An internationally regarded clinical trial team

A team of over 100 individuals are employed at the Clinical HIV Research Unit. Diverse in both race and gender, the team includes well recognised scientists, principal investigators and medical officers, study coordinators, healthcare workers and range of other professionals who work across the clinical, counselling, data management, finance and administration, governance, pharmacy, quality assurance and regulatory departments.

Together, they bring some two decades of experience to the Unit and have contributed significantly to the scientific agenda and public health policy in South Africa and internationally.  They also ensure that the Unit meets international ethical and scientific quality standards for the design, conduct, performance, monitoring, auditing, recording, analyses and reporting of its clinical trials.

Professor Ian Sanne

Ian Sanne is divisional head at CHRU. He is a South African born infectious diseases doctor who has been involved in HIV and TB research since qualifying as internist in 1996. Since 2003 he has led the Wits HIV Research Group Clinical Trials Unit, and from 2003-2012 led the Adult Treatment Research Site. His current leadership role in the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) is as the international vice-chair. Here, he is responsible for overseeing the network’s research at 25 international sites in 13 countries and assisting in the prioritization of the agenda.

The focus of his research attention is an integrated program of HIV and TB research from prospective phase I-IV clinical trials, conducted predominantly through international collaborations with the NIH, EDCTP, Global TB Alliance and the Medical Research Council of South Africa. The key focus in the ACTG collaboration is prospective research to inform diagnostic, prevention and treatment interventions to optimize the diagnosis and treatment of HIV and tuberculosis. At the intersection of clinical care, and clinical trial administration, he will continue to provide administrative expertise to the ACTG leadership from his experience as the founding director and chief executive officer of Right to Care.

He also serves as founder and principal investigator of EQUIP—the first African-led global consortium to deliver rapid scale-up of innovative HIV treatment and prevention solutions across 18 PEPFAR countries. With support from USAID, EQUIP is working closely with country stakeholders including ministries of health, USAID country missions and local implementing partners to strengthen healthcare systems, rolling out Test & Start, viral load scale-up, self-testing and evaluating cost-outcomes. Through implementation science and operational research, EQUIP is enabling countries to expedite their reach to the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets by reaching and meeting the needs of all those affected, particularly those at greatest risk of HIV.

View the full bio-sketch here.

 

Dr Sharlaa Badal-Faesen

 

Dr Badal-Faesen qualified as a medical doctor in 1991. She has been working CHRU, one of the largest HIV and TB research units in South Africa, since2004 and is affiliated to the Department of Medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand.

She has experience working on Phase I to Phase III IND studies. Dr Badal-Faesen has identified a career objective of conducting research in HIV and related conditions specifically related to resource limited settings. She is also interested in HIV and TB prevention strategies because of the high burden of HIV and TB in South Africa.

View the full bio-sketch here.

Dr Francesca Conradie

Dr Francesca Conradie is the clinical research study leader at the Thusong Clinic at the Sizwe Tropic Diseases Hospital in Johannesburg and is a joint appointee with Wits University where she is a lecturer.

She has participated in drug trials, operational research including the CIPRA project 1, and pivotal prevention research as part of the HPTN052 clinical trial study team. Dr Conradie assisted with writing the CIPRA protocol and was involved in the implementation of this project at the Perinatal HIV Research Unit. In 2004, she was appointed president of the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society.

Since 2009, Dr Conradie has turned her attention to TB research. She is involved in clinical trials of new strategies for the treatment of Multidrug Resistant TB including Phase IIa/b trials for TMC 207, a novel agent for MDR treatment. Dr. Francesca Conradie has been involved in the use of bedaquiline for the treatment of Drug Resistant TB (DR TB) since the earliest registrational trials of this medication. She helped establish the bedaquiline Clinical Access Programme (BCAP) for the South African National Department of Health, supported by Janssen.

Dr Conradie sits on the National Clinical Advisory Committee, headed by the National TB Programme, and has developed guidelines for bedaquiline eligibility.  She has played a key role in ensuring a cohort of some 12 000 South Africans are on bedaquiline. In early 2018 she was approached by USAID to work on a programme to Beat TB in South Africa.

Dr Pauline Howell

Dr Pauline Howell is a senior medical officer and investigator at CHRU. Based at the Sizwe Tropical Diseases Hospital in Johannesburg her focus is on clinical management and clinical research within the field of HIV and Tuberculosis.

