Dr. Keith Fowke

Head, Department of Medical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases

Professor,  Departments of Medical Microbiology and Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, 

B.Sc.(H) (Manitoba, 1988), Ph.D. (Manitoba, 1995)

Mailing Address:
Laboratory of Viral Immunology
Department of Medical Microbiology
Room 539 - 745 Bannatyne Avenue,
Winnipeg, MB R3E 0J9

Tel: (204) 789-3818 Fax: (204) 789-3926
E-mail: Keith.Fowke@umanitoba.ca

 Dr. Fowke is currently accepting PhD students and postdoctoral fellows (Sept. 2018)

Research Interests:
The Laboratory of Viral Immunology is a vital, active laboratory focused on training scientists at the M.Sc., Ph.D., or postdoctoral levels through basic studies in the immunobiology of HIV infection. The Viral Immunology Laboratory is currently focusing on three major areas of research.  The first is determining the immunological phenotype and genetic expression of CD4+ T-cells in individuals who are resistant to HIV infection or those who are infected but able to control their viral replication.  We hypothesize that resistance is mediated by a two phase model in which immune quiescence results in fewer activated cells that can serve as targets for HIV infection and a central memory-dominated HIV-specific cellular immune response that eliminates any infected cells. The second interest of the lab focuses on the role of immune activation and receptor polymorphisms in HIV disease progression. The lab’s final area of research interest is on defining the role of pre-existing humoral and cellular immunity to influenza (including H1N1) and disease outcomes as well as immune responses to vaccine and exposure.  Dr. Fowke has a particular interest in training young investigators and has been involved in a number of workshops and international training programs including a CIHR-funded Strategic Training Initiative in Health Research.  Dr. Fowke is also an active member of  the Canadian HIV Cure Enterprise (CanCURE), which is a research collaboratory focused on studying HIV persistence and developing strategies towards a functional HIV Cure.

University of Manitoba’s top scientists delved into a discussion on whether an end to HIV is on the horizon - Ending HIV focus of Visionary Conversations dialogue

Additional Information about the Fowke Lab and HIV Research Group. 




HIV rates in Manitoba (CBC Winnipeg Morning Show March 2, 2018)

What if aspirin prevented HIV? (Radio Canada December 21, 2017) 

Keeping it Quiet: HIV infection and Immune Quiescence (Canadian Institutes of Health Research November 24, 2014)



Fowke Lab members (as of Sept. 2018)

Laboratory Manager/Research Associate:
Dr. Julie Lajoie 

Laboratory Technicians:
Mr. Stephen Wayne

Training Program Coordinator:
Mrs. Natasha Hollett

Graduate Students:
Ms. Monika Kowatsch PhD - U Manitoba
Mr. Colin Graydon  PhD - U Manitoba
Ms. Allison Balasko PhD - U Manitoba
Mr. Kenneth Odour PhD - U Nairobi
Ms. Lucy Mwangi PhD - U Nairobi

Selected current grants:

1. April 2018-March 2019. Principal Investigator. Co-PI James Blanchard. International Infectious Disease and Global Health Training Program. Rady Faculty of Health Science, University of Manitoba. $86.000.

2. April 2018-March 2023. Principal Investigator. Co-investigators Joshua Kimani and Julie Lajoie. Reducing HIV target cells in the female genital tract: Determining the mechanism of inducing immune quiescence. Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), Open Operating Project Grant. $772,650.

3. April 2018-March 2021. PI Keith Fowke; co-investigators Natalie Riediger, Andrew Hatala, Jose Lavoie, Javier Mignone. Promoting International Community-University Partnerships in Global and Indigenous Health. Universities Canada, Queen Elizabeth Scholarships, $300,000.

4. April 2017-March 2020. Nominated PI – Gary Kobinger U Laval. Co-applicant – Keith Fowke. Development of a safe, effective and clinically acceptable VSV-based HIV vaccine. CIHR-IAVI Research Partnership – Optimizing the VSV Vector towards an HIV Vaccine Program. $3.2M

5. April 2017-March 2022. Nominated PI – Josée Lavoie. Co-applicant – Keith Fowke. The Prairie Indigenous Knowledge Exchange Network (PIKE-Net). CIHR. Indigenous Mentorship Network Program. $1,000,000.

