board member of AIDS Information Centre. She is a member of the Mengo hospital ethics research committee. 


Sarah Kizito is an Administrator with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management attained from Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi. Sarah Kizito has also trained in various courses like Strategic Office Management and Administration from Global Focus Training Group in Nairobi; Effective Financial Accounting from Modern Management Institute, Nairobi; Management Skills Development and Effective Supervision and Management from TACK Training Institute, Nairobi.

Sarah has worked as an administrator at the MRC/UVRI/LSHTM Uganda Research Unit field station in Masaka district since February 1994. She supervises all administrative and support staff at the Station and Act as the first point of contact on any Human Resources matters. Sarah also coordinates the station’s fleet and finance management using Microsoft Dynamics and Navision.

She is passionate about ensuring that the Masaka field station is managed as a platform for scientific projects to run successfully through the effective and efficient use of resources. 


Dr Femke Bannink Mbazzi is an Associate Professor at the International Centre for Evidence in Disability (ICED) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), based in Uganda, where she heads the Disability Research Group at the Unit. The Disability Research Group consists of East African researchers, including persons with disabilities, who develop and implement African disability research.

She studied clinical and educational psychology and cultural anthropology in The Netherlands and Belgium. She moved to Uganda in 2003 where she has worked as a clinician and researcher since. Her research focuses on disability inclusion and mental health. She is passionate about developing evidence based culturally appropriate health and education interventions with persons with disabilities through participatory and co-creative research.

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Dr Ubaldo M Bahemuka is a Clinical Epidemiologist at the Medical Research Council/Uganda Virus Research Institute & London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Uganda Research Unit.

He is also a member of the Lake Victoria Consortium for Health Research. Most of his work at the unit is focused on understanding the epidemiology and prevention of HIV and STI’s in Uganda especially within high risk populations such as; fisher folk, sex workers and HIV discordant couples among others.

His work interest areas are centred around clinical trials to assess safety and efficacy of HIV prevention technologies such as HIV vaccines.

His work has also contributed significantly to the clinical assessment of trials on HIV prevention strategies such as; HIV vaccines, Vaginal microbicides, PrEP, STI treatment and socio-behavioural change interventions.

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Ludoviko is a Clinical Research Scientist and Palliative care Physician. He holds a medical degree from Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania, MSc internal medicine and an MPH from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He is currently pursuing a staff PhD at the LSHTM in Vaccine epidemiology focusing on how biological determinants such as malaria affect vaccine responses and susceptibility to infections such as SARS-CoV-2.

Before joining the Unit in July 2018, he served at Hospice Africa Uganda for nine years as a palliative care medical doctor prior to becoming the Director of Clinical Services. Ludoviko supported health policy and advocacy efforts in Uganda and other African countries. He also supported training of health workers at undergraduate and post graduate levels in Uganda at the Institute of Hospice and Palliative care in Africa that is affiliated to Makerere University.  

At the Unit, Ludoviko has led the POPVAC clinical trials programme and observational research in the field of vaccines. His research area of interests are population differences in vaccine responses, Non-specific (beneficial) effects of vaccines and clinical palliative care research.

Ludoviko is married to Diana and together, God has blessed them with three children Darian Luke, David Lewis and Davin Levi.

Florence Nambaziira Muzaale

Head of Clinical Diagnostics and Laboratories and Biobanking Platform



Mrs. Muzaale is a medical laboratory scientist by training with a master of science in emerging and neglected infectious diseases from the University of Edinburgh UK. She is currently the Head of the Unit’s Clinical Diagnostics and Laboratories and Biobanking Platform.

Mrs. Muzaale has over sixteen years of experience in managing laboratory clinical diagnostics service delivery across several key disciplines including hematology, microbiology, molecular and clinical chemistry. She has been at the forefront of technical teams at the Joint Clinical Research Center (JCRC) and Nakasero Hospital, in Uganda.

