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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Columbia Epidemiologist Receives Honorary Degree for Research Contributions in HIV/AIDS

Dr. Quarraisha Abdool Karim, professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, received an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Johannesburg at their graduation exercises earlier this month. An internationally renowned HIV researcher, Dr. Abdool Karim is also an honorary professor in public health at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal and associate scientific director, CAPRISA (Center for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa).

[Photo: Dr. Quarraisha Abdool Karim]

“With extensive research contributions that spans over 25 years, Professor Abdool Karim’s commitment to create a deeper understanding on the growing HIV epidemic in South Africa and the factors influencing acquisition of HIV infection in adolescent girls, is evident with worldwide acknowledgements of her work,” said Professor Andre Swart, the executive dean of the faculty of health sciences at the University.

Since 1998 Dr. Abdool Karim has continually played a central role in building the science base in Southern Africa through the Columbia University-Southern African Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Programme that has trained over 600 scientists in the region. She was the principal investigator of the landmark CAPRISA 004 Tenofovir gel trial, which provided proof of concept for microbicides, highlighted by science as one of the Top 10 scientific breakthroughs in 2010. Dr. Abdool Karim has received numerous awards for her achievements.

“I am deeply humbled and I accept the honorary doctorate on behalf of women in Africa who are unwavering in their hope that HIV will be controlled and eradicated through innovative research and the development of effective medical technologies and who are contributing to knowledge generation either by leading research teams, participating in research and advocating for the betterment of women’s lives,” said Dr. Abdool Karim.

Dr. Abdool Karim has over 170 peer reviewed publications and has authored several books and book chapters. She is currently deputy-chair of the South African Medical Research Council Board, a member of the UNAIDS Scientific Expert Panel and scientific advisor to the executive director of UNAIDS, scientific advisory board member of PEPFAR, co-chair of the PEPFAR Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis  Expert Working Group and member of the NIAID funded HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) Leadership Group. She is currently vice president (Southern African Region) of the African Academy of Sciences and Global Champion for youth for the Global Fund on AIDS, TB, and Malaria.