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Research groups


Charlene Akoto

Postdoctoral Research Assistant


HIV/AIDS affects almost 40 million people worldwide of whom approximately 1.4 million are pregnant women. While mother-to-child HIV transmission is greatly reduced by antiretroviral therapy given during pregnancy, HIV positive mothers are more likely to experience adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth. Working in the group of Dr Joris Hemelaar I am involved in work which investigates the association of different innate immune cell types with adverse pregnancy outcomes in HIV positive women. A deeper understanding of the mechanisms behind adverse pregnancy outcomes will aid in the design of effective preventative and therapeutic interventions.


I obtained my BSc in Microbiology from the University of Bristol in 2010 and MSc in Medical Molecular Microbiology from the University of Nottingham in 2011. After graduating, I worked as a research assistant at the UCL Institute of Child Health in a group investigating the molecular genetics of adrenal and reproductive development and function and another group studying the histone chaperone Hira. In 2017, I completed my PhD under the supervision of Dr Emily Swindle and Prof Donna Davies at the University of Southampton, investigating the response of mast cells to rhinovirus infection.