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Lenine Liebenberg joins CERI: A game-changer in mucosal immunology
Author: CERI Media and Communication - Maambele Khosa
Published: 21/09/2023

Stellenbosch University's (SU) Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI) is proud to welcome a new luminary to its ranks, Prof Lenine Liebenberg, as Chief Researcher in Mucosal Immunology. This addition marks a significant milestone for CERI and the field of immunology as a whole.

Born and bred in the vibrant township of Mitchell's Plain in Cape Town, Liebenberg's remarkable journey has taken her from these humble beginnings to the forefront of scientific discovery. Her academic pursuits have been nothing short of stellar. She earned her Bachelor of Science, Honours, Master's, and ultimately, a PhD in Medical Virology at the University of Cape Town.

Liebenberg brings a wealth of experience and innovation to CERI, having spent a decade at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and CAPRISA, where she distinguished herself as a lecturer, associate professor, and senior scientist in the realm of mucosal immunology.

Her impressive journey is a testament to her dedication and passion for immunology. "I am thrilled to join CERI at SU and continue my journey in mucosal immunology," Liebenberg shared. "This opportunity aligns perfectly with my commitment to pushing the boundaries of scientific discovery."

At the heart of Liebenberg's appointment is the potential for groundbreaking research and innovation in mucosal immunology. Her work promises to uncover new insights into the human body's frontline defense mechanisms against infections.

CERI Director, Prof Tulio de Oliveira, emphasized the significance of Liebenberg's arrival, saying, "Lenine's expertise is a game-changer for CERI's mission to respond effectively to epidemics and infectious diseases. Her work will undoubtedly influence our strategies for epidemic response and preparedness."

In her new role at CERI, Liebenberg will delve into research areas that have the potential to reshape our understanding of mucosal immunology and its implications for epidemic response. Her vision extends to building collaborative bridges, both within Stellenbosch University and beyond, to further advance the mission of CERI.

Not only is she an academic powerhouse, but she's also an excellent baker. Her creativity in the lab seamlessly transcends into the kitchen, where her culinary creations are nothing short of spectacular. Like her research, her baking aligns with the mindset instilled by her late father, who emphasised the importance of impacting people's lives in meaningful ways.

Prof Jo-Ann Passmore, a prominent immunologist from the University of Cape Town and Liebenberg's mentor, praised her accomplishments, saying, "Lenine's decision to join CERI is not only a personal achievement but a significant step forward for the field of mucosal immunology because she embodies excellence that will serve CERI."

Liebenberg herself expressed her enthusiasm for her role, stating, "I am eager to contribute to the dynamic and collaborative environment at CERI. Together, we will work towards a future where our collective knowledge translates into more effective epidemic responses."

With a career marked by dedication, innovation, and a commitment to improving lives through scientific breakthroughs, Liebenberg is poised to make a profound impact in her new role at CERI. Her arrival is a testament to CERI's commitment to fostering research excellence and its unwavering dedication to addressing global health challenges.

As Liebenberg embarks on this exciting new chapter, the world of mucosal immunology eagerly awaits the discoveries and innovations that will undoubtedly emerge from her research at CERI.