Emory Faculty & Investigators

Susan Allen, MD, MPH

Professor and Founding Director of the Rwanda Zambia Health Research Group

Dr. Allen has over thirty years of experience conducting research in Africa. After receiving her Medical Degree from Duke University and a residency in Pathology from the University of California San Francisco, she moved to Rwanda where she established the Projet San Francisco. Since its founding in 1986, PSF has been a leader in epidemiologic and laboratory research and vaccine clinical trials on HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and family planning, in risk groups including heterosexual couples, female sex workers, men who have sex with men, and adolescent girls and young women.

The Rwanda research site has expanded focus beyond sexual and reproductive health to studies of malaria and Ebola. Following the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Dr. Allen moved to Zambia where she founded the Center for Family Health Research in Zambia (CFHRZ). Like Rwanda, CFHRZ has been a leader in research on HIV, STI, and family planning, in risk groups including heterosexual couples and unmarried high risk women. CFHRZ is currently conducting the first phase 3 HIV vaccine clinical trial to be conducted in Zambia, a multisite study in high risk women.

Eric Hunter, PhD

Eric Hunter, PhD, Professor

Dr. Hunter has over 30 years of experience in the field of retrovirus molecular biology, with over 200 peer-reviewed publications in the field. His laboratory research currently focuses on the virologic and immunologic correlates of HIV and SIV transmission with a goal of informing vaccine design. The laboratory has been a leading contributor in these areas of research. Dr. Hunter’s recent work has focused on understanding HIV-1 transmission, with an emphasis on the biological and genetic properties of the transmitted founder virus.

His research team have also investigated the impact of the genotype of the transmitted HIV-1 on disease pathogenesis in the newly infected individual. Recent studies have reported evidence for transmission of drug resistance in Zambians and Rwandans attending government health clinics. Dr. Hunter received his Bachelor of Science in Bacteriology from Birmingham University in England, and a PhD in Tumor Immunology from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund & Brunel University of England. He completed is post-doctoral training in RNA tumor viruses at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Kristin Wall, PhD, Assistant Professor

After obtaining a degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2006, Dr. Wall sought advanced training in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and has been an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Emory University since 2013. Her research agenda aims to advance evidence-based decision-making to improve HIV and family planning services for individuals and couples through studies of service integration and cost-effectiveness both domestically and in limited-resource settings. She has been a co-investigator on several international and domestic grants to promote and integrate couples’ HIV testing with family planning services; promote effective contraception for prevention of unplanned pregnancy and perinatal HIV transmission; improve HIV prevention for key populations (discordant couples, sex workers, and men who have sex with men); and use technology to improve data quality and patient safety in clinical trials. She currently provides cost-effectiveness expertise as a co-investigator on several HIV prevention studies. She has been collaborating with the Emory-based Rwanda Zambia Health Research Group (RZHRG) for 10 years, co-authoring over 40 papers with both Rwandan and Zambian colleagues. She has extensive knowledge of the RZHRG studies and datasets and have applied many different analytic techniques including actor-partner interdependence modeling, multi-level modeling, and cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analyses to evaluate study outcomes.

Additionally, Dr. Wall teaches epidemiological methods at the Emory Rollins School of Public Health to students from a range of educational levels and has successfully mentored and co-mentored over 50 MPH, PhD, junior faculty, and grant trainees in several countries on research and analysis methods, scholarship, and publication and dissemination of results. She also collaborates with the Emory Programs, Research, and Innovation in Sexual Minority Health (PRISM) Group and the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).While her research to date has focused on HIV and family planning, Dr. Wall has applied advanced epidemiological methods to the understanding of other STIs, malaria, TB, and most recently to development of a protocol for evaluating the safety and immunogenicity of an Ebola vaccine in pregnancy.

Center for Family Health Research / Projet San Francisco

Etienne Karita

Etienne Karita, MPH, MD

Dr. Karita has more than 30 years of experience in the field of family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention and research, in particular working with key populations such as female sex workers (FSW) and men who have sex with men (MSM). After receiving his MD from the National University of Rwanda, Kigali, he completed a Master of Science in Molecular Biology at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium and a Master of Science in Public Health in Epidemiology at the University of Birmingham, Alabama. During his terms as Director of the National AIDS Control Program and as the founding Director of the Treatment and Research AIDS Center in Rwanda, Dr. Karita played a very active role in the implementation and scale-up of individual HIV voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) services in Rwanda, initiated the first pilot program for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in Rwanda, and offered technical assistance to many VCT and PMTCT programs across Africa.

As current Director of the Projet San Francisco (PSF) and the Center for Family Health Research (CFHR), he has been involved in the promotion and expansion of couples HIV voluntary counseling and testing (CVCT), couples family planning counseling (CFPC), and long acting reversible contraception (LARC) services in Kigali and throughout Rwanda. Dr. Karita has also served as the site PI for seven HIV vaccine trials, and one phase 2 therapeutic malaria trial. As Director of PSF, Dr. Karita is currently overseeing a mass vaccination campaign to protect 200,000 Rwandans from Ebola. He will also be overseeing a safety clinical trial for this same vaccine administered to pregnant women.

Julien Nyombayire, MD

Dr. Nyombayire has been working in the field of HIV/AIDS for more than 10 years. After receiving his MD from the University of Rwanda- Kigali, he received a Fogarty Fellowship to complete his Master of Science in Clinical Trials from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. His research has focused on HIV prevention and transmission, and has included research studies on the heterosexual transmission and natural history of HIV among discordant couples, the first observational studies assessing HIV incidence among Rwandan female sex workers (FSW), and assessing HIV and STIs prevalence and associated risk behaviors among Rwandan men who have sex with men (MSM).

