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 asymptomatic infection. 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; characterising these T cell subsets is crucial to the development of T cell based vaccines for HIV and other infectious agents. Ndhlovu is an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Immunology at Massachusetts General Hospital and a Senior Lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal HIV Pathogenesis Programme. He also conducts scientific reading and grant writing workshops for African scientists at various African Universities.
Ndhlovu received his PhD in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology from Johns Hopkins University and his post-doctoral training at the Ragon Institute in the laboratory of Dr Bruce Walker. His lab at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Nelson Mandela School of Medicine, HIV Pathogenesis Programme, 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.