University of Zimbabwe, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Established in 1994 by faculty from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), the UZ-UCSF Clinical Trials Unit continues to serve as a center of excellence in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and TB, contributing to global understanding of HIV epidemiology and pathogenesis, and global and Zimbabwean health policy, while developing scientific capacity and mentoring the next generation of public health research leaders in Zimbabwe. The UZ-UCSF CTU is led by Drs. Z. Mike Chirenje (UCSF, UZ), Tsungai Chipato (UZ), Felix Mhlanga (UZ) and Mike Mbizvo (UZ) and employs 248 staff across seven research sites in Harare and Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe. Over 10,000 adults, adolescents and children have been enrolled into over 100 HIV and TB prevention and treatment research studies at the CTU, in collaboration with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Division of AIDS Networks and the recently established COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network (CoVPN). The CTU’s work continues to lay the groundwork for future cutting-edge and impactful HIV, TB, and now COVID-19, research in Zimbabwe.

The research site is supported by a large and diverse research funding portfolio, including the CTU award through 2027 (NIH/NIAID UM1AI069436) and several NIH-funded mentoring and training programs including the Fogarty Partnership in Education Training and Research Advancement (PETRA) award (1R25TW011215), and Training for Research Excellence and Mentorship in Tuberculosis (TRENT) award (N2D43TW009539).

GloCal mentors at UZ cover a wide range of disciplines including epidemiology, biostatistics, clinical trials, qualitative research, adolescent health, obstetrics, gynecology, pharmacology, psychiatry, histopathology, microbiology, laboratory science, and sexual and reproductive health. The UZ-UCSF CTU has robust and effective mentoring support structures including an annual scientific writing workshop led by UCSF and UZ faculty with support year-round; a weekly “Journal Club” which serves as a “works-in-progress” platform, and is attended by senior and junior investigators, mentees and students; and the CTU’s Annual Research Day, an opportunity for UZ and UCSF CTU investigators and mentees to present and learn about the latest results of CTU research studies and to provide stakeholders from the Ministry of Health, NGOs, and the community with scientific updates, and invite their national and international perspectives.

GloCal fellows have access to the UZ-UCSF CTU’s dynamic community engagement, and mature pharmacy, clinic, regulatory, laboratory, data, IT, finance, and administrative structures, enabling them to achieve their research goals in an efficient and timely manner.

In the coming 5 years, the UZ-UCSF CTU plans to strengthen the collaboration between UC campuses and the Zimbabwe site, investing in cross-training opportunities and mentoring to capacitate early-stage investigators, (ESIs) locally and from the US, to identify research topics that address global health challenges and contribute to evidence-based health policies and best practices in geographic areas with high burdens of disease; embark on independent research careers; and successfully navigate academic pathways into UZ or other US institutions.

Site contact: Felix Mhlanga