Pauline is the principal investigator of several multidrug and extensively drug resistant TB studies, notably the Nix-TB and ZeNix trials. She also works on the TB Union study STREAM, other TB Alliance trials and IMPAACT paediatric TB trials. Pauline attained her medical degree from the University of the Witwatersrand and holds a post-graduate diploma in HIV Management.

She has been working in this field for the last 6 years. Pauline is a member of the Gauteng local government provincial committee for the bedaquiline rollout, and worked extensively on the bedaquiline Compassionate Access Programme.

She is responsible for managing the CHRU unit at Sizwe. She has recently become a mentored investigator on the IMPAACT TB scientific committee and is assisting with the development of new protocols.

 

Dr Nosipho Ngubane

Dr Nosipho Ngubane is a Principal Investigator at CHRU, located at the King Dinuzulu Hospital in Sydenham, Durban. She holds a national Diploma in Analytic Chemistry, a BSc Honours in Chemistry and an MBChB from the Medical University of South Africa (MEDUNSA).

Before joining CHRU in 2017, she worked at King Edward V11 Hospital in Durban, the national Department of Health and then the Medical Research Council (MRC). She is involved with Phase 3 open-label trials assessing the safety and efficacy of bedaquiline plus PA-824 plus linezolid in subjects with pulmonary infection of either extensively drug-resistant (XDR-TB) or treatment intolerant/ non-responsive multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

Dr Mohammed Rassool

Dr Mohammed Rassool is an investigator at CHRU and deputy division head. He is a medical doctor and holds a joint appointment in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Wits University.

Dr Rassool has been part of CHRU since 2006 and has experiences in Phase I to III investigational new drug studies. He has over ten years of experience in conducting clinical research and treatment of HIV, TB and associated co-morbidities.

Dr Jaclyn Ann Bennet

Dr Jaclyn Ann Bennet holds an MBBCh from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Diploma in HIV Management from the College of Family Physicians of South Africa.

She works in HIV/TB research at the Clinical HIV Research Unit (CHRU) where she started working in 2016 after completing her community service at Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital. Here, she was involved in paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology while managing HIV positive patients.

She also worked as an intern medical doctor at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital. She is currently a sub-investigatoron a variety of ACTG and commercial clinical trials and the Principal Investigator on a study investigating a second line antiretroviral regimen.

She has a significant interest in optimising research through the use of technology and is focused on combining technology and medical research to improve both the efficiency and accuracy of data collection.

Dr Noluthando Mwelase

Dr Noluthando Mwelase holds an MBCHB from the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine in Durban and a Diploma in HIV Management.

She worked at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital from 2002 until 2008 and at Addington Hospital until 2010 when she joined CHRU as a sub investigator.

She is involved in several HIV and TB clinical trials at CHRU, and has published ten articles in key peer-reviewed journals.

Dr Nokuphiwa Mvuna 

Dr Nokuphiwa Mvuna Degree holds an MBCHB from the University of Cape Town.

She completed her medical internship at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital and her community service at St Andrews Hospital, where she worked as a medical officer from 2014 to 2016.

She joined CHRU in 2016 as a sub-investigator. She is involved in several clinical trials at CHRU.

Dr Victoria Parker

Dr Victoria Parker has always had a keen interest in HIV medicine and completed a Diploma of HIV Management through the College of Family Physicians of South Africa in 2018.

She joined CHRU in January 2019 and works as a sub-investigator on a variety of ACTG and commercial clinical trials focused on HIV, TB and hepatitis.

She has a special interest in the development and implementation of new 2nd and 3rd line ARV medications, used to treat drug resistant HIV. She completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery) from the University of Cape Town in 2015.

Coreen Barker

Coreen Barkeris head pharmacist at CHRU. She is the pharmacist of record (PoR) and responsible pharmacist for the Helen Joseph Hospital Clinical Research Site (CRS). She has over 18 years clinical research experience and has held the position of overall principal pharmacist for a range of international studies.

She is the sole proprietor of RightMed Pharmacy, and has established multiple pharmacies supporting research and PEPFAR implementation activities. She has been responsible for the development of numerous systems, documents, policies and procedures.

She is an expert in drug importation, drug supply management, drug storage, drug adherence and has developed all the drug related standard operating procedures and working practices related to the site research pharmacy. She has recruited and trained over 30 pharmacy staff.

