Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim File picture

Internationally renowned Durban-based HIV researcher Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim is set to receive an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Johannesburg this week.

The degree – Doctor Litterarum et Philosophiae (honoris causa) – will be awarded to Abdool Karim, during the university’s second graduation series at the Auckland Park Kingsway Campus on Wednesday.

“With extensive research contributions that spans over 25 years, Prof 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 Prof Andre Swart, the executive dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the university.

Abdool Karim holds a professorship in Clinical Epidemiology from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, USA, and is also an honorary professor in Public Health at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Since 1998 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.

“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.”

The Mercury