Her specialty over the years has included research work, clinical trials, safety testing, and clinical diagnosis for infectious and non-communicable diseases. She is currently managing clinical diagnosis and safety testing for over 10 studies and clinical trials at the Unit.


Dr Gyaviira Nkurunungi

Senior Scientist

Gyavira Nkurunungi jpeg

Dr. Gyaviira Nkurunungi holds a PhD in immuno-epidemiology (2016-2019) and an MSc in immunology (2013-2014) from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. His PhD focused on immunological mechanisms of helminth-allergy associations in rural and urban Uganda, with an emphasis on antibody studies.1,2,3 Earlier in his career, he contributed to work on childhood tuberculosis infection, describing utility of interferon-gamma release assays in Ugandan children, at the time hailed as the ‘100-year upgrade’ in TB diagnosis.4

Currently, Dr. Nkurunungi leads the immunology team on an MRC UKRI-funded programme of Ugandan trials assessing population differences in vaccine-specific responses.5 His EDCTP-funded preparatory fellowship (2021) and Wellcome-funded early-career training fellowship (2022-2025) use samples from these trials, and cutting-edge wet lab techniques and integrative computational approaches, for studies aimed at unravelling biological predictors of vaccine response. He is also the immunology work package lead on the NIH-funded Uganda Schistosomiasis Multidisciplinary Research Centre, which aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of the biological drivers of severe schistosomal morbidity.

His major research focus is on the immunomodulating effects of chronic infections on communicable and non-communicable diseases, and on vaccine immunogenicity and effectiveness.

1Clin Exp Allergy 2019;49(5): 663-676

2Clin Exp Allergy 2021;51(5): 703-15

3Allergy 2021; 76(1):233-46

4PLoS One 2012;7(10): e47340

5BMJ Open 2021;11(2): e040425

CPA Julius Kakaire

Senior Accountant

Julius Kakaire

CPA Julius Kakaire serves as the Senior Accountant of MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit. Julius has over Eight years of experience in Finance and Accounting for nonprofit and profit organization settings.  He has exposure in managing the entire full accounting cycle and first hands-on working experience with local and international partners. He recognizes and appreciates the complexities around managing financial resources and strives to achieve organizational objectives in an effective, efficient, and transparent way.

As a finance person, Julius is responsible for preparing budget-based reports, implementation of system controls, cash management and he is an agent for positive changes. He further acts with high integrity, professional behavior and does his work with a lot of professional skepticism.

Julius is a Certified Accountant, a member of the Certified Public Accountant of Uganda. (ICPAU) and holds a master’s degree in business administration from Makerere University.

Mariam Nanteza

Head of the Research Support Office,

Mariam Nanteza

Mariam Nanteza is a grant management specialist, she joined MRC on 8th May 2017 with over 8 years of experience in Financial Management, Grants Management, and administrative roles. She is a qualified Accountant, a Fellow of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants-ACCA, and also a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda-ICPAU, with a Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Management (PGDFM) and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA), currently pursuing a Doctorate of Business Administration.

Ms. Nanteza has served both Development and Research organizations in different capacities. She started her career as an Administrative Officer, she also worked as a Finance officer, Grants Officer, and Senior Grants coordinator before joining MRC/UVRI&LSHTM Uganda Research Unit as a Senior Grants Officer.

In her current role as the Head of the Research Support Office, she writes policies and leads the assessment and management of departmental risks. She also coordinates the sourcing and circulation of funding opportunities to staff, oversees the grant application pre-submission approval processes, and facilitates contract/ MTA/ confidentiality agreement negotiations. On a monthly basis, she updates the Unit Management and Heads of Departments about the general operation of the Research Support Office and summarizes the status of applications, awards, and pipelines as well as oversees fund monitoring, preparation, and submission of donor financial reports for over 100 donor-funded projects among other responsibilities.

