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Dr Glenda Gray and Dr Graeme Meintjes receive the 2013 EDCTP Awards for scientific excellence

26 November 2013

The European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) has given its Outstanding African Scientist Award to Dr Glenda Gray (University of Witwatersrand and Medical Research Council, South Africa). Dr Graeme Meintjes (University of Cape Town, South Africa) received the Rising Star African Scientist Award.

The awards consist of a recognition trophy and a cash prize of 10,000 Euro for the Rising Star award and 20,000 Euro for the Outstanding Scientist award respectively. These awards aim to further the research programmes of the winners and support other relevant research-related activities. The award ceremony took place at the EDCTP Africa Office in Cape Town, South Africa.

Dr Glenda Gray

Dr Glenda Gray, the recipient of the Outstanding African Scientist award, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Her work on the epidemiology and biology of HIV as well as her advocacy work for improving the care of HIV-infected individuals are well recognised.

She is also the recipient of the Nelson Mandela for Health and Human Rights Award for her instrumental work in reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1.

Dr Gray is the founding Executive Director of the Perinatal HIV Research Unit in Cape Town, South Africa. She and her team have demonstrated relevant outcomes on prevention of mother-to-child transmission, as well as mortality of infants diagnosed with HIV, which has changed international treatment guidelines for children.

During her speech at the award ceremony, she said: “The work I have done in the field of HIV characterises the spirit of EDCTP to improve prevention and treatment strategies for HIV in sub-Saharan Africa”.

Dr Gray hopes to “continue to act as a stimulus for HIV research that will impact on the lives of South Africans”. She aims to use the cash prize from the award to support two PhD projects led by young women scientists: a project that relates to the burden of pain and how HIV affects the prevalence of pain, and a project to support adherence strategies for PREP use amongst sex workers in Soweto.

“By supporting cutting edge research and early stage investigators, I am committed to developing African scientists of the future.”

Dr Glenda Gray, Executive Director of the Perinatal HIV Research Unit in Cape Town, South Africa

Dr Graeme Meintjes

Dr Graeme Meintjes who received the Rising Star award, is an Associate Professor of Medicine and an Adult Infectious Diseases physician based at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He completed his undergraduate medical studies at UCT and obtained his PhD in 2011 with a thesis that focused on the diagnosis, treatment and immunopathogenesis of paradoxical tuberculosis-associated immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (TB-IRIS).

He was a Wellcome Trust Training Fellow from 2007 until 2011, and was awarded a 5-year Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellowship in Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2012. He jointly established and ran the Infectious Diseases Unit at GF Jooste Hospital in Cape Town from 2004. In 2012 he became a full member of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at UCT.

In his speech, Dr Meintjes thanked EDCTP and its European Participating States for their support of his current work in the Pred-ART trial, which is also co-funded by the South African Department of Science and Technology. The trial aims to identify a pharmacological strategy for preventing TB Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome (TB-IRIS) in high risk HIV-TB patients.

Dr Meintjes added that he is honoured to receive the EDCTP Award. Regarding the future, Dr Meintjes plans to continue to develop his research on issues in HIV-TB co-infection, but also to broaden his research to address other issues related to the treatment of TB in order to improve treatment outcomes. He adds: “I sincerely hope that my research output in the next decade can live up to the faith shown in me by the EDCTP in making this award”.

“For me the EDCTP represents a funder of medical research in Africa that supports research based on questions asked by African scientists that also address the key public health issues faced by Africans.”

Dr Graeme Meintjes, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Cape Town

EDCTP Awards

The EDCTP awards recognise a Rising Star Scientist and an Outstanding Scientist.

The Rising Star Award is for scientists who are 45 years of age or younger, mid-career researchers who have made significant achievements in their field and who will continue to become leaders in their research field.

The Outstanding Scientist Award is for senior researchers who have made outstanding achievements in their field and who are recognised as research leaders in Africa.

In addition to their scientific excellence, the awardees will have made major contributions to the EDCTP objectives of strengthening clinical research capacity in Africa and supporting South-South and North-South networking.

The awards are open to scientists from sub-Saharan Africa and who have spent the majority of their careers based in Africa working in HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria within the scope of the EDCTP programme.