Biosciences Guru receives a Presidential Outstanding Researcher Award

Prof Collen Masimirembwa posing with his awards

Prof Collen Masimirembwa, the President & Chief Executive Officer of the African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology (AiBST), was awarded “The Robert Gabriel Mugabe Outstanding Research Award” at the 11th Zimbabwe International Research Symposium held in February 2017 at the Rainbow Towers in Harare.

The awards celebrate individuals or group(s) and companies who have done outstanding research in their areas of specialisation and have registered success in employing Research and Development (R&D) or commercialisation of research results in service of Zimbabwe.

The award included the Prize Money of $15 000, a certificate and a trophy. The award was presented by His Excellency, The President of Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

The GeneDose-EFV is supported by SANBio/BioFISA II Programme through a cofunding partnership. The project was also awarded R500 000 by Gauteng Accelerating Programme: Bioscience in November 2016.

The project focuses on the development of a genetic test to identify HIV patients at risk of efavirenz (EFV) associated neuropsychiatric adverse reactions. The aim is to adjust the patients’ drug dosage to achieve safe and efficacious outcomes. Out of the 3,5million patients receiving this particular ARVs in Zimbabwe and South Africa, about 800 000 are predicted to have side effects. When successfully completed the project could save $123.8 million of government health budget.

“The award also coincided with my 50th birthday which was on the 16th of February; my science discovery journey has only started! This was the second time my efforts have been recognised at a national level, the first being 20 years ago when I made an important discovery of genetic variation of medical importance in African populations during my PhD studies, again awarded by the President of Zimbabwe. The award was a humbling recognition of the work I have done over the years. It was also a shared moment of achievement for the many students, collaborators, mentors and funders I have worked with over the years. Nothing compares to recognition by your own country as it reflects the relevance of one’s efforts,” said Prof Masimirembwa.

“I hope the work done by my institute continues to make life transforming contributions to healthcare in Zimbabwe and Africa at large,” he concluded.

In attendance were the two Vice-Presidents of Zimbabwe and several ministers.

NEPAD-SANBio extends its congratulations to Prof Collen Masimirembwa for his achievements and the awards.