Dr Joseph Mugisha Okello

Head - General Population Cohort Platform,

Joseph Mugisha

Dr. Joseph Mugisha is a clinical epidemiologist with an MSc in Clinical epidemiology and Biostatistics from Makerere University, a doctorate in epidemiology and population health from the University of London, at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a post-doctorate from the University of Missouri, Columbia USA. Dr. Mugisha also trained and qualified as a medical doctor from Mbarara University of Science and Technology, and prior to his research career, he practiced medicine at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital.

At the MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, Dr. Mugisha heads the General Population Cohort Platform (GPC), which is a one stop center for population-based studies. Since 2016, he has been involved in surveys on disability to assess the prevalence of functioning difficulties under a number of domains and to look at needs of assistive devices among people with functioning difficulties.

Dr. Mugisha’s research interest lies in the health and wellbeing of older people in low- and middle-income countries, and how NCDs and HIV impact on ageing. He has previously led a cohort study of older people living with and without HIV in Uganda. Also, his PhD thesis focused on the epidemiology of anemia among old people in rural Uganda and how anemia impacts on functioning in older people. 

Dr Sheila Nina Balinda

Assistant Professor/Senior Scientist,

Sheila N Balinda

Dr. Sheila Nina Balinda, BSc, MSc, PhD is a Molecular Virologist at the MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, with vast experience in One Health. She is part of the virus surveillance team, whose research work will inform priority immunogens for HIV-1 vaccine development and bnAB prevention approaches targeted to specific populations in Africa and India.

In 2001, Sheila completed her degree in biochemistry at Makerere University in Uganda and was later a Chevening scholar in applied molecular microbiology at Nottingham University, UK graduating in 2005. In 2011, Dr. Balinda attained a doctorate in molecular virology from Makerere University studying foot & mouth disease virus. Dr. Balinda then joined the research team at Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) Uganda as project manager developing low-cost HIV-1 drug resistance tests for adult and pediatric cohorts. She completed her postdoctoral research funded by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) under its Vaccine Immunology Science and Technology for Africa project (VISTA). This work contributed to the initial characterization of HIV-1 transmitted founder viruses of subtypes A, D and A/D in Uganda. Further, Dr. Balinda is a recipient of the SANTHE “path–to–independence” and the IAVI/Investigator initiated Research (IIR) capacity–building awards in which several graduate Master of Science Students were mentored.

Dr. Balinda now leads a team of Ugandan researchers developing and characterising a novel adeno–vector for vaccine development, funded by the Government of Uganda.

Dr Anne Kapaata

Post-Doctoral Scientist,

Anne Kapaata jpeg

Anne Kapaata (BSc, MSC, PhD) is currently a post-doctoral scientist at MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, with over a decade’s experience working with HIV-1 viruses. She is currently working on the virus surveillance project where she is identifying HIV-1 Unique transmission signatures associated with HIV-1 transmission to inform immunogens for HIV-1 vaccine development.

In 2005, Anne completed her degree in Biomedical laboratory technology at Makerere University in Uganda and later in 2012 completed her MSc in Biomedical Laboratory sciences and Management at Makerere University. In 2022, Dr Kapaata attained a doctorate in Molecular Virology from Makerere examining genotypic and phenotypic Characterization of HIV-1 transmitted/founder viruses and their effect on cytokine profiles and disease progression among acutely infected Ugandans. Dr. Kapaata Joined the MRC/UVRI & LSHTM unit in 2006 as a laboratory technologist where she worked on several HIV-1 laboratory-based projects and her role was to design and execute the laboratory aspects of these studies.

Dr. Kapaata is a recipient of the recent IAVI/Investigator initiated Research (IIR) capacity-building award where she is mentoring MSc students and exploring the use of next generation sequencing methodologies to improve HIV-1 incidence estimation in the population.

Dr Patrice Mawa

Senior Scientist


Dr. Patrice Mawa is a biomedical scientist with interest in immunology of infection and vaccines. He holds a PhD in immunology from University of London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), United Kingdom.

