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ASSAf award for 'outstanding achievement in scientific thinking'

Professor Linda-Gail Bekker

Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, of the University of Cape Town’s Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, has been awarded a gold medal from the Academy of Science of South Africafor 'outstanding achievement in scientific thinking to the benefit of society'.

ASSAf annually honours two of South Africa’s foremost scholars. This year the awards were presented to physician-scientist, Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, and palaeo-anthropologist, Professor Lee Berger.

Assaf said it its citation:

Professor Linda-Gail Bekker is an outstanding South African physician-scientist who has made major contributions to the prevention and treatment of HIV and tuberculosis. As deputy director, she co-leads the University of Cape Town’s Desmond Tutu HIV Centre with her husband and scientific collaborator, Professor Robin Wood. This centre, with a 450-person strong research team, is internationally reknown for its contributions to tuberculosis and HIV research in South Africa.

She is a professor of medicine at the University of Cape Town and served as the president of the International AIDS Society until recently. Bekker has published over 350 peer-reviewed journal articles that have garnered over 14 000 citations, several of which are in high impact journals such as Science, The Lancet, and The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

While her research interests are in HIV and tuberculosis, her passion is the research she undertakes with young people. Within the field of HIV, her studies have included approaches to the scale-up of antiretroviral therapy as well as the prevention of HIV in women, youth and men who have sex with men. Bekker is deeply committed to improving healthcare services for the poor, which has been evident right from her early research. She has made substantial contributions to creating several HIV treatment and prevention centres in the community of Cape Town that primarily serve vulnerable and marginalised populations.

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