Dr. Roma Chilengi
Principal Investigator/EDCTP Senior Fellow
Dr. Roma Chilengi is a Zambian physician, epidemiologist and vaccinologist, and the Chief Scientific Officer at CIDRZ. He leads the Enteric Disease and Vaccines Research Unit, in which capacity he serves as Principle Investigator on several competitive research grants, and supervises a motivated and growing team of early-career investigators. He led the Programme for Awareness and Elimination of Diarrhoea, a province-wide pilot program that promoted hygienic behaviours and improved case management of diarrhoea in Lusaka, Zambia, and piloted the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine into the national immunization program, which has since scaled nation-wide. He now leads the assessment rotavirus vaccine effectiveness and evaluation of the population level impact of rotavirus vaccines in Zambia.
Dr. Chilengi has extensive experience conducting vaccine clinical research and field trials in low to middle-income countries, with a research career that has spanned roles as study physician on clinical studies in Zambia while at Tropical Diseases Research Centre; as the sponsor-based central study manager for malaria vaccine trials while at the African Malaria Network Trust in Tanzania; and as head of clinical trials facility at the University of Oxford/KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, Kenya. He has been highly active in development of research capacity across Africa through various efforts such as supporting clinical trials site capabilities to undertake GCP trials, and was involved in setting up the first human malaria challenge trial in Africa.
He currently holds an adjunct faculty position as Assistant Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, and an honorary lecturer appointment at the University of Zambia School of Medicine.
Natasha Makabilo Laban
EDCTP PhD Student/Wellcome Trust International Training Fellow
Natasha is a Research Fellow and PhD candidate within the Enteric Disease and Vaccines Research Unit at the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), involved in a range of immunological, molecular and field studies of enteric pathogens and human host immune responses to vaccination. She holds a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Zambia (2011) and an MSc in Control of Infectious Diseases from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2016).
Natasha is currently pursuing her PhD in immunology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as a Wellcome Trust International training Fellow. Her present research interest and the focus of her doctoral training is on profiling and characterisation of innate and adaptive cellular and humoral immune responses to rotavirus vaccination among Zambian children, contributing towards increasing knowledge and understanding of the observed poor rotavirus vaccine immunogenicity in lower and middle-income countries.
PostDoctoral Research Fellow
Caroline Chisenga joined the Enteric Disease and Vaccines Research Unit in 2016 as a post-doctoral fellow under the Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research for Equity (SHARE) project. Dr. Chisenga earned an MSc in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Ulster in Ireland, and a PhD in immunology from the University of Zambia, under the supervision of Professor Paul Kelly of the Tropical Gastroentorology and Nutrition Group (Tropgan), and Queen Mary University, London, demonstrating novel regeneration of some T-cell subsets following initiation of ART in malnourished AIDS patients.
Dr. Chisenga’s current work includes investigating how the immune system responds during enteric challenge, and exploring immunological challenges relating to vaccines.
Katayi Mwila-Kazimbaya has been a research fellow at the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia since 2014. Her main research interests are in diarrhoeal aetiology and the rotavirus vaccine. Her current work is focused on in investigating the factors that contribute to reduced efficacy of the rotavirus vaccines in low and middle income countries. Ms. Mwila-Kazimbaya obtained a BSc in Biochemistry and Biotechnology, and an MSc. in Biochemistry from Rhodes University in South Africa, as well as Epidemiology and Medical Statistics from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is currently getting her PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Zambia, studying how maternal factors in breast milk contribute to this reduction in vaccine efficacy.
John Mwaba is a Research Fellow at the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ). He graduated from the University of Zambia with BSc in Biomedical Sciences and went on to pursue MSc in Molecular Medical Microbiology from University of Nottingham (UK).
John previously worked as a research scientist for the multi-centre study “The Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health”-PERCH, which aimed at determining the causes of pneumonia in children less than five years old. He was also a research microbiologist for the first ever Oral Cholera Vaccine Effectiveness study in Zambia during the 2016 cholera outbreak.
Under the mentorship of Dr Roma Chilengi, John is currently working on determining specific immune responses elicited following vaccination with Oral Cholera Vaccine (Shanchol) in Zambian population.
Michelo Simuyandi is the lead laboratory scientist in the Enteric Disease and Vaccines Research Unit, with experience in oral cholera and rotavirus vaccines. His primary training is in infectious disease control. He obtained an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Zambia, and a Master’s degree in molecular and cell biology from the University of Cape Town. He is currently completing a PhD from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Before joining CIDRZ, Michelo worked for the Tropical Gastroenterology and Nutrition research group as laboratory manager and scientist, undertaking gastroenterology and nutrition research focused on mucosal immunology, treatment and prevention of diarrhoea through oral vaccines and adjuvants – (to improve oral vaccine responses in developing countries. His current research focus is developing a human challenge model for enteric vaccines to accelerate enteric vaccine development for LMICs.