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Associate Professor, University of Cape Town

Jo-Ann Passmore, PhD, is a Principal Medical Scientist with the National Health Laboratory Services, and Associate Professor in the Division of Medical Virology, Institute for Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town (UCT). Her research focuses on studying genital tract inflammation and immunity associated with protection from, or susceptibility to, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and HPV ( She has published >100 peer-reviewed manuscripts on biomedical factors associated with pathogenesis and risk for sexually transmitted infections and bacterial vaginosis and holds one patent. Jo-Ann is co-developer of the Genital Inflammation Test (GIFT), a cheap true point of care lateral flow device that detects biomarkers of inflammation in women with asymptomatic STIs or BV, that is being developed as a diagnostic tool to evaluate HIV risk in women. Jo-Ann was selected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Engineering of UK Leaders in Innovation program, representing the GIFT development team (2021). In addition, Jo-Ann has been awarded the Gates Foundation Calestous Juma Scientific Leadership Award in 2021, to lead a Pan-African consortium ( to evaluate characteristics of cervicovaginal Lactobacillus crispatus strains from distinct geographies across Africa, and to develop a combination live biotherapeutic to treat and prevent BV tailored for women on the African continent. Jo-Ann is also passionate about social engagement and working with young women on projects related to sexual wellness in Cape Town.


  • –present
    Associate Professor, University of Cape Town


  • 2000 
    University of Cape Town, PhD / Immunology

Grants and Contracts

  • 2019
    Associate Professor
    Funding Source:
    National Research Foundation