Outline of Research
Assoc Prof Jo-Ann Passmore's research has focused on studying genital tract adaptive and innate immune responses associated with protection from or susceptibility to sexually transmitted viral diseases including HPV and HIV. She is specifically interested in studying biomarkers for susceptibility and protection to HIV infection, including secreted inflammatory molecules, genital immune activation and HIV-specific immune responses present in the female genital tract.
She has been principal investigator on grants from the South African HIV/AIDS Research Platform (SHARP), the Wellcome Trust, CHAVI, South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative (SAAVI), the HIV Pathogenesis Programme (Doris Duke Charitable Foundation), Medical Research Council (South Africa) and Poliomyelitis Research Foundation and laboratory PI on a grant from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) to investigate the impact of HIV infection on cervical mucosal responses during chronic and acute HIV infection. She is currently a member of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) Mucosal Working Group (2009-current) which aims at develop methods to investigate HIV-specific immunity in mucosal tissue including the female genital tract; and is project leader for the CAPRISA Mucosal Immunology Laboratory at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (2011-) heading a group of 3 Post-Doctoral Fellows and 1 PhD student on studies focusing on development and testing of microbicides to prevent HIV infection.