Videlis Nduba successfully defends PhD and gets prestigious promotion

“I’m not the usual PhD student,” explained Videlis Nduba, who defended his PhD over Zoom earlier this summer. Videlis has been working as a researcher at the Kenyan Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) within the Centre for Respiratory Diseases Research (CRDC) for nearly 20 years. He might not be the typical PhD student, however, his unique journey towards obtaining his PhD has made it that much more meaningful.

Videlis finished medical school in 1999 and quickly became interested in research. After completing a master’s in public health from the University of Washington, he was immediately hired as a researcher at KEMRI in Nairobi, Kenya. Fast forward several years to 2007, when Videlis had a chance encounter with Dr. Anja van’t Hoog, who was pursuing her PhD at the time in Kisumu. It was clear that Videlis was interested in a collaboration, and Anja needed an African colleague to help with a new research project. From there, an academic partnership was born.

The grant that funded Videlis’ research, and ultimately created the framework and foundation for his PhD, was awarded in 2008. This research allowed Videlis to set up lab infrastructure and collect information longitudinally on TB in adolescents and infants. All of this effort was geared towards TB vaccine trials. In 2013, the research moved towards TB vaccine trials in adults. One of the most significant findings from his research was discovering that it is possible to prevent adults who are infected with latent TB from getting full-blown TB, and arguably more importantly, that the vaccine works in resource-limited settings.

The entirety of Videlis’ work culminated in a PhD thesis entitled, TB Vaccine Trials in Kenya: Preparation and Implementation. While this achievement should not be overlooked, the defense of his PhD came at the most opportune time. Videlis was set to defend his PhD just as he was in the application processes for a promotion at his work that required a PhD. It was the only criteria he was missing at the time. Since successfully defending his PhD, he has been able to accept the job promotion and move to a higher position at KEMRI. “I am in a very good spot now. I am going to have the chance to mentor students and do more research over the years.”

“AIGHD has been instrumental in helping me complete my PhD.” After years of working together, Dr. Anja van’t Hoog was a co-promoter of his PhD. Co-promotor Professor Borgdorff and Dr. Sabine Hermans were on the committee reviewing Videlis’ research. Prof. Frank Cobelens also sat on the defense committee and has nominated Videlis to be a member of the working group for the TB Roadmapping project. Videlis is happy to report that, “it has been a very productive association to work with AIGHD.”

AIGHD is very proud of all of Videlis’ hard work, collaborations, and dedication to TB research. We congratulate him on his successful defense and his recent promotion.