Sharon Khuzwayo

Phone Number: 
+27 (0)31 260 4942

Sharon Khuzwayo

Trainee Type: 

Sharon Khuzwayo is currently working on a project that focuses on an evolutionarily conserved, semi-invariant population of immune cells – Mucosal Associated Invariant T (MAIT) cells that are enriched at the site of tuberculosis infection, the lungs.  The cells found at this mucosal site have been shown to be phenotypically different from those found in peripheral blood suggesting different functions at these sites. During her PhD, Khuzwayo will be characterising MAIT cells from the peripheral blood and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid of individuals who are latently and actively infected with TB.  She hypothesises that this will reveal varying subsets of MAIT cells at these different biological sites. These subsets may prove to not only be phenotypically different but also functionally different, and she is interested in identifying those lung-resident MAIT cells that are best able to assist macrophages in controlling Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection. Khuzwayo hopes her findings will have implications for the development of future vaccines and therapies.