South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)
Building a healthy nation through research and innovation

Media statement

18 March 2014

South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) appoints its first woman president

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is very pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Glenda E. Gray to succeed Professor Abdool Karim as the next MRC President, with effect from 1 April 2014. 

Professor Gray, a paediatrician, is a world-renowned scientist in the field of HIV prevention, especially HIV vaccines and prevention of mother-to-child transmission.  She has published over 200 scientific journal articles, is an NRF A-rated scientist, a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and a member of the National Health Research Committee.

A recipient of the Order of Mapungubwe (Silver) from President Jacob Zuma last year and a Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) from Simon Fraser University in Canada in 2012, she is a Foreign Associate of the US Institute of Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.  She has received numerous awards including the Nelson Mandela Health and Human Rights Award, the Outstanding African Scientist Award and the “Hero of Medicine” Award.

Professor Mike Sathekge, Chairperson of the MRC Board commented that, “Professor Gray is ideally suited to lead the MRC during this important period of new growth for the organisation. She is an outstanding South African scientist who will be the first woman to lead the MRC.” All six of the MRC’s past presidents since inception, were men. In 1969, when the MRC was created, men dominated the corridors of medical research while current gender profiles show that women now constitute more than half of the scientists at the MRC.

Professor Gray, incoming President of the MRC said that she is “looking forward to this new challenge.  As the premier research institution in the country, the MRC has a critically important role to play in contributing to health research and training in South Africa.” 

Professor Abdool Karim, outgoing MRC President said, “It has been an honour to serve the MRC and to help re-build medical research in South Africa. I leave the MRC now in Professor Gray’s very competent hands.”

Professor Gray takes over after Professor Abdool Karim’s current term ends on 31 March 2014.  The Board recorded its gratitude to Professor Abdool Karim for his exemplary service to the organisation and his visionary approach to re-building the MRC as a world-class research organisation. 

Contact Details
Professor Glenda Gray
Mobile: 083 459 2680

Media Facilitation
Aziel Gangerdine
Head of Corporate Communications
South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)
Tel: +27 21 938 0697; Mobile: +27 71 866 9887

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29 February, 2016
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