Research-for-Cure Academy

Edward Nelson Kankaka

Nationality: Ugandan
Institution: Rakai Health Sciences Program
Country of work: Uganda

What is your motivation for engaging in HIV cure and remission research?

My primary motivation for engaging in HIV cure and remission research is close relatives living with HIV who hope for a cure. From my work, I know there are many others like them with similar hopes. Second, there is an expertise gap in this area in sub-Saharan Africa, which is home to nearly two-thirds of people living with HIV. In my current work, I am encouraged by colleagues and collaborators who from their experience acknowledge that universal HIV cure/remission is a challenging task, but strongly believe it is achievable.

What is your current area of research?

My current main work is in the molecular biology of HIV latency and reversal strategies. Specifically, I am a principal investigator on an AMFAR-funded collaborative grant to characterize natural patterns/temporal trends of reservoir formation during the course of viremic infection in a unique cohort of virally suppressed Ugandans (108944-65-RGRL). I am also a collaborator with colleagues studying novel biomarkers and reservoir quantification. We hope to strategically prepare our cohort for major human clinical trials of promising therapies; and to provide peer-mentorship to other upcoming scientists in molecular biology and bioinformatics, as applied to cure/remission research for HIV and similar infectious diseases.