Professor Glenda Gray
Professor Glenda Gray (MBBCh, FC Paeds, DSc (hc), PhD (hc), LLd (hc), OMS) is the first female President and CEO of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). She is also Research Professor in Paediatrics at the University of the Witwatersrand, and Member (Professor) in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
In her first five-year tenure at the helm of the SAMRC the organisation experienced five consecutive clean audits; transformed grant funding initiatives that significantly improved funding for young scientists, black African scientists, and women; and established key collaborations and partnerships that will significantly progress scientific research.
Professor Gray studied medicine and paediatrics at Wits University where she remains a Full Professor: Research in the School of Clinical Medicine. A National Research Foundation A1-rated scientist, Professor Gray is world-renowned for her research in HIV vaccines and interventions to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. She co-founded and led, with James McIntyre, the globally eminent Perinatal HIV Research Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. For this work, she and McIntyre received the Nelson Mandela Health and Human Rights Award in 2002.
She is co-Principal Investigator of the National Institutes of Health-funded HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) and directs the programme in Africa. Amongst many others, Professor Gray’s accolades include the Hero of Medicine Award from the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care, and the Outstanding Africa Scientist Award from the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership.
Forbes named Professor Gray one of Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women in 2020 and was named by Time Magazine in 2017 one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People. In 2013 she was awarded South Africa’s highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe. For her research in HIV, she has been awarded the Nelson Mandela Health and Human Rights Award (2002), the IAPAC Hero in Medicine Award (2003), the Ngaly-Mann lectureship at CROI (2010), two Honorary Doctorates in Science from Simon Fraser University (2013) and Stellenbosch University (2017), and an honorary Doctorate in Law in 2019 (Rhodes University).
Her qualifications include MBBCh (Wits), FCPaeds (SA), DSc (honoris causa Simon Fraser University), DSc (honoris causa Stellenbosch University), and LLD (honoris causa Rhodes University).