Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu recently received a medal of service on the National Labour day celebrations at Kololo Independece Grounds in Kampala. The celebrations were presided over by the President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. The event was attended by various government officials where 50 medals were awarded to 50 outstanding persons in the country of whom 13 were female and 37 males. The awardees included; long serving officials, civilians, police, prisons and members from UPDF.
Professor Kaleebu receiving medal at Kololo
Prof. Kaleebu(left) hosting members of parliament at UVRI and giving them a tour of the laboratories.
The journey of Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu has been diverse and did not begin yesterday and this is a brief about the seniour researcher that will give more insight on why he received a medal of service on the Naltional Labour day celebrations at Kololo Independece Grounds in Kampala.
Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu is the Director of the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), the largest Government research institution dealing with diseases of viral aetiology of public health importance. UVRI hosts many international partners and is the national reference laboratory for HIV testing and quality assurance and the HIV drug resistance. UVRI hosts the World Health Organisation (WHO) measles and rubella regional reference laboratory and the WHO Inter-country polio laboratory; viral heamorrhagic fever national and regional labs, the human influenza reference lab and recently designated the WHO Yellow fever reference laboratory in the region.
Kaleebu is also the Director of the Medical Research Council (MRC)/UVRI and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) Uganda Research Unit, an MRC UK Unit which is part of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The Unit is a multidisciplinary research organisation conducting research on HIV, emerging and re-emerging infections and non-communicable diseases. Within the Unit, he heads the Pathogen Genomics, Phenotype and Immunity Programme. He is co-founder of the UVRI-IAVI HIV Vaccine Programme and its founding Director. He is a Professor of immunovirology at the LSHTM in the Department of Infection and Immunity.
He trained as a medical doctor at Makerere University, Kampala and later obtained a diploma and PhD in immunovirology of HIV. He leads many studies ranging from basic science studies, epidemiological to intervention trials. He trains and mentor students and researchers from different parts of Africa. He is the overall coordinator of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) East African Network of Excellence and co-leader of the African Partnership on Chronic Disease Research. He represents Uganda at the EDCTP General Assembly.
He is a Fellow of Imperial College London, Faculty of Medicine and a Fellow of Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (FRCP Edin). He sits on a number of national and international committees including chairing the National HIV drug resistance Technical working group of the Ministry of health and leads the national reference laboratories for HIV drug resistance.
His main research interest over the years has been in the area of understanding protective immune responses that could lead to the development of an HIV vaccine, molecular epidemiology of HIV and HIV drug resistance. He was one of the investigators in the first HIV vaccine trial conducted in Africa. He has authored and co-authored more than 230 publications in international scientific reviewed journals.