Lerato Ndlovu

SANTHE Post-doctoral Fellow

Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI), Durban, South Africa


Characterising the impact of HIV co-infection on inflammation and anti-Mtb antibody responses in subclinical TB

Collaboration Interests
  • Gene signatures as biomarkers of TB disease progression
  • Impact of gut microbiome of progression from early-stage TB to clinical TB
  • Science literacy/photovoice CPE

Lerato Ndlovu hails from Estcourt, a rural community in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa, and was inspired by the “CSI” TV series to pursue studies in biological sciences. She obtained a PhD in Laboratory Medicine from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) where she identified biological signatures of early tuberculosis (TB) treatment response with the goal to one day shorten TB treatment to less than six months. However, her work addressed identified TB cases and not the important challenge of finding and treating people with asymptomatic or early-stage TB which accounts for ~60-80% of TB cases. As a result, Ndlovu, who is also an INSIGHT Fogarty Post-doctoral Fellow, is now interested in characterising the full spectrum of TB disease to increase the identification and diagnosis of “missing” TB cases and contribute to eradicating TB particularly in communities with high HIV-prevalence. Outside the lab, she is passionate about community and public engagement (CPE), especially science literacy and its role in eradicating infectious diseases. As such, Ndlovu has been awarded numerous grants which have allowed her to share her research with the general public, including an African Academy of Sciences grant to improve science literacy among high school learners in rural KZN; an Ethox/AHRI grant focussing on understanding the ethical considerations associated with mandatory vaccinations and their impact on the work environment; and a “Falling Walls Foundation: Female Science Talents Fellowship” aimed at accelerating career development and leadership skills.

SANTHE is an Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) flagship programme funded by the Science for Africa Foundation through the DELTAS Africa programme; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Gilead Sciences Inc.; and the Ragon Institute of Mass General, MIT, and Harvard.