Prof Valerie Mizrahi, who is the recipient of the prestigious R1,5m Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award for 2018 for her research into tuberculosis (TB), plans to use the funds to develop two new areas of research which are built on expertise in the biology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis as it relates to TB pathogenesis and drug discovery.

Prof Mizrahi, Director of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) at UCT, a member of the TB Programme Scientific Advisory Committee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and recent interim Chair of its ‘Discovery Expert Group’, is the 21st recipient of the award since its inception and the ninth from UCT.

The projects she intends developing, the UCT award announcement notes, will also serve as the vehicle for advanced training of talented, next-generation TB researchers who are able to work at an internationally competitive pace and standard.

Mizrahi has been one of the pioneers of applying modern molecular biological technologies to understanding the requirements for growth and pathogenesis of the tubercle bacillus (a bacterium (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that is a major cause of tuberculosis).

Previous accolades have included the SA Medical Research Council’s Platinum Achievement Award (2017), the Prix Christophe Merieux (2013), Order of Mapungubwe (Silver, 2007), the SA Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Gold Medal (2006), Department of Science & Technology Distinguished Women Scientist Award (2006) and the UNESCO-L’Oreal Prize for Women in Science, Africa and Middle East Region (2000).

SOURCE: UCT Communication and Marketing Department