Dr. Nyombayire has been an investigator in several different HIV vaccine trials as well as malaria therapeutics clinical trials, and is currently leading a government of Rwanda sponsored mass Ebola vaccination campaign to protect 200,000 Rwandans living on the Western province bordering DRC.  Dr. Nyombayire has participated in several national technical working group on HIV prevention, care and treatment and has contributed to national HIV guideline reviews and updates with scientific evidence based practices. In addition to his research, he also continues to provide daily HIV clinical care and treatment to key and priority populations, including FSW and their partners, MSM, and patients with sexually transmitted infections.

Rosine Ingabire, MD

Dr. Ingabire has been working in the fields of HIV research/control and family planning promotion for 10 years. She has received an MD from the National University of Rwanda, and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Infectious Disease at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Ingabire was first introduced to HIV services supervision while working as clinical investigator at the former Treatment and Research Center on HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and other Epidemics (TRAC Plus). Currently she has been supervising HIV prevention and treatment programs targeting the general population, but focusing on special groups such as HIV discordant couples and female sex workers (FSW) at Projet San Francisco (PSF).

Dr. Ingabire’s work has included testing, monitoring, and evaluating new HIV prevention strategies in these groups, including Couples Voluntary Counseling and Testing, HIV treatment for prevention, and Test and Start. Her research also addresses heterosexual HIV transmission from people enrolled in HIV treatment, challenges with HIV Viral suppression, STI re-infection and treatment resistance, and syndromic STI treatment vs diagnostic based treatment. Dr. Ingabire also leads family planning activities at PSF, including integration of Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives in government partner clinics, research on improving post-partum IUD provision and improving family planning access for FSW.  

Center for Family Health Research in Zambia

William Kilembe, MD

Dr. Kilembe has been working in the field of HIV/AIDS for almost 20 years. After receiving his medical degree from the University of Zambia, he completed a Master of Science in Clinical Trials (2009) and a Master of Science in Infectious Diseases (2017) from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Kilembe has worked at the Center for Family Health Research in Zambia (CFHRZ) since 2001 and currently serves as the Project Director in Lusaka. He is the Principal Investigator on several  International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) studies, including a prospective cohort study that recruits and follows high risk women (HRW: female sex workers (FSW) and single mothers (SM)) to provide HIV prevention and Family planning services. This study aims to determine HIV and STI risk factors and incidence, detect acute HIV infection, and prepare for HIV vaccine clinical trials. He also served as the site director for NIH, CDC and UK DFID funded research and program activities with heterosexual cohabiting couples, including: expansion of couples voluntary counseling and testing (CVCT) within Zambia. Dr. Kilembe has experience in leading behavioral and laboratory studies on HIV transmission within and from outside the marriage, and with and without antiretroviral therapy; and studies in voluntary male medical circumcision. He is currently the principal investigator for two HIV vaccine trials at CFHRZ: 1) a Phase 2b HIV vaccine efficacy trial through the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, into which their two Zambia research centers have enrolled 218 participants from the HRW cohort and 2) an EDCTP sponsored phase 1 HIV Vaccine trial.

Mubiana Inambao, MD

Dr. Inambao has been conducting research for over 15 years, since he established the Center for Family Health Research in Zambia (CFHRZ) in Ndola, on the Copperbelt Province of Zambia. He earned a medical degree from the University of Zambia, then completed a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Alabama, and a Higher Diploma from the National Institute of Public Administration in Zambia in Management and Leadership. Initially, the clinic offered couples voluntary counseling and testing (CVCT) and followed cohorts of HIV discordant couples to study the behavioral and laboratory correlates of HIV transmission and acquisition. Based on their work at CFHRZ, a rapid scale up of CVCT was performed in all government health facilities on the Copperbelt Province. CVCT and Couples Family Planning Counseling with provision of Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives was then expanded to government health clinics throughout Zambia. During this time CFHRZ served as a Center of Excellence providing training and technical assistance to over 15 countries.

In 2012, they began recruiting female sex workers and single mothers into an observational cohort at the research clinics in Ndola and Lusaka. With all study cohorts, they have integrated family planning counseling with HIV testing and counseling, with an emphasis on long-acting methods for those women/couples not desiring a pregnancy within the next three years. He has been Principal Investigator on various observational and clinical trials conducted at CFHRZ Ndola. Dr. Inambao also serves as the Departmental Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Ndola Teaching Hospital, Chair of the Copperbelt Health Research Committee, and a member of the Tropical Diseases Research Center Research Ethics Committee.

Contact Us

Rwanda Zambia Health Research Group (RZHRG)

Emory University: 1930-001-1AP
101 Woodruff Circle, WMB Suite 7100
Atlanta, GA 30322

Email: info@rzhrg-mail.org

Project San Francisco (PSF) Center for Family Health Research (CFHR)

Street Address: KK 19 Av, No. 57, Kicukiro, Kigali, Rwanda
Mailing Address: BP 780 Kigali, Rwanda
Telephone: +250 252 503 233

Center for Family Health Research in Zambia (CFHRZ) – Lusaka

Street Address: B22/F737 Mwembelelo Road, Emmasdale, Lusaka, Zambia
Mailing Address: PostNet 412, P/Bag E891, Lusaka, Zambia
Telephone: +260966 964176

Center for Family Health Research in Zambia (CFHRZ) – Ndola

Street Address: 24 Lupili Road, Northrise, Ndola, Zambia
Mailing Address: PO Box 240262, Ndola, Zambia