Fulbright specialist shares on HIV vaccines

24 July 2012 | Story by Newsroom

Prof Bertram and Prof Anne Lise WilliamsonA meeting of minds: Prof Bertram Jacobs, Fulbright Specialist Award winner, with his UCT host, Prof Anna-Lise Williamson of the IIDMM.

UCT was the obvious choice for Professor Bertram Jacobs when he won the Fulbright Specialist Award.

Jacobs, a professor in the Centre for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology at the Arizona State University in the US, has a special interest in HIV education and vaccines and a long-standing relationship with Professor Anna-Lise Williamson, who holds the national chair in vaccinology at UCT's Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine. Thus when it came to choosing his host institution, he did not have to think too hard.

The Fulbright Specialist Programme enables American faculty members to engage in short-term overseas academic endeavours. In his time at UCT - about a month over July and August - Jacobs plans to lecture on HIV vaccines, mentor postgraduate students on vaccinology and HIV, and provide training in HIV prevention.

"Some of my activities so far included meetings with students and faculty members to discuss HIV vaccines," he reports. "I have also been to Khayelitsha to tutor secondary school students, and have been working with UCT graduate students on implementing HIV-prevention education in the township.

Williamson, in turn, welcomes the opportunity to have scholars of the ilk of Jacobs, a virologist with extensive expertise in vaccinology, on-hand to share their experience and knowledge with those at UCT and the IIDMM.

"It is valuable and intellectually stimulating to have international experts to give seminars and interact with researchers, including postgrad students," she says.

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