Selected Recent Fowke Lab Journal Articles: (Fowke Lab trainees/staff)

For an up to date link to publications from the Fowke Lab please click here

1. *Lajoie J, *Birse K, *Mwangi L, Chen Y, Cheruiyot J, Akolo M, Mungai J, Boily-Larouche G, Romas L, Mutch S, Kimani M, Oyugi J, Ho EA, Burgener A, Kimani J, FOWKE KR. Using safe, affordable and accessible non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the number of HIV target cells in the blood and at the female genital tract. Journal of the International AIDS Society. (IF 6.3) Jul;21(7):e25150. doi: 10.1002/jia2.25150. PMID: 30047573. * equal contribution.

2. Chen Y, Traore Y, Yang S, Lajoie J, FOWKE KR, Rickey D, Ho EA. Implant delivering hydroxychloroquine attenuates vaginal T lymphocyte activation and inflammation. Journal of Controlled Release. (IF 8.450). May 10;277:102-113. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2018.03.010. Epub 2018 Mar 13.PMID: 29545105

3. Wessels JM, Lajoie J, Vitali D, Omollo K, Kimani J, Oyugi J, Cheruiyot J, Kimani J, Mugai, JN, Akolo M, Stearns JC, Surette MG, FOWKE KR#, Kaushic C#. Association of High-Risk Sexual Behaviour with Diversity of the Vaginal Microbiota and Abundance of Lactobacillus. PLoS One. 2017 Nov 2;12(11):e0187612. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187612. eCollection 2017.PMID: 29095928 #Co-senior authors.

4. Boily-Larouche G, Omollo K, Cheruiyot J, Njoki J, Kimani M, Kimani J, Oyugi J, Lajoie J, and FOWKE KR. CD161 identifies polyfunctional Th1/Th17 cells in the genital mucosa that are depleted in HIV-infected female sex workers from Nairobi, Kenya. Scientific Report. 2017. Sept 11 7: (11123)1-10. DOI:10.1038/s***************-y PMID: 28894259

5. Lajoie J, Mwangi L, FOWKE KR. Preventing HIV infection without targeting the virus: how reducing HIV target cells at the genital tract is a new approach to HIV prevention. AIDS Research and Therapy. 2017. 14(46):1-5. DOI 10.1186/s12981-017-0166-7 PMID: 28893304

6. Movassagh H, Saati A, Nandagopal S, Mohammed A, Tatari N, Shan L, Duke-Cohan JS, FOWKE KR, Lin F, Gounni AS. Chemorepellent Semaphorin 3E Negatively Regulates Neutrophil Migration In Vitro and In Vivo. J Immunol. 2017 Feb 1;198(3):1023-1033. PMID: 27913633 Keith R. Fowke 25 Revised September 12, 2018

7. Thorne A, Chowdhury F, Singer J, Keynan Y, FOWKE KR, Cooper C and the CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network (CTN) Influenza Vaccine Research Group. Comparison of Hemagglutination Inhibition and Microbead Array Assays for the Measurement of Influenza Antibody Levels in HIV Infected Adults. 2016. Vaccine. 34 3584–3591. DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.05.020

8. *Lajoie J, *Boily-Larouche G, Doering K, Cheruiyot J, Oyugi J, Broliden K, Kimani J, FOWKE KR. Improving adherence to post-cervical biopsy sexual abstinence in Kenyan female sex workers. American Journal of Reproductive Immunology, 2016. Jul;76(1):82-93. doi: 10.1111/aji.12520. Epub 2016 May 24. * equal contribution. 

9. Omollo K, Boily-Larouche G, Lajoie J, Kimani M, Cheruiyot J, Kimani J, Oyugi J, FOWKE KR.  The impact of sex work interruption on blood-derived T cells in sex workers from Nairobi, Kenya.  AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses. 2016 Feb 16 Epub ahead of print. PMID: 26879184

10. Taborda NA, Hernández JC, Lajoie J, Juno JA, Kimani J, Rugeles MT, FOWKE KR.  Low expression of activation and inhibitory molecules on NK cells and CD4+ T-cells is associated with viral control.  AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.  2015.  31(6):636-40.  DOI: 10.1089/aid.2014.0325 PMID: 25738606

11. Juno JA, Stalker AT, Waruk J, Oyugi J, Kimani M, Plummer FA, Kimani J, FOWKE KR. Elevated Expression of LAG-3, but not PD-1, is Associated with Impaired iNKT Cytokine Production during Chronic HIV-1 Infection and Treatment.  Retrovirology.  2015. 12:1-17 DOI 10.1186/s12977-015-0142-z. PMID: 25810006

12. Juno JA, Lajoie J, Stalker AT, Oyugi J, Kimani M, Kimani J, Plummer FA, FOWKE KR.  Enrichment of LAG-3, but not PD-1, on Double Negative T Cells at the Female Genital Tract.  American Journal of Reproductive Immunology.  2014.  Dec;72(6):534-40. Epub 2014 Aug 25. PMID: 25154740.

