As the HLB-SIMPLe Alliance is large and quite dispersed geographically, we want to help you get to know some of the brilliant people who enable our groundbreaking research. This month, we are featuring Nomathemba Chandiwana, an early-stage investigator from the iHEART South Africa team and trainee in the RCC’s K43 grantwriting program (and previously an SRP grantee). We hope you will enjoy getting to know a little bit about Nomathemba.

Q: Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in your current role? 

A:  I took the scenic route to clinical research. Now I am a physician-scientist, specializing in clinical trials to investigate better, safer, and more cost-effective antiretroviral treatment options, particularly among women who represent the majority of people with HIV in Africa and globally. My recent work has been focused on emerging health concerns among people with HIV, especially obesity and obstructive sleep apnea. My interests extend beyond clinical medicine – I lend my expertise to several technical working groups such as the STI and syphilis guidelines working committees and serve on the INTEREST and Southern African Clinician’s Society scientific conference committees. I have been working with iHEART for the last three years. 


Q: How do you spend your time away from work?

A: Away from work, I am an avid gardener, intrepid traveler, fantastic foodie, amateur birder and enjoy high fantasy movies and serious fiction. My husband and I are kept busy by our young children (aged 4 and 7) looking for frogs (and worse!) in our wild garden.


Q: What are the most important things you have learned from your participation in the HLB-SIMPLe training programs so far and the small research project (SRP) you led last year? 

The SRP process was the first time I led a sleep related study in people with HIV. Using this small grant, I was able answer important questions using an easy-to-use questionnaire. I am now in the K43 training program and have met colleagues investigating HIV comorbidities in different parts of the world. 


Nomathemba has a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience from Northeastern University, an MBBCh and an MPH from the University of Witwatersrand, along with a Diploma in Child Health and a Higher Diploma in HIV Management and Sexual Health. Thanks, Nomathemba, for taking time away from your busy schedule to answer our questions!