As HIV decimates a generation in his home country of Uganda, PhD student Khamis Tomusange is in Adelaide fighting to find a cure.
As a young boy growing up in Africa, Mr Tomusange saw the affects of viruses and disease firsthand; his country is one plagued by HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
But he also began to see possible answers thanks to his aunty, who was a doctor.
How soft drink created a scientist
One of eight children, Mr Tomusange's family grew up in conditions close to poverty. When a family member fell ill, his parents would take them to his aunty to be treated. His aunty would give them a bottle of soft drink before tending to their medical needs.
"Having a bottle of soda was such a huge luxury," Mr Tomusange said. "We made it a habit to fall sick, just so we could get a bottle of soda."
In the midst of his sugar buzz, Mr Tomusange began to ask his aunty about her profession.
"That sparked off my love for medicine and research," he said.
More than a doctor
Mr Tomusange soon became fascinated in biology.
"I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship to go to the best university in Uganda," he said. "During my seven years of secondary education, I noticed one thing, I could be better than my aunty; I could do something that would extend beyond just being a doctor."
Mr Tomusage was accepted into a Bachelor of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences program abroad and studied to become a research scientist.
He specialised in microbiology and molecular biology, the two hardest subjects offered.
But his reasoning was simple.
"I come from a background that is so ravaged with infectious, communicable diseases, including HIV, tuberculosis and malaria," Mr Tomusange said.
After graduating, Mr Tomusange took up a position in a rural research centre in Masaka in southern Uganda.
"This was the region in Uganda where the first HIV case was identified," Mr Tomusange said."It is where we saw the greatest affect of HIV infection, and it still is very evident."
He recalled meeting two orphaned siblings aged just 10 and eight.
He said the children faced everyday knowing their parents had died from the virus, and they too may face the same fate.
"I've had to visit schools for HIV orphans and the majority of them were HIV positive," he said.
This experience set Mr Tomusange on a personal quest to create a vaccine for HIV.
'Someone has to fight'
Sponsored by The Hospital Research Foundation, Mr Tomusange is now studying his PhD under the mentorship of Professor Eric Gowans at the Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research.
"Someone has to stand up, someone has to fight, and I feel I am equipped [to]," Mr Tomusange said. "I'm not willing to let that end now until either we have a vaccine or the world pushes me out of research."
Two potential vaccines have already been created.
"We have made such tremendous gains against the enemy," he said. "Every day I wake up and feel, 'This might be the day, this might be the experiment that might give me the answer that I need'."
Mr Tomusange hoped a vaccine would be created within the next few years.
He said if a vaccine could be produced for below $50, it would save the next generation of Ugandans and help countless others around the world.