"The amount of knowledge that SATVI personnel have, from the cleaners upwards, is impressive. They know what the aims of SATVI are, what is being done and what the routine is." Thomas Scriba, Senior Research Officer
As Director of SATVI, Professor Willem Hanekom is overall responsible for SATVI's management and strategic direction. He also heads the complementary study programme and immunology of vaccine trials within SATVI. He is a Professor in the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, and in the School of Child and Adolescent Health of the University of Cape Town. He is also Co-director of the Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative (CIDRI), located within the IIDMM as well.He initially qualified as a pediatric infectious disease physician in South Africa and in the US, and then trained in immunology at the Rockefeller University in New York. He returned to South Africa in 2005 to build the clinical immunology research group at SATVI.
Prof. Hanekom has published numerous manuscripts in high impact journals, and has received competitive funding awards from the NIH, the EDCTP, the Dana Foundation and the Pediatric AIDS Foundation. He is the local PI for 2 large consortium grants funded by the Gates Foundation, and for the NIH-funded TB Research Unit. He has served on WHO working groups on clinical tuberculosis vaccinology, and on NIH grant review and safety monitoring committees. He has served as a reviewer for multiple journals. He has received various teaching and research awards, and is currently the President of the Federation of African Immunological Societies.
Prof. Hanekom’s group focuses on delineating human immunological and genetic correlates of vaccination-induced or natural protection against tuberculosis. Further studies aim to further delve into how these newly described correlates may contribute to protection against TB.