Professor Koleka Mlisana is the Executive Manager: Academic Affairs, Research & Quality Assurance at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), since July 2018. Prior to this she was the HOD: Medical Microbiology at UKZN/IALCH; also served a term as a member of the NHLS Board; and used to be a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance. Her work includes previously being an active HIV/AIDS researcher, for over a decade focussing on HIV prevention and pathogenesis, working at the Centre for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), Durban. She has undertaken seminal research which has revealed how the body responds during acute HIV infection. Her current research interests include TB diagnostics, antimicrobial resistance as well as sexually transmitted infections. Prof Mlisana has co-authored more than 190 peer reviewed journal articles. Amongst other national commitments, Prof Mlisana is the Co-chair of the Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC), she previously chaired the Pathology/Laboratory subcommittee of the first established MAC for Covid-19; up until recently she was a member of the Board of Trustees for the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) as well as the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF), and she is a member of the Medical and Dental Board of the HPCSA/Medical Scientist Committee. She has nurtured and mentored many young scientists and is passionate about equipping the next generation of leaders and scientists.