Quarraisha Abdool Karim, PhD, Associate Scientific Director of CAPRISA, is an infectious diseases epidemiologist whose main research interests are in understanding the evolving HIV epidemic in South Africa; factors influencing acquisition of HIV infection in adolescent girls; and sustainable strategies to introduce antiretroviral therapy in resource-constrained settings.
Quarraisha holds Professorships in Clinical Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, USA and in Public Health at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. She is also a visiting scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Visiting Lecturer at Harvard University. Since 1998 she has 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 southern Africa.
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. Professor Abdool Karim has over 170 peer reviewed publications and has authored several books and book chapters.
Professor Abdool Karim is currently chair of the South African National AIDS Council Prevention Technical Task Team, a member of the UNAIDS Scientific Expert Panel and Scientific Advisor to the Executive Director of UNAIDS. She is an advisory board member of the Higher Education and Training HIV/AIDS Programme (HEAIDS), Scientific Advisory Board member of the US President’s Emergency Pan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Chair of the PEPFAR Adolescent Girls and Young Women Expert Working Group, a member of the HIV Centre Strategic Advisory Committee and the NIH OAR Microbicides Planning Group. She is currently Vice-President (Southern African Region) of the African Academy of Sciences.