Announcement awardees of the TBVI Young Scientist Award 2023-2024

To encourage talented young scientists and recognise outstanding contributions to TB vaccine research and development, in October TBVI published the TBVI Young Scientist Awards 2024.

It is our pleasure to announce the three winners of the 2023-2024 award:

Paul Ogongo
Paul grew up in Kenya where he got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In 2019 he earned his PhD (Medical Microbiology) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Africa Health Research Institute, Durban, South Africa, with Dr. Alasdair Leslie studying lung tissue-resident memory T-cell response to M. tuberculosis in humans. His doctoral studies demonstrated differential skewing of gamma-delta T-cells in lesions of M. tuberculosis-infected lung and revealed the role of IL17-producing CD4 T-cells in the immune control of human TB at the site of infection. Paul is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Division of Experimental Medicine, University of California San Francisco, and a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow under the mentorship of Prof. Joel Ernst. Paul’s research focuses on human CD4 T cell immune responses to distinct M. tuberculosis antigens in people with latent TB infection to define the role of CD4 T cell immunity in the control of M. tuberculosis infection. The overarching goal is to identify potential new TB vaccines, to improve vaccination strategies against TB, and to define correlates of protection. Paul’s contributions to TB research have been acknowledged internationally including the recognition as a Rising Star in 2019 by the Gates Foundation among other awards. Paul is a co-chair of the Early Career Researchers (ECR) Network of the Working Group of New TB Vaccines which is part of the Stop TB Partnership.

Andy Tran
Andy is a postdoctoral research associate at St George’s University of London, where he has a keen focus on the development of new treatments and vaccines for TB. He completed his PhD in 2020 on the role of antibodies in tuberculosis and spent a year working on a diagnostic assay development for TiKa Diagnostics Ltd, a St George’s University of London startup company. Andy has since returned to the Prof. Rajko Reljic lab where he has been involved as principle and co-investigator in numerous projects aimed at tackling TB, including developing novel self-adjuvanting vaccine candidates, human alveolar models and discovering new TB biologics.


Mphatso Phiri
Mphatso is a medical doctor and infectious diseases researcher with skills in epidemiology, statistics, and transmission modelling. His research interests are development and evaluation of public health interventions aimed at combating vaccine-preventable, high-burden infectious diseases, particularly tuberculosis. Mphatso’s current work focuses on using transmission modelling to describe population-level tuberculosis transmission dynamics, and to evaluate the potential population-level epidemiological impact of TB interventions, e.g. sex-targeted community-based active case finding, preventive therapy and, in the near future, vaccines, in Malawi and Kenya. He holds a medical degree from the University of Malawi, College of Medicine, and an MSc in Epidemiology from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine funded through a Wellcome Fellowship. I’m currently pursuing a PhD in TB transmission modelling at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, funded through the LIGHT Consortium.

All three awardees are outstanding scientists at the start of their career with steep ambitions in the TB vaccine R&D field and who have completed a PhD recently, or are in the course of doing so. The award enables them to present their work to and discuss ideas with researchers, developers, funders and policy makers, with the goal to progress the careers of these next generation researchers that will contribute to the discovery, development and implementation of new safe, effective and affordable TB vaccines to achieve the United Nations goal to end TB in 2030.

All awardees will have the opportunity to present their work during the annual TBVI symposium in Les Diablerets, Switzerland, from 30-31 January 2024.

TBVI congratulates all awardees and is looking forward to working with them!