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New TB/HIV Research Institute Opens Search for Top Scientists, Clinicians

Summary

The KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) is seeking early career and established research scientists to work for a newly-formed institute in Durban, South Africa, that is dedicated to basic tuberculosis (TB) and HIV research in sub-Saharan Africa.

The KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) is seeking early career and established research scientists to work for a newly-formed institute in Durban, South Africa, that is dedicated to basic tuberculosis (TB) and HIV research in sub-Saharan Africa.

K-RITH was formed in 2009 as a collaboration between the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). The institutions wanted to seize the opportunity to study HIV and TB in South Africa, which has more residents infected with HIV than any other nation in the world and one of the highest per capita rates of tuberculosis, and to find solutions that will benefit those afflicted by this epidemic, particularly the poor and vulnerable.

Having spent the majority of my career focusing on TB and TB-HIV, this is a tremendous opportunity to be able to do research right in the epicenter of both HIV and TB.

William R. Bishai

“We believe this Institute will allow tools and inventions to percolate up from within the heart of the TB-HIV co-epidemic,” says William R. Bishai, who became K-RITH’s first full-time director in September 2010. “This approach empowers scientists within Africa to develop innovations locally and then translate them through to clinical reality—all without leaving the continent.”

The Institute is currently seeking scientists at all levels to head research laboratories and a clinical director to lead its patient-centered research programs. It is also seeking core facilities managers to develop and maintain research centers in the areas of microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, high-throughput biology, and clinical studies. The first round of applications is due by December 15, 2010.

Bishai is looking for basic and clinical scientists whose research will take advantage of K-RITH’s location at the heart of the HIV and TB co-epidemics. “Having spent the majority of my career focusing on TB and TB-HIV, this is a tremendous opportunity to be able to do research right in the epicenter of both HIV and TB,” says Bishai, who will continue to serve as co-director of the Center for Tuberculosis Research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “I’m convinced that the same calculation that I made in taking this job will be in the minds of scientists worldwide who are considering positions at K-RITH. “

A new K-RITH building is currently under construction on the campus of the UKZN’s Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine in Durban. The facility will include multiple bio-safety level 3 laboratories, which will allow scientists to safely work with TB and HIV. Part of the space will also be dedicated to specialized labs that include equipment and space to work in K-RITH’s core research areas: microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, high-throughput biology, and clinical protocol development. The remainder of the building will include offices, classrooms, and meeting rooms that will benefit the entire TB and HIV research community.

K-RITH will house six to nine large research groups, and Bishai expects that up to 80 scientists and 40 support staff will work there soon after the building opens in 2012. In the meantime, scientists will work in interim laboratory facilities on the Mandela School of Medicine campus.

K-RITH has also started a grants program to benefit the larger HIV and TB research community. Its first grants are open to South Africa-based individuals or teams working on a wide range of activities—from pilot research projects to educational workshops to infrastructure development.

Go to the facility’s new web site, www.k-rith.org, to find out more information about the Institute, its staff and founding scientists. You can also see architectural drawings of the building, read more about its educational programs, or watch an audio slideshow of Bishai describing his vision for K-RITH.

For More Information

Jim Keeley
[ 301-215-8858 ]
Cindy Fox Aisen
[ 317-843-2276 ]