Ndhlovu Recognized by CAVD as Early Career Investigator

Ndhlovu Recognized by CAVD as Early Career Investigator

Mar 31

This month, Ragon Institute Instructor Zaza Ndhlovu, PhD was recognized by the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD) for significant contributions to research conducted within the CAVD.


The Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD) is an international network of scientists and experts dedicated to designing a variety of novel HIV vaccine candidates and advancing the most promising candidates to clinical trials.   The CAVD provides funding for a range of innovative strategies aimed at designing an effective HIV vaccine. The program is designed to foster collaboration among researchers to speed up the communication of results and the sharing of ideas.  As part of this collaboration, the CAVD recognizes two early career investigators monthly.  Dr. Ndhlovu was nominated for this honor by Dr. Bruce Walker,  CAVD Principal Investigator and Director of the Ragon Institute.  The honor includes recognition on the CAVD website, a letter of appreciation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and an opportunity to present research on an upcoming CAVD Online Data Forum.


Dr. Zaza Ndhlovu’s studies seek to understand the mechanism by which rare people who are able to control viral replication in the absence of therapy (elite controllers) achieve long-term asymp-tomatic infection. Dr. Ndhlovu and his colleagues have made significant discoveries about key features of HIV-specific killer T lymphocyte subsets that are able to inhibit viral replication and drive immune escape in elite controllers; characterizing these T cell subsets is crucial to the development of T cell based vaccines for HIV and other infectious agents. In addition to contributing vitally to vaccine science, he also conducts scientific reading and grant writing workshops for African scientists at various African Universities.


Dr. Ndhlovu is an Instructor at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, Assistant in Immunology at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Honorary Faculty member at the University of KwaZulu Natal HIV Pathogenesis Programme. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology from Johns Hopkins University and received his Post-Doctoral training from the Ragon Institute in the laboratory of Dr Bruce Walker. He has recently set up his lab at the University of KwaZulu Natal’s Nelson Mandela School of Medicine, HIV Pathogenesis Programme.


Currently, as part of the CAVD led by Dr. Bruce Walker, Dr Ndhlovu leads the collection and processing of longitudinal samples from individuals with acute HIV-1 infection in Durban South Africa. He uses these samples to investigate the dynamics of cellular immune responses in acute HIV infection and to define the ontogeny of HIV-specific CD4+ T cell responses and their relationship to the establishment of bNAbs.