Kondwani obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Technical Education from the University of Malawi in 2004 and a Master of Science in Human Immunity in 2006 from the University of Liverpool. He was then awarded the Commonwealth PhD Scholarship in 2007 and obtained a PhD in Tropical Medicine (Immunology) in 2011 from the University of Liverpool. His PhD included establishing the first Experimental Human Pneumococcal Carriage model in the UK, as well as investigating compartmentalisation of immunity and impact of HIV on lung immunity.
Upon completion of the PhD, he joined the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme (MLW) as a postdoctoral scientist and helped develop the MLW Immunology Laboratory.
He later pursued his second postdoctoral training at Cornell University (USA), investigating HIV infection of alveolar macrophages. In 2015, he was awarded the prestigious International Wellcome Intermediate Fellowship and returned to MLW to establish his research group.
Recently, Kondwani has been awarded the prestigious MRC/DFID African Research Leader Fellowship.
My research group based at the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme (MLW) focuses on viral and mucosal immunology.
HIV persistence in the lung and gut mucosa
The group wants to understand why HIV survives in the gut and lung mucosa in presence of relatively large number of CD8+ T cells, as well as during suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART). For this, our research is focusing on understanding the phenotype, function and regulation of CD8+ T cells in the mucosa. It also focuses on understanding survival of HIV-infected alveolar macrophages, as an important reservoir for HIV. These studies involve collection of lung samples by bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage, and collection of gut samples by duodenal biopsies.
Host susceptibility to the pneumococcal infection and carriage in low-income settings
ART-experienced HIV-infected adults are at an increased risk to pneumococcal pneumonia and have higher pneumococcal carriage rates than healthy adults. Our group seeks to understand the host and bacterial factors that promote persistence of pneumococcal carriage and disease in adults. It also seeks to elucidate the impact of persistent pneumococcal carriage in adults on emergence of antimicrobial resistance and transmission. Furthermore, we and others have successfully established a method of inducing pneumococcal carriage in Malawi to inform vaccine development.
The group is at the fore-front of COVID-19 immunological research at MLW, and will continue to be actively involved in future pandemics, in order to support national efforts on epidemic management. Our group has set up two cohorts, healthcare workers and community, to monitor the trajectory of the COVID-19 epidemic in urban Malawi. We are interested in determining the temporal changes in seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in Malawi, as well as defining the cellular and soluble factors associated with protective immunity against severe COVID-19.
PhD students supervised
1. Tinashe Nyazika (LSTM)
2. David Mhango (LSTM)
3. Chikondi Malamba (University of Liverpool)
1. Dr Elena Mitsi (LSTM)
2. Dr Herbert Longwe (University of Malawi-College of Medicine)
Kondwani is MLW Training Lead and Co-Chair MLW/CoM Training Committee and Member of the Strategy Group, NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Mucosal Pathogens