Valerie Mizrahi appointed Helmholtz International Fellow

Helmholtz Association honours tuberculosis expert

30.10.2013

Prof. Dirk Heinz, Wissenschaftlicher Geschäftsführer des HZI, überreichte Valerie Mizrahi den Helmholtz International Fellow Award.

©HZIProf. Dirk Heinz, scientific director of the HZI, presented the award to Valerie Mizrahi.

Along with Aids and malaria, tuberculosis is one of the “big three” infections” of today. This means that it is one of the infectious diseases killing most people worldwide. Every 20 seconds a person dies from tuberculosis, which is caused by the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis. And the situation is getting worse as the number of resistant pathogens is rising. Because antibiotic resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a major health problem, scientists all over the world are doing research on the disease and on possible vaccines. 

One of them is Prof Valerie Mizrahi, director of the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine (IIDMM) and professor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, a leading scientist in this field. Her work has significantly contributed to gaining a better understanding of the lifestyle of the pathogen and its ability to adapt to the host. Thus, her work provides a starting point for the development of new and more effective drugs.

Due to her groundbreaking findings Valerie Mizrahi was appointed a Helmholtz International Fellow today. The ceremony took place during a symposium jointly organized by the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) and the South African Medical Research Council. “Her research opens new possibilities in the fight against tuberculosis,” says Prof Dirk Heinz, the Scientific Director of the HZI, who presented the award on the campus of the HZI in Braunschweig. “This is why we have recommended her for the award. In the future we hope to be able to work together with her and her colleagues in South Africa on the main questions of infection research, especially in the area of drug discovery and development.”

The award comprises funding of 20,000 Euros. With this prize, the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres honours outstanding scientists working abroad on research fields relevant to the Helmholtz Association.