Chijioke Umunnakwe

CJ obtained his PhD from Iowa State University, Iowa, USA, in 2014, where he majored in Genetics with a minor in Bioinformatics. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland, USA in 2020. His postdoctoral studies were conducted within the HIV Dynamics and Replication Program in the National Cancer Institute division of the NIH where he trained as a molecular virologist with a focus on HIV expression, trafficking and assembly.

He is currently Senior Research Scientist at Ndlovu Research Department, a research consortium in rural Limpopo, South Africa, whose aim is to directly translate acquired research knowledge into improved public health polices and health and wellness of rural communities in Limpopo. CJ partners with clinical and academic investigators at University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht with the goal of leveraging research resources in developed countries towards expanded research capacity in resource limited communities in South Africa. His current research areas include HIV treatment and drug resistance monitoring, HIV reservoir and cure studies, and SARS-CoV-2 monitoring in rural settings.

As an African biologist who studied abroad and returned to Africa towards enriching the continent’s research potential, CJ has a unique professional and scientific background that allows him to more effectively connect, inspire and mentor aspiring African scientists and professionals.

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