HIV researcher Dr. Quarraisha Abdool Karim, professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, was awarded the 2014 TWAS-Lenovo Science Prize – the most prestigious annual prize of The World Academy of Sciences. Dr. Abdool Karim, who is also associate director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) was recognized for her ground-breaking research on HIV/AIDS prevention, particularly in rural South Africa and in young women in Africa. The citation, medal and cash prize was announced on October 26 at a ceremony of the Annual TWAS Conference in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.
Earlier in October, Dr. Abdool Karim received two other international awards in South Africa – the 2014 “Science-for-Society Gold Medal” from the Academy of Science for South Africa and the South African Medical Research Council’s Gold Medal Scientific Achievement Award. This year, Dr. Abdool Karim was also elected to the Institute of Medicine, National Academies of Science as a foreign associate member.
These awards recognize her 25 years of research on HIV/AIDS. She began her HIV research career in 1989 with one of the first HIV community-based surveys in Africa. Her early studies showed that young women had a disproportionately higher risk of HIV infection – a finding that defined the rest of her research. In 2010, the results of her research finding that tenofovir gel reduced the risk of both HIV infection and genital herpes in women was cited by the journal Science as one of the Top 10 scientific breakthroughs of 2010 and also among the top two articles for The Lancet’s “Paper of the Year” in 2010.