Dr Chikondi Peno

Postdoctoral Associate

Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases
Yale School of Medicine

Chikondi is an upcoming scientist with a keen interest in biomedical research to reduce the infectious disease burden, especially in lower and middle income countries (LMICs). She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education Science majoring in Biology and Chemistry at the University of Malawi. She then joined the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme (MLW). Her work primarily focused on pneumococcus and rotavirus, which are significant pathogens in Malawi and causes over a million deaths globally a year. Chikondi completed a Master of Science in Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) with support from a MLW training grant. Her previous experience researching pneumococcus stimulated her interest to pursue further studies to understand the interaction between pneumococcus and other pathogens that colonise the respiratory tract.  She was awarded an MPRU PhD studentship that fully funds her studies at the University of Edinburgh with Debby Bogaert at the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research.

Chikondi's PhD work investigate the interactions between maternal pneumococcal immunisation, live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), the respiratory microbiome, and subsequent pneumococcal colonisation dynamics in Gambian infants. Her long term research interest is to investigate factors that affect the stability of respiratory ecological niches in order to illuminate the mechanisms that predispose children to disease using molecular and immunological methods.

Chikondi graduated in 2022 and is now a postdoctoral associate at Yale School of Medicine.


Links to selected publications:

1) Peno C, Armitage EP, Clerc M, Balcazar Lopez C, Jagne YJ, et al. 2021. The effect of live attenuated influenza vaccine on pneumococcal colonisation densities among children aged 24–59 months in The Gambia: a phase 4, open label, randomised, controlled trial. Lancet Microbe https://doi.org/10.1016/S2666-5247(21)00179-8.

2) Stenhouse GE, Jere KC, Peno C, Bengtsson RJ, Chinyama E, et al. 2021. Whole genome sequence analysis of Shigella from Malawi identifies fluoroquinolone resistance, Microbe Genom 7:000532.

3) Chaguza C, Yang M, Cornick JE, du Plessis M, ... , Peno C, .... , Bentley SD. 2020. Bacterial genome-wide association study of hyper-virulent pneumococcal serotype 1 identifies genetic variation associated with neurotropism. Commun Biol 3:559.