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Centre Staff

Fatima Abrahams
Ms Fatima Abrahams
Laboratory Manager

Fatima Abrahams joined CIDRI-Africa as Laboratory Manager in mid-2019. After completing an MSC in Genetics at Stellenbosch University, she held the position of research technician at CPUT. She then joined the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) as a research assistant in HIV and malaria research. Following that, she was the Laboratory Manager in Medical Virology at UCT for 5 years. During that time she worked on vaccine development for HIV and veterinary vaccines.

Brandon Ferlito
Mr Brandon Ferlito
Public Engagement Manager

Brandon Ferlito joined CIDRI-Africa as Public Engagement Manager in early 2022. He is a PhD candidate in Bioethics & Health Law at the University of the Witwatersrand, and is an aspiring academic and writer, having published numerous feature and peer-reviewed articles. He is also a 2021 Mail & Guardian Young South African finalist and considers himself to be “A young, passionate and driven individual, inspired by people and challenges."

Rene Goliath
Ms Rene Goliath
Clinical Projects Co-ordinator

Rene Goliath currently fills the role of research clinical site coordinator; she is a qualified nurse with diplomas in general nursing, midwifery, paediatrics, nursing administration, and nursing education. She completed a BSc Hons in 1999 at the University of Manchester, and joined clinical research in 2000. Over the last 17 years she has held the roles of field worker, research nurse, data-capturer, and study coordinator. She also supports regulatory affairs, clinical and staff management.

Amanda Jackson
Ms Amanda Jackson
Data Systems Manager

Amanda Jackson is the Data Systems Manager at CIDRI-Africa. She develops data management systems for a range of health-related research studies using RedCap, OpenClinica, FileMaker and MS Access, primarily. She co-ordinates the data unit, which is based at UCT and Ubuntu clinic in Khayelitsha, and develops and oversees data entry, processing and validation functions within the unit. She also provides data analysis support to researchers in the CIDRI-Africa. Amanda was previously a Data Manager in the Malaria Research Institute at the Medical Research Council, South Africa, where she was involved in the development of malaria information systems, survey data analysis and web-based spatial decision support systems.

Olina Ngwenya
Ms Olina Ngwenya
Data Analyst

Olina holds a BSc Honours degree in Applied Mathematics from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST, Bulawayo, 2007), an MSc Statistics (UKZN, 2011) and an MSc in Biostatistics (Hasselt Universiteit, Belgium, 2014). Before joining CIDRI-Africa, she worked as a statistics lecturer at the University of Swaziland. She has also held positions as a data analyst, research tutor and biometrician.

Nashreen Omar-Davies
Ms Nashreen Omar-Davies

Nashreen qualified as a Diagnostic Radiographer at Groote Schuur hospital in 1990, and also holds a certificate in Ultrasound Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She was initially employed as a radiographer at New Somerset Hospital. After 16 years, she resigned to care for her family. During this time she held a few locum positions at Red Cross Children’s hospital and Maitland Cottage home.

In 2012 she joined the CIDRI group as the diagnostic radiographer. She generates digital x-ray images as one of the screening tools for diagnosis of TB. In addition to her radiography duties she also oversees clinical logistics, assists with administrative duties, and facilitates the booking process for any study-related procedures at other institutions.

Claire Whitaker
Dr Claire Whitaker
Communications Manager

Claire joined CIDRI-Africa as Communications Manager in March 2018. She has a background in biological research and extensive experience as a project officer and science communicator.

Before joining CIDRI-Africa, Claire worked at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) for several years, in the HIV Prevention Research Unit as a Science Writer, and then at the Cancer Research Initiative of South Africa (SAMRC/CANSA), where she managed the grant application, review and assessment process, as well as producing and managing social media and website content. She joined the SAMRC Grants and Scholarships Administration Division as Scientific Review Officer and Science Communicator, and continued similar work in positions in the Africa Office of the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership.

Claire holds a PhD in Biology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal on the seed biology and pathology of Welwitschia mirabilis, the national plant of Namibia.

Kathryn Wood
Ms Kathryn Wood
Centre Operations Manager

After 25 years of medical laboratory experience, Kathryn moved into research administration as the Initiative Manager of the Clinical Infectious Diseases Research initiative (CIDRI) in December 2008. After the success of the Initiative grant which resulted in the completion of 38 CIDRI and Carnegie Foundation doctorates and postdoctoral fellowships in the field of Infectious Diseases, she was appointed as the Operations Manager for the Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa, in March 2017. The main responsibilities are to centrally coordinate the activities of the Centre, to support the Director and advise and support the Platform leads and the Steering Committee regarding Centre activities and procedures. Her portfolio within the Centre includes the daily financial management, human resources management, organization of meetings, events and conferences, post graduate student support, general office management and line management of the administrative assistant, the laboratory manager and the communications manager.