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Grantees Profile

Lerato Ndlovu

Country (Nationality)

South Africa

Grantee Title

Science-2-Society: Raising future leaders

Grantee Description

Lerato Ndlovu is a SANTHE PhD fellow at the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) in South Africa. She did her master's in Plant Breeding and Biochemistry then later worked at Dr Al Leslie’s immunology lab. Ndlovu's research focuses on identifying easy-to-measure changes in the immune system of Tuberculosis (TB) patients' that indicates the severity of TB infection, which can be used to monitor responses to drug treatment. Her overall goal is to develop an approach for real-time tracking of TB treatment success to improve TB cure rates and aid patient management.


Science-2-Society: Raising future leaders

The greatest scientific resource is the next generation of scientists and their development relies on early and frequent exposure to opportunities to explore science. Rural schools in South Africa are kept at a disadvantage due to limited access to information and communication technology, lack of basic infrastructure, shortage of qualified teaching staff, and a combination of socio-economic circumstances.

The goal of this CPE project is to promote science education through exposing students to available career paths in research and creating an understanding of the direct impact of science on daily life.

Ndlovu will use a play to create interest in infectious disease research in the otherwise neglected rural community of Estcourt in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. The play will take the audience on a journey of the immune response to TB infection, the importance of TB adherence and how her research will identify immune signatures associated with treatment success that can potentially be used in the development of drugs that shorten therapy.

Her second approach is to hold career talks with junior and senior scientists to engage the students and encourage them to consider science as a viable career path. Her third and final approach is to hold an essay writing competition, where 5 finalists will attend a week-long mentorship programme at AHRI that is designed to be fully immersive in the culture of scientific research enriching the experience for highly motivated students.


Innovation in science is largely driven by the desire of individuals to solve specific problems facing their communities and themselves. The goal of the project is to motivate students to become more inquisitive about diseases affecting their communities and empower them to develop tailored methods for interventions through education.