UKZN professor bags prestigious award
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Durban - University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN’s) high impact researcher, Dr Veron Ramsuran, was awarded the prestigious UKZN Vice- Chancellor’s annual award valued at R150 000.
The award is presented to a pre-eminent researcher at UKZN in recognition of their outstanding research achievements as well as the international reputation they’ve acquired within their respective discipline.
Ramsuran graduated with a PhD from UKZN where he examined host factors associated with the HIV disease. He spent almost 70% of his PhD in two international laboratories, including the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
After completion of his PhD, he was recruited to join the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard as a postdoctoral research fellow. After completing five years in these institutes, Ramsuran returned to South Africa and to UKZN.
He is now a UK Royal Society Future Leader African Independent Research (FLAIR) Fellow; Group Leader at KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP); Associate Scientist at Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA); and a guest Researcher at the National Cancer Institute at the National Institute of Health (NIH). He has also been the recipient of numerous honours and awards and serves as an editor on two leading international immunology journals.
His work is on examining the effect Host Genetics play on the HIV and TB disease. He has a special interest in examining the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) genes, the epicentre of disease associations across the human genome, as determined by genome wide association studies. His recent work examines the effect of differential HLA expression levels on HIV and TB disease. He is also interested in factors contributing to the differential HLA
Ramsuran also recently found out that he has been awarded the Future Leader of African Independent Research (FLAIR) Collaboration award. This he shares with UKZN’s honorary scientist at Oxford University, Professor Philip Goulder. The € 50 000 UK Royal Society award will fund their joint study that aims to find out why female babies have a two-three-fold increased risk of acquiring HIV when compared to male infants.
The researchers believe an epigenetic mechanism (changes not located on the DNA sequence effecting how genes function) may be responsible for the protection in males and this will be investigated further.
UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nana Poku, congratulated Ramsuran on the award.
"I wish you well and trust that the award will assist you in your future research endeavours," Poku said.