Dr John Nkengasong was appointed first Director of Africa CDC in November 2016 to provide strategic direction and position it as an African-owned institution supporting countries to improve surveillance, preparedness, response and prevention of disease threats. He is a leading virologist with nearly 30 years of work experience in public health. Prior to his appointment with Africa CDC, he was Associate Director of Laboratory Science and Chief of the International Laboratory Branch at the Division of Global HIV/AIDS, Center for Global Health at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Earlier in his career (1993 to 1995), Dr Nkengasong worked for the WHO as Chief of Virology at the Collaborating Centre on HIV Diagnostics at the Department of Microbiology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium and later joined US CDC in 1995 as Chief of the Virology Laboratory in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Dr Nkengasong has over 120 publications focusing particularly on HIV diagnosis, pathogenesis and drug resistance in internationally revered journals such as The Lancet, Journal of Virology, Journal of Infectious Diseases, and Journal of Clinical Microbiology. He has written multiple book chapters on HIV therapy in resource-constrained settings. Dr Nkengasong has received several awards and recognitions, including the US Secretary of Health and Human Services Award for Excellence in Public Health Protection Research, multiple Director’s Recognition Awards, and the National Order of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire for his outstanding work in public health in that country. He has been nominated for the US Agency’s prestigious Shepard Award many times and continues to serve on numerous international advisory boards and journal review panels. He led the processes leading to the establishment of the African Society for Laboratory Medicine. Dr Nkengasong holds a master’s degree in tropical biomedical science from the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium, a master’s degree in medical and pharmaceutical sciences and a doctorate degree in medical sciences (virology) from the University of Brussels School of Medicine, Belgium. He also holds a certificate in management and leadership from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Dr Nkengasong speaks fluent English and French.