Through postdoctoral Fellowships from European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) and MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, Dr. Mawa is currently studying immune responses to infection and treatment of Schistosoma mansoni in preschool-aged children to inform development and deployment of vaccines and immunotherapy against schistosomiasis.

Patrice is a member of the Uganda National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (UNITAG), and serves on various committees at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), including Research Ethics, Training and HIV/AIDS committees.

Dr Andrew Abaasa 

Head of Statistics and Data,



Dr. Andrew Abaasa is a certified Medical Statistician with expertise in Medical Statistics, Epidemiology and population health and a Doctorate from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom. Dr. Abaasa has over 15 years of research experience in applied Medical Statistics, largely working in Africa with European and Northern American partners. His career in Medical Statistics and Epidemiology is built on three pillars; simplicity (use of less statistical theory when communicating with non-statisticians), conciseness, and mentorship (helping others in need of med stat knowledge).

Dr. Abaasa leads statistics and data teams at the MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit in the design, conduct and analysis of data of randomised controlled trials and other epidemiological studies. His major research interest is in the design, conduct and analysis of RCTs in the era of widespread use of active controls in the HIV preventions field.

Nicholas Bbosa

Assistant Professor / Scientist,

Nicholas Bbosa jpeg

Dr. Nicholas Bbosa is a Virologist by training with a PhD in Molecular Virology from Makerere University. He is currently a scientist and project leader at the MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit and an Assistant Professor of at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK.

Nicholas completed a Postdoctoral fellowship at the MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit in 2021 where he investigated the Molecular Epidemiology of HIV transmission in key and general population groups in Uganda. He has also undertaken several fellowships in pathogen genomics big data analysis at the University of Oxford (UK), University of Edinburgh (UK) and Imperial College London (UK).

His research interests focus on the use of next generation sequencing, molecular phylogenetics, pathogen phylodynamics, infectious disease models and bioinformatics to understand disease transmission networks, with the goal of informing epidemic response. He is currently involved in SARS-CoV-2 genomics and viral pathogen discovery studies.

Dr Moses Egesa

Research Fellow/Senior Scientist .                  


Moses Egesa

Dr Moses Egesa is a Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, an Honorary Senior Scientist at the MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Unit and an Honorary Senior Research Officer at the Uganda Virus Research Institute. He received his Ph.D. (Parasite Immunology) from Makerere University (2020). For a decade, Dr Egesa works on the immunology of schistosomiasis. His overarching research goal is to contribute to the development of effective vaccines for schistosomiasis. In February 2023, he co-chaired the First Uganda Schistosomiasis Symposium held in Entebbe, Uganda.

He is an EDCTP Career Development Fellow (2020-2023) characterizing protein and glycan epitopes recognised following controlled and natural human infection with Schistosoma mansoni in an endemic population. The EDCTP fellowship builds on his people-centric contributions as the Project Leader (PRINCE2 certified) for the Wellcome-funded programme “Establishing a single sex S. mansoni controlled human infection model for Uganda”. He is a co-investigator on various local and international collaborative schistosomiasis research grants from NIH, HIC-Vac network, GCRF and EU’s Horizon 2040.  

Dr Egesa achieved the status of Fellow of the Higher Education Academy UK (2023) after successfully completing the Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching (University of London). He teaches MSc and MMED students at Makerere University and supports student learning at the LSHTM. 


Nicholas Nsubuga

Unit Quality Manager


Nicholas serves as a Unit Quality Manager at the MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda research Unit. He has over 10 years’ experience in Quality and Risk management, strategic planning and monitoring in nonprofit organizations.

In his current position, Nicholas is responsible for overseeing and facilitating the continuous improvement of Quality across all areas of Unit activity, managing the Unit’s Quality Management Systems (QMS), Risk management, conducting and supporting  internal external audits and maintaining a functional and well documented framework of policies and procedures.

Nicholas is a member and a fellow with the International society of quality in healthcare-ISQua and holds a Master’s degree in Monitoring and Evaluation.