Dr Eunice Nduati

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Dr Eunice Nduati

Principal Investigator

Focus of research group: HIV immunology

Biography

Upon completion of my PhD training, I was awarded a Wellcome Training Fellowship to determine whether exposure to HIV antigens or to an altered cytokine environment in utero alters the developing immune responses in HIV-exposed but uninfected infants. In parallel determined immune responses to childhood vaccines in HIV infected children. In 2017, I was awarded a fouryears mid-career research fellowship through the Initiative to develop African Research Leaders (IDEAL) – DELTAS programme. This fellowship supported my work to understand cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the generation of antibodies with relevant functions in HIV infection. During this time, I established collaboration with the International AIDS vaccine Initiative (IAVI) which is currently supporting my programme of work to characterize B cell responses and monoclonal antibodies to inform HIV vaccine design. We are specifically interested in understanding differences in population immune baselines by characterizing the naïve B cell repertoire and HIV-antigen specific precursors in African populations. In addition, establishing immunogenicity testing frameworks for HIV vaccine studies. We are currently preparing for B cell and monoclonal antibody characterization for the G003 Clinical Trial that aims to use a germline targeting approach to elicit desired VRC01 class of antibodies. In addition, we are supporting immunogenicity testing (IFNg ELISPOTs) for the GREAT clinical trial (conserved Mosaic HIV-1 phase 1 Trial). As part of our research capacity strengthening agenda, I am actively involved in student supervision (interns, MSc students and Ph.D. students), mentorship and teaching immunology courses. Under the SANTHE consortium, on which I am a co-applicant, we recently received funding from the DELTAS-AESA programme and BMGF to support capacity building in the next four years.  

Links

Appointments:

Adjunct lecturer at Pwani University, Kilifi; member of the SANTHE Consortium Steering Committee.  

On-going collaborations:

Internal: Dr. Francis Ndungu. External: Dr. Daniel Muema - Kenya AIDS Vaccine Initiative – Institute of Clinical research (KAVI-ICR), Prof. Thumbi Ndungu - University of Kwa Zulu Natal – Africa Health Research Institute, Dr. Devin Sok/Elise Landais - Scripps Research Institute – Neutralizing Antibody Centre, Prof. Penny Moore - National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), South Africa. 

  • Eunice W Nduati, Mathew J Gorman, Yiakon Sein, Tandile Hermanus, Dansu Yuan, Ian Oyaro 1 , Daniel M Muema, Thumbi Ndung'u, Galit Alter, Penny L Moore. Coordinated Fc-effector and neutralization functions in HIV-infected children define a window of opportunity for HIV vaccination. AIDS 2021 Oct1;35(12):1895-1905  
  • Sutton HJ, Aye R, Idris AH, Vistein R, Nduati E, Kai O, Mwacharo J, Li X, Gao X, Andrews TD, Koutsakos M, Nguyen THO, Nekrasov M, Milburn P, Eltahla A, Berry AA, Kc N, Chakravarty S, Sim BKL, Wheatley AK, Kent SJ, Hoffman SL, Lyke KE, Bejon P, Luciani F, Kedzierska K, Seder RA, Ndungu FM, Cockburn IA. Atypical B cells are part of an alternative lineage of B cells that participates in responses to vaccination and infection in humans. Cell Rep 2021 Feb 9;34(6):108684 
  • Racheal Aye, Henry J. Sutton, Eunice W. Nduati, Oscar Kai, Jedida Mwacharo, Jennifer Musyoki, Edward Otieno, Juliana Wambua, Philip Bejon, Ian A. Cockburn, Francis M. Ndungu. Malaria exposure drives both cognate and bystander B cells to adopt an atypical phenotype. Eur J Immunol. 2020 Mar 29. doi: 10.1002/eji.201948473. [Epub ahead of print] 
  • Musimbi ZD, Rono MK, Otieno JR, Kibinge N, Ochola-Oyier LI, de Villiers EP and Nduati EW. Peripheral blood mononuclear cell transcriptomes reveal an over-representation of down-regulated genes associated with immunity in HIV-exposed uninfected infants. Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 2;9(1):18124. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-54083-4. 
  • Muema, D.M., Macharia, G.N., Olusola, B.A., Hassan, A.S., Fegan, G.W., Berkley, J.A., Urban, B.C., and Nduati, E.W. (2017). Proportions of circulating follicular helper T cells are reduced and correlate with memory B cells in HIV-infected children. PloS one 12, e0175570. 

Group research description:

Our group focuses on understanding host immune responses to HIV infection with an overall aim of informing vaccine development and interventions.

  • James Chemwemo- Laboratory Technician - Supports clinical trial immunogenicity testing and antibody functional analysis.
  • Yiakon Sein- Assistant Research Officer - Support B cell characterization and antibody functional analysis.
  • Sharon Awuor- Assistant Research Officer - Support B cell characterization and antibody functional analysis.
  • Michelle Muthui- Postdoctoral Research Fellow - Support B cell characterization and antibody functional analysis.