Ina de Jongh

Ina de Jongh is head of operations at CHRU and also holds the position of Clinical Trial Unit (CTU) Coordinator, responsible for the liaison with the National Institute of Allery and Infectious Diseases (NIH) grants staff. She has served the unit for over 19 years as the operations and grants Manager.

In this role she has developed expertise in the area of a budget costing mechanisms which enable the site to determine the recruitment rate, financial budget and cost effectiveness, and progress reporting.

She has extensive experience in managing not only NIH grants, but also USAID/PEPFAR and EU grants.

Vuyokazi Jezile

Vuyokazi Jezile is the data manager at CHRU. She holds a Masters degree in Epidemiology Research Data Management and has over 11 years’ experience with both qualitative and quantitative data.

She joined CHRU as a data manager in 2007 and since 2010, has been the joint head of data management with responsibilities that include data management, running a mentoring program for new data mangers and study coordinators from various ACTG/IMPAACT sites.

She has assisted in both training and establishing new data management tools and chairs the Clinical Trial Unit data committee.

Evelyn Majopelo

Evelyn Mojapelo is regulatory manager at CHRU. She holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Biological Sciences, a Project Management Diploma, a Bachelors of Technology in Pharmaceutical Sciences and a Clinical Research Associate Certificate.

Before joining CHRU she worked as a regulatory specialist and a senior clinical research associate for the pharmaceutical and contract research organisation (CRO) industry.

She also worked as a lab technologist at the Wits Health Consortium and as a scientific officer- working on pre-clinical studies at the University of Cape Town. She has a clinical trial experience of more than 10 years in the pharmaceutical and CRO industries.

 

Matshepo Maloma

Matshepo Maloma is the social work manager and head of counselling at CHRU. She holds a BA Honours degree in social work, a management diploma and a Masters in public and development management.

She has worked as a social worker since 1996, having worked for the Gauteng Department of Health and then as a fund administrator for Alexander Forbes.

She joined CHRU in 2017 and has played a vital role in recruiting participants for CHRU’s clinical trials, orientating them according to good clinical practice standards, and protecting and promoting their rights.

Amanda Ndala

Amanda Ndala is the office manager at CHRU. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce- Economics from UNISA. She joined CHRU in 2004 as a data capturer, and two years later took on the role of administrator.

In 2008 she became the office manager of the unit with responsibilities that include supervising all administrative staff, ensuring a hygienic environment in the unit and procuring stationery, medical and laboratory goods and services. She is also co-chairperson of the Occupational Health and Safety committee.

Anne Reyneke

Anne Reyneke is the site coordinator at CHRU. She is a registered nurse and midwife and holds a Diploma in Nephrology and Occupational Health. She has over 22 years of clinical research experience as both a clinical research associate and study coordinator.

She joined CHRU in 1997 as a study coordinator and has gained invaluable experience whilst working on Phase II-IV clinical trials. In 2017 she became the site coordinator for the ACTG Network as well as for Insight, TB Alliance and other commercial/pharmaceutical studies. She is currently overseeing the nursing and laboratory staff employed at CHRU.

Anne has been responsible for the development of numerous systems, documents, policies and procedures. She has trained and mentored registered nurses, study coordinators and administrative staff across various research sites.

Katerina Selibas

Katerina Selibas joined CHRU in 2009 and is currently the trial manager for the BEAT Tuberculosis clinical trial- a large USAID funded award, comparing a novel strategy to the current South African standard of care in the treatment of MDR TB.

She oversees all project activities including regulatory and ethical compliance; program reporting and overall award monitoring. She is also the key liaison with the Trial Steering Committee, Data Monitoring Committee and Trial Management Group.

In 2011 she took over the operational research activities at Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre-one of CHRU’s well established research collaborators. She then worked for the Health Economics and Epidemiology Research Office as their first project manager.

In 2014, Katerina joined the CHRU team at Sizwe Tropical Diseases Hospital where she managed numerous drug resistant TB studies, including the Bedaquiline Clinical Access Programme, STREAM, NiX-TB and ZeNix. She played a key role in achieving DAIDS approval for the site and was the Site Coordinator for the IMPAACT network trials.

She also reported on the STREAM Community Engagement activities, for all African sites, under The Union’s TREAT TB initiative. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and Diplomacy and has completed various research courses with the African Clinical Research Organisationand Wits Health Consortium.