13. Juno J*, Boily-Larouche G*, Lajoie J and FOWKE KR.  Collection, isolation and flow cytometric analysis of human endocervical samples.  Journal of Visualized Experiments.  2014.Jul 6;(89): 1-6. PMID: 25045942

14. Oyugi J, Meeme C, Chanzu N, Ambia J, Gitaka J, Ndakala F, Herman M, McKinnon L, Kaufert J, FOWKE KR. Teaching research ethics on clinical trials to multidisciplinary and international trainees in global infectious disease research.  J Clinical Research and Bioethics.  2014. Vol 5, Issue 1 p 1-5.   doi: 10.4172/2155-9627.1000166

15. Lajoie J, Kimani M, Plummer FA, Nyamiobo F, Kaul R, Kimani J, FOWKE KR. Association of sex work with reduced activation of the mucosal immune system.  J Infectious Diseases.  2014 Jul 15;210(2):319-29. Epub 2014 Jan 12. PMID: 24421257

16. Card CM, Ball TB and FOWKE KR.  Immune Quiescence: a model of protection against HIV infection.  Retrovirology. 2013.  10(141):1-8.  PMID: 24257114

17. Sivro A, *Lajoie J, Kimani J, Jaoko W, Plummer FA, FOWKE KR, Ball TB. Age and menopause related changes in cytokine/chemokine expression in plasma and cervical lavage samples from female sex workers in Nairobi, Kenya.  Immunity and Aging. 2013.  Vol 10 p 42. PMID: 24498919 * co-first author

18. Lajoie J* and Boily-Larouche G*, Juno JA, Kirwan SE, FOWKE KR.  Mucosal Immune Regulation: Does it Help Thwart HIV? Journal of Clinical and Cellular Immunology. 2012. S7: 006 doi: 10.4172/2155-9899.S7:1-11.

19. Card CM, Rutherford WJ, Ramdahin S, Yao X, Kimani M, Wachihi C, Kimani J, Plummer FA, Ball TB, FOWKE KR.  Reduced cellular susceptibility to in vitro HIV infection is associated with CD4+ T cell quiescence.  PLoS One.  2012;7(9)1-7. PMID: 23029309

20. Juno JA, Keynan Y and FOWKE KR.  Invariant NKT cells: Regulation and Function During Viral Infection.  PLoS Pathogens.  2012.  Aug;8(8) p 1-10:e1002838. PMID: 22916008

21. Lajoie J, Juno J, Burgener A, Rahman S, Mogk K, Wachihi C, Mwanjewe J, Plummer FA, Kimani J, FOWKE KR.  A distinct cytokine and chemokine profile at the genital mucosa is associated with HIV-1 protection among HIV-exposed seronegative commercial sex workers.  Mucosal Immunol. 2012 May;5(3):277-87. Epub 2012 Feb 8.

22. Juno J, Tuff J, Choi R, Card CM, Kimani J, Wachihi C, Koesters-Kiazyk S, Ball TB, Farquar C, Plummer FA, John-Steward G, Luo M, FOWKE KR.  The Role of G Protein Gene GNB3 C825T Polymorphism in HIV-1 Acquisition, Progression and Immune Activation.  Retrovirology. Epub 2012 Jan 3; 9(1)1-12.

23. Juno J, FOWKE KR, Keynan Y.  Immunogenetic factors associated with severe respiratory illness caused by zoonotic H1N1 and H5N1 influenza viruses.  Clinical and Developmental Immunology. 2012:797180. p1-9 PMC3216312 doi:10.1155/2012/797180

24. Card CM, Keynan Y, Lajoie J, Bell CP, Dawood M, Becker M, Kasper K, FOWKE KR HIV-controllers are distinguished by chemokine expression profile and HIV-specific T cell proliferative potential.  J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2012 Apr 15;59(5):427-37. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182454fcd. PMID: 22240463

25. Keynan Y, Bodnarchuk T, FOWKE KR.  Evaluation of Influenza-specific humoral response by micro-bead array analysis. Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology. 2011 Volume 22, Pages 25-29

 Cottage Day 2017