Africa Centre for Health’s new director

2013-09-09 00:00

DEEN Pillay, a professor of virology at University College London, has been named as the new director of the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies, one of the Wellcome Trust’s major overseas programmes.

He takes up his new position at the beginning of November.

His appointment follows the decision by predecessor Professor Marie-Louise Newell to return to the UK to take up a position at the University of Southampton.

The Africa Centre is part of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and is involved in research into the impact of HIV on the local community and, in partnership with the local Department of Health, runs one of the region’s largest rural, primary-care-level antiretroviral therapy programmes.

It also provides opportunity for staff to study towards obtaining university degrees, including master’s degrees and doctorates, and for community members to gain other skills-based training.

Pillay is currently a professor of virology, and co-director of the Division of Infection and Immunity, at University College London.

He is a clinical virologist, having trained in London, Newcastle and San Diego, and has a long-standing research and clinical interest in HIV virology, particularly related to the study of global HIV drug resistance and transmission.

He helped establish the Bloomsbury Research Institute, a partnership between infectious disease research groups from UCL and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Dr Ted Bianco, acting director of the Wellcome Trust, described Pillay as a highly respected clinical investigator in the research and public health communities. “He has shown great leadership in creating partnerships amongst researchers and institutions, as illustrated by the Bloomsbury Research Institute …”

Pillay said he was excited about his new challenge, saying that the potential to answer some of the remaining questions relating to the spread of infections such as HIV and TB is immense.

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