HIV Pathogenesis Programme (HPP) Masters student Funsho Ogunshol was recently awarded a Masters degree summa cum laude by the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Ogunshol was supervised by Ragon faculty member Dr. Zaza Ndhlovu.
In recognition of this exceptional achievement, Ogunshol has also been awarded a full PhD scholarship by Sub-Saharan Africa Network for TB/HIV Research Excellence (SANTHE), funded by the Welcome Trust to pursue a PhD under the supervision of Dr. Ndhlovu.
Funsho Ogunshola joined Dr. Zaza’ Ndhlovu’s group as a Masters student at HPP in Durban, South Africa in 2013. His research project was to characterize the inhibitory activity of CD8+ T cells targeting identical epitope presented by closely related class I HLA molecule.
In the process of his research, Ogunshola discovered that some T cell receptors (TCR) of HIV-specific CD8+ T cells restricted by a protective MHC class I B*8101 allele can cross recognize epitopes presented by MHC B*4201 alleles. This discovery has important implications for HIV vaccines designed to induce broad cross-reactive CTL responses.
Image above: Funsho Ogunshola (l) and Dr. Ndhlovu (r).