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2014 Conference Chairs

HIVR4P 2014 is chaired by five of the world’s leading experts in HIV prevention research.




Sharon Hillier
University of Pittsburgh, USA

Q&A with Sharon Hillier

Sharon L. Hillier, Ph.D., is professor and vice chair for faculty affairs, and director of reproductive infectious disease research in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She holds a joint appointment as professor in the School of Medicine’s department of molecular genetics and biochemistry and is a senior investigator at the University of Pittsburgh-affiliated Magee-Womens Research Institute.


Dr. Hillier is an internationally recognized microbiologist whose work has influenced a nascent field of research in whcih women’s health and HIV prevention concerns intersect. In 2006, she was named principal investigator for the Microbicide Trials Network, an HIV/AIDS clinical trials network established in 2006 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). As principal investigator, Dr. Hillier leads an international team of investigators and community and industry partners from seven countries and three continents, directing an ambitious research agenda imposed by the urgency of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Between 2006 and 2013, the MTN will design and implement a broad range of clinical trials of microbicides and other HIV prevention strategies that aim to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV.

In her laboratory, Dr. Hillier’s research has focused on understanding both the preventive and causative roles that certain microorganisms in the vagina have with respect to genital tract infections, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, and pre-term birth; and on the evaluation of vaginal microbicides for prevention of STIs in women. In addition to her role as principal investigator for the MTN, Dr. Hillier is principal investigator of an NIH-funded program project grant looking at non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors as combination microbicides, and she is co-principal investigator of two prevention studies, one focused on Group B streptococcal disease and the other on infertility in women with subclinical pelvic inflammatory disease.

In 2007, Dr. Hillier was recognized by her peers with the Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology from the Infectious Diseases Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology. Other honors she has received include the 1996 Achievement Award from the American Sexually Transmitted Disease Association in recognition of outstanding contributions toward the control of sexually transmitted diseases. She also has been honored as invited speaker for the NIH Director’s Lecture Series and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Distinguished Lecture Series, and has delivered presentations on the development of topical microbicides for the prevention of HIV to the Biomedical Science Caucus of the U.S. Congress.

Dr. Hillier served as president of the Infectious Disease Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology, an affiliate organization of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, from 2002 to 2004, and currently is on the board of the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Disease Research. She serves on several editorial boards, including of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and has published more than 200 original peer-reviewed manuscripts. At the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, she mentors post-doctoral students and teaches and co-directs courses for medical students on molecular virology and microbiology and on infectious diseases in obstetrics and gynecology.

After receiving her undergraduate degree from Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., Dr. Hillier completed a doctorate in bacteriology and public health at Washington State. She then pursued postgraduate studies in clinical and public health, microbiology and laboratory medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle. Prior to coming to the University of Pittsburgh in 1995, she had served for 12 years on the faculty at the University of Washington in its department of obstetrics and gynecology. Read less...


eric hunter 

Eric Hunter
Emory University, Atlanta, USA

Q&A With Eric Hunter

Dr. Hunter's career has included undergraduate studies in bacteriology at Birmingham University, England, and graduate work in tumor immunology carried out at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund & Brunel University, London, England. During postdoctoral studies at the University of Southern California and following his move to UAB, he pioneered molecular genetics approaches to examine retrovirus replication.


His laboratory has been recognized internationally for its work in defining the molecular events involved in retroviral assembly and for elucidating the structure/function relationships for retroviral gene products at a molecular level. For the past several years his laboratory has investigated the molecular biological mechanisms underlying HIV transmission among heterosexual couples living in Rwanda and Zambia, as well as studies of how the host's immune system drives evolution of HIV, with an aim toward developing novel vaccine approaches that might prevent this transmission event. His bibliography includes over 200 articles, reviews and book chapters. He has been the recipient of 4 NIH merit awards for his work on retrovirus molecular biology. He currently serves on advisory committees to the National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as well as on the Editorial boards of academic journals, and on the external advisory committees to several academic and commercial institutions. Read less...


Anatoli Kamali
Medical  Research Council/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS, Entebbe, Uganda

Q&A with Dr. Kamali

Anatoli Kamali is a clinical epidemiologist and the deputy director of the MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS. He heads the HIV Epidemiology and Prevention Research Programme and is also the Head of the Department of Epidemiology at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), and holds Senior Honorary Lecturer position at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). He holds a first degree in Medicine and Surgery from Makerere University, Kampala, an MSc degree in Public Health in Developing Countries from LSHTM, and PhD in Public Health from City University, UK.


Anatoli Kamali has been involved in HIV/STI research in Uganda since 1989, initially on studies on population dynamics of HIV-1 transmission and associated risk factors, and later as principal investigator for a large scale intervention trial to determine the impact on HIV infection of behavioural and STD interventions. He has led studies both in preparation of and conduct of safety and efficacy trials of vaginal microbicides and HIV vaccines; intervention studies that could improve health among HIV-infected individuals.

He has served as a member of the Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) for various international studies and acted as WHO temporary advisor in various consultative meetings with the Sexually and Reproductive Health Unit of the WHO. Read less...

helen rees

Helen Rees
Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (Wits RHI), Johannesburg, South Africa

Q&A with Helen Rees

Helen Rees is the founder and Executive Director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg where she is also an Ad Hominem Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is an Honorary Professor in the Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases of the Clinical Research Unit at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where she is also the Heath Clark lecturer for 2010. Professor Rees received her Medical Degree and a Masters in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University and in 2002 became an alumnus of Harvard Business School.


Professor Rees is one of South Africa's most well-known women scientists. Her research interests include HIV/AIDS prevention, STIs, microbicides, HIV and HPV vaccines, and broader issues relating to women's health. She is the Co-Chair of South Africa's National AIDS Council's Programme Implementing Committee and a member of the National Advisory Group on Immunizations. Previously, she served as the Chair of South Africa's Medicines Control Council and was a member of the National Research Ethics Committee.
Professor Rees serves as a technical expert to many international organisations including the Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunization, the HIV Vaccine Advisory Committee and the HPV Vaccine expert committee of the World Health Organization, the Population Council and the US National Institutes of Health. She is currently member of the Board of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, IAVI.

In 2001 she was made an Officer of the British Empire, OBE, for her contribution to global health and the South African health sector. In 2004 she became the first woman to be awarded the South African Distinguished Scientist award for her outstanding contribution to improving the quality of life of women. In 2006 she was appointed to the South African Academy of Sciences. She was given a lifetime achievement award by Amanitare, a pan African NGO dedicated to the rights of African women and children. Read less...


Robin Shattock
Imperial College, London, UK

Q&A With Robin Shattock

Robin Shattock is a professor of Mucosal Infection and Immunity at Imperial College, London. The main focus of his research is the investigation of the mechanisms of mucosal HIV transmission and development of novel preventative strategies. Prof Shattock has secured funding from the Wellcome Trust, NIH, European Commission, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He currently holds a Grand Challenges for Global Health Initiative program grant to optimize vaginal vaccination against HIV infection.


He also leads the Mucosal Discovery Team for CHAVI-ID (the Center for HIV AIDS Vaccine Immune Design) funded by NIH. He provides scientific coordination for European Microbicide program CHAARM (Combined Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Microbicides) and MOTIF. Prof. Shattock Chairs the Research and Advisory Steering Committee of the International Partnership for Microbicides and the WHO AIDS Vaccine Advisory committee and is a member of the Scientific Advisory boards of Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise Scientific Committee (GHVE) and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. Read less...