MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, Uganda
Sheila Nina Balinda is an Assistant Professor/Senior Scientist (molecular virologist) at the Medical Research Council/Uganda Virus Research Institute (MRC/UVRI) and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) Uganda Research Unit. In 2001, she completed her degree in biochemistry at Makerere University in Uganda and was later a Chevening scholar in applied molecular microbiology at Nottingham University, UK, graduating in 2005. In 2011, Sheila attained a doctorate in molecular virology from Makerere University and, soon after, joined the research team at Joint Clinical Research Centre Uganda as project manager for HIV-1 drug resistance studies.
Her postdoctoral research was funded by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) under its Vaccine Immunology Science and Technology for Africa (VISTA) project and she contributed to the initial characterization of HIV-1 transmitted founder viruses of subtypes A, D and A/D in Uganda. She is a recipient of the SANTHE “path-to-independence” and the IAVI/Investigator-Initiated Research (IIR) capacity-building awards in which several Master of Science students are mentored. The IIR award is collaborative with Eunice Ndauti at KEMRI, Kilifi.
Sheila leads a team of Ugandan researchers developing and characterizing a novel adenovector for vaccine development funded by the government of Uganda. She is currently part of the virus surveillance team that will inform priority immunogens for vaccine development and bnAB prevention approaches targeted to specific populations in Africa and India.