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

At this time Dr Fowke is not looking to recruit new graduate students

To view additional information on the Fowke lab Button
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:

  • 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 role of immune activation and receptor polymorphisms in HIV disease progression.
  • 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 the International Infectious Disease and Global Health Training Program (IID&GHTP) and Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships (QES) Program. Dr. Fowke is also an active member of the Canadian HIV Cure Enterprise (CanCURE), a research collaboration focused on studying HIV persistence and developing strategies towards a functional HIV Cure.


Past Information about the Fowke Lab and HIV Research Group. 




University of Manitoba gets millions in grant for HIV/AIDS research (CTV News August 8, 2019)

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)

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


Fowke Lab members (as of July 2019)

Laboratory Manager/Research Associate:
Dr. Julie Lajoie 

Laboratory Technicians:
Stephen Wayne
Natasha Hollett

IID&GHTP and QES Coordinator:
Natasha Hollett


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

Summer/Co-op Students:
Gillian McIvor
Shifa Mohideen


Selected current grants:

1. April 2019-March 2024.  Nominated Principal Investigator.  Other PIs  - Emmanuel Ho, Joshua Kimani, Lyle McKinnon, Thomas Murooka.  Co-Is Julie Lajoie, Julius Oyugi.  Combination HIV Prevention: Using anti-retroviral and anti-inflammatory medications to prevent new HIV infections. Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR).  Team Grant: HIV/AIDS Biomedical and Clinical Research – HIV Prevention – Focused Team.   $2,000,000.

2. April 2019-March 2024.  Nominated PI – Eric Cohen. Other PIs  - Margolese, Shari L; Rosenes, Ron; Ancuta, Petronela; Angel, Jonathan B; Chomont, Nicolas; Estaquier, Jérôme; Murooka, Thomas T; Routy, Jean-Pierre.  Co-investigators - Arnold, Keresa; Guerlotté, Charlotte; Masching, Renee; Tharao, Wangari E; Cameron, D.William; Costiniuk, Cecilia T; Falcone, Emilia L; Fowke, Keith R; Haddad, Elie; Jenabian, Mohammad-Ali; Kumar, Ashok; Ostrowski, Mario A; Power, Christopher; Tremblay, Michel J.  CIHR.  Team Grant: HIV/AIDS Biomedical and Clinical Research – HIV Cure – Large Team.  $6,000,000.  The Fowke lab gets $25,000/year from this grant.

3. April 2019-March 2020.  Nominated Principal Investigator.  Principal Knowledge User - Kasiba R.  Other PIs, Lajoie J.  Co-Investigator Kimani J. Knowledge Users - Matejcic A, Odhiambo J.  J, Sex workers and Scientists: Strengthening relationships between research participants and researchers.  Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR): Planning and Dissemination Grant – HIV/AIDS program.  $20,000. 

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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. The Fowke Lab receives $60,000/year from this grant.

8. 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*, Tjernlund A*, Omollo K, Edfeldt G, Röhl M, Boily-Larouche G, Cheruiyot J, Kimani M, Kimani J, Oyugi J, *Broliden K and FOWKE KR*. Increased cervical CD4+CCR5+T cells among Kenyan sex working women using depot medroxyprogesterone acetate. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2019 Mar;35(3):236-246. doi: 10.1089/AID.2018.0188. Online ahead of editing Dec 26, 2018, Epub Jan 24, 2019 PMID:30585733.

2. Boily-Larouche G, Lajoie J, Dufault B, Omollo K, Cheruiyot J, Mjoki J, Kowatsch M, Kimani M, Kimani J, Oyugi J, FOWKE KR.  Characterization of the genital mucosa immune profile that distinguishes the phases of the menstrual cycle: Implications for HIV susceptibility.  Journal of Infectious Diseases.  (IF 5.2). 2019 Feb 23;219(6):856-866. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiy585. PMID: 30383238. Epub date Oct 31, 2018.

3. Graydon C, Balasko A, FOWKE KR. Roles, function and relevance of LAG3 in HIV infection.  PLoS Pathogens. (IF 6.2). 2019 Jan 17;15(1):e1007429. PMID: 30653605

4. *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.

5. 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

6. 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.

7. 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/s41598-017-11706-y PMID: 28894259

8. 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

9. 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

10. 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

Curling CAHR
Fowke Lab Curling CAHR 2019