The L’Oréal Foundation and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced that Dr. Quarraisha Abdool Karim, associate professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, was named one of five “exceptional laureates” of the 2016 L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science Award. Dr. Abdool Karim, who is also associate scientific director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), was honored for her “remarkable contribution to the prevention and treatment of HIV and associated infections, greatly improving the quality of life of women in Africa.”
Laureates are chosen for each of the 5 regions of the world. Professor Abdool Karim was selected for Africa and the Arab States. Nominations were received from 2,600 leading scientists globally, and the winners were selected by an international jury of 13 prominent scientists.
In the past year Dr. Abdool Karim was honored with three other prestigious awards for her research on HIV/AIDS: the 2014 TWAS-Lenovo Science Prize – the most prestigious annual prize of The World Academy of Sciences; the 2014 “Science-for-Society Gold Medal” by the Academy of Science for South Africa, and the South African Medical Research Council’s Gold Medal Scientific Achievement Award. Also in 2014, she was also elected to the U.S. National Academy of Science as a foreign associate member. In 2010 Dr. Abdool Karim was the principal investigator of the landmark CAPRISA 004 tenofovir gel trial, which provided proof of concept for microbicides. The results were cited by Science as one of the Top 10 scientific breakthroughs that year.
Dr. Abdool Karim is currently vice president of the African Academy of Sciences and a member of the UNAIDS Scientific Expert Panel and scientific advisor to the executive director of UNAIDS.
She will receive the 2016 L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science award at a ceremony in March 